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Viviana Novelli

Dr Viviana Novelli


School of Engineering

Available for postgraduate supervision


I am a Lecturer in Civil Engineering at Cardiff University, where I am equally responsible for research and teaching in interdisciplinary fields in Structural Engineering, Architecture and Environmental Engineering. I have a broad experience in analytical, computational, and experimental research, including field assessment and laboratory testing methods on soils, construction materials and structures.

I am a member of RESCOM (REsilient Structures and COnstruction Materials), research group in Cardiff University aiming to create low carbon, energy efficient and resilient infrastructure materials, and structures by mean of i) framework to assess risk and loss of single buildings, ii) ad-hoc catastrophe risk modelling to understand the impact from natural and human threats on portfolios of buildings and infrastructures and iii) laboratory testing to characterise chemical, physical, and mechanical performance of innovative masonry and concrete materials and composite forms for resilient, and sustainable structures. 

I have a strong background in Structural Engineering and Architecture and an important practical experience in international development gained working in Industry (e.g., AECOM, World Bank) and Academia (e.g., Cardiff University, University of Bristol, University College of London (UCL), University of Bath) in worldwide projects (e.g., Europe, Middle East, Africa, and South America) targeted to design and develop a better world by mean of novel engineering solutions and sustainable mitigation strategies to enhance resilience and reduce risks posed by natural disasters.











  • Kloukinas, P., Kafodya, I., Ngoma, I., Novelli, V., Macdonald, J. and Goda, K. 2019. Strength of materials and masonry structures in Malawi. Presented at: 7th International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation (SEMC 2019), Cape Town, South Africa, 2-4 September 2019Advances in Engineering Materials, Structures and Systems: Innovations, Mechanics and Applications: Proceedings of the 7th International Conference on Structural Engineering, Mechanics and Computation (SEMC 2019), September 2-4, 2019, Cape Town, South Afr. CRC Press
  • Novelli, V., Ngoma, I., Kloukinas, P., Kafodya, I., De Risi, R., Macdonald, J. and Goda, K. 2019. Seismic vulnerability assessment of non-engineered masonry buildings in Malawi. Presented at: 7th International Conference on Computational Methods in Structural Dynamics and Earthquake Engineering, Crete, Greece, 24-25 June 2019 Presented at Papadrakakis, M. and Fragiadakis, M. eds. pp. 5375-5385., (10.7712/120119.7311.18869)


My research supports countries to design and implement diversified investments for risk reduction and preparedness. Among various approaches, improving building regulatory framework and implementation mechanism and capacity are proven to be one of a cost-effective means of reducing underlying climate and disaster risks from earthquakes, landslides, windstors, in combination with investments for physical structural improvements/retrofits. Over the last ten years, my work has supported more than 10 countries spanning East Asia, South Asia, Middle East & Northern Africa, and Africa regions. 

Responding to growing needs in developing countries, my research interest focuses on:  

  • Carrying out advanced computational analysis for structural solutions to support the maintenance, repair, retrofitting and adaptive reuse of existing buildings.
  • Advancing modelling to provide structural solutions for promoting resilience, sustainable construction techniques for countries or reginal task teams who leads design and implementation of Urban projects
  • Developing risk maps, reflection of hazard-vulnerability-exposure information into design standard in selected countries.
  • Implementing risk mitigation and management framework of countries prone to multi-hazard chains (e.g., earthquakes, windstorms, and landslides) to assess exposure to hazards, address disaster risks and plan engineering mitigation solutions.
  • Contributing to risk management tools and methodologies with aim at developing ad-hoc tools and methodologies to incorporate the global/local knowledge and help identifying critical gaps and provide recommendations for creating safer and green structures.


module leader of EN3311: Concrete Materials and Structures (3rd year) 

co-module leader of EN2400: Structural Analysis and Design (2nd year)

co-module leader of  EN4306 Design Feasibility (M. Eng.)



2013 - 2017

University College London (UCL) - UK - Ph.D. in Earthquake Engineering.

2007 - 2008

University of Patras and University School of Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia - Greece and Italy – M. Sc. in Earthquake Engineering and Engineering Seismology (MEEES).

2000 - 2006

Università Federico II, Naples - Italy – M. Eng., and B.Eng. (first-class honour) in Building Engineering.


  • Expert in resilience-enhancement programs for Sustainable Development of Least Developed Countries to make informed decisions in favour of environmental integrity, economic viability, and future generations.
  • Experience in Risk Mitigation and Management of countries prone to multi-hazard chains (e.g., earthquakes, windstorms, and landslides) to assess exposure to hazards, address disaster risks and plan engineering mitigation solutions.
  • Ability in assessing natural and human threats to protect the environment and create safe local communities enforcing design codes and guidelines for non-engineered constructions.
  • Heritage impact assessment to assess specific impacts on built heritage assets or Conservation Areas, plan applications and new developments, and propose strengthening actions to safeguard cultural heritage.

Honours and awards


CO-Investigator. DURALAB. Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) fund (£340.0K).


Principal Investigator. Engin Covid-19 Early Career Academic (ECA) School funding (£8.0K).


Principal Investigator. Global Challenges Research (GCRF) Fund. Project: “Limestone Calcined Clay Cement: a low-cost construction material to realise a resilient and sustainable built environment in Malawi” (£8.5K).


EPSRC-EEFIT (Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team; EP/I01778X/1) travel and subsistence costs for damage assessment of 2019 Albanian earthquake (£600), 2015 Gorka earthquake (£2.0K), 2012 Emilia Romagna earthquake (£600), 2011 Return mission to L’Aquila earthquake (£600), 2010 Chile earthquake (£2.0K).


UCL - GRS/ORS-funded Students. Conference fees, travel, and subsistence costs (£2.0K).


Doctoral Training Entities (DTE). Conference fees, travel, and subsistence costs (£1.0K).


MSc scholarship for 18 months sponsored by the European Commission for the Erasmus Mundus Scholarship. Fees and subsistence (£14.0K).

Professional memberships


2019 – 2022        Management Committee of EEFIT  (Earthquake Engineering Field Investigation Team)

2006 – Present    Chartership as a Structural Engineer in Italy.

Academic positions


2018 –2019.

University of Bristol - UK - Research Associate.

Research area: Earthquake impact on non-engineered masonry houses in East African countries. Funded by the EPSRC-GCRF Reference: EP/P028233/1.

2010 - 2012.

University of Bath - UK - Research Assistant

Research area: Seismic vulnerability of historic city centres in Mediterranean countries. Funded by FP7-ENVIRONMENT Reference: ENV-2009-1.

2009 - 2010

EUCENTRE Foundation - Italy - Researcher Assistant

Research area: Seismic assessment of risk scenarios for the evaluation of the performance of structure and infrastructures in Italy.

2006 - 2007.

Università Federico II, Naples - Italy - Researcher Assistant

Research area: Gravitational analyses of reinforced concrete buildings in Campania, Italy. Funded by DPC-ReLUIS Theme 10.



2022 -Present

World Bank. Building Regulation for Resilience Program (BRR)Consultant - Structural Engineer.

2020 -Present

World Bank. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. International Development Association - Consultant - Structural Engineer. Heritage impact assessment.

2015 - 2017

AECOM - UK - Structural Seismic Engineer.

Seismic evaluation and retrofitting design of buildings in Africa, Middle East, and Europe for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) and the Departments for the International Developments (DFID) projects.

2014 - 2015.

Department for International Development (DFID) in Kathmandu - Nepal - Vulnerability Specialist.

Review of the seismic vulnerability assessment methods for hospitals and medical facilities.

2013 - 2014.               

UNDP-JORDAN RFP/2012/19 - Jordan - Seismic Vulnerability Specialist.

Integrated Risk Assessment for Petra Development and Tourism Region.

2012 - 2013.

Building and Civil Engineering Institute ZMRK - Slovenia - Seismic Vulnerability Specialist.

Vulnerability assessment of the historic centre of Idrija in Slovenia.


Committees and reviewing

Frontiers in Built Environment

Bulletin of Earthquake Engineering

MDPI - Buildings Editorial Office


I am currently available to supervise MSc and PhD students in the areas of:

1) implementing integrated risk mitigation and management framework for multi-hazard chains (e.g., earthquakes, windstorms, and landslides),

2) numerical and experimental assessment of sustainable, recyclable-waste, innovative  materials and optimised structural forms to address climate change and meet the 2050 Net Zero carbon emissions target,

3) advanced computational analysis for structural solutions to support the maintenance, repair, retrofitting and adaptive reuse of historic buildings, and

4) implementing life cycle assessment to authentically indicate environmental performance of structural systems.

If you are interested, email to