Francesco Castellani

‌Francesco Castellani -



PhD Title:

A Novel Methodology for Analysing the Impact of Climate Change on Infrastructures


PhD Project Details:

As incumbent and debated as Climate Change appears to be, it is acknowledged that assessing its impact on infrastructures – perhaps our most valuable asset and the pillar of modern times – may be a necessity.  Infrastructure systems (e.g. power grids, rail transport, road transport, and so forth) have long been modelled and analysed as interconnected and interdependent networked systems, with their vulnerability, resilience, and response to failure being referred to reliable schematic models (Berezin et al., 2015; Shuai et al., 2015).


Moreover, suitable strategies have been proposed and studied in order to mitigate the effects of failures (Fu et al., 2014), and those of cascading failures in particular.  Building on present-day literature, this project aims at expanding the existing knowledge by adding a novel approach.  With the purpose of better defining what renders infrastructures more vulnerable and prone to failures, this PhD will develop a methodology for evaluating the response of infrastructures to Climate Change-induced hazards.  The ultimate goal is to determine if, how, and by how much, the response of networked systems changes as a function of altered climatic inputs or loadings (Kay et al., 2011), and to refer possible findings to real-world, complex infrastructures.  To this purpose, and with respect to current and well-established approaches, a set of innovative elements will be introduced, among which is a failure model that draws directly on the loading features.



Fu, G., Dawson, R. J., Khoury, M. & Bullock, S. (2014). ‘Interdependent Networks: Vulnerability Analysis and Strategies to Limit Cascading Failures’, The European Physical Journal B, 87: 148.


Kay, A. L., Crooks, S. M., Pall, P. & Stone, D. A. (2011). ‘Attribution of Autumn/Winter 2000 Flood Risk in England to Anthropogenic Climate Change: A Catchment-Based Study’, Journal of Hydrology 406 (2011) 97–112.


Berezin, Y., A. Bashan, et al. (2015). ‘Localized Attacks on Spatially Embedded Networks with Dependencies, Sci Rep 5: 8934.


Shuai, S. et al. (2015). ‘Percolation of Localized Attack on Complex Networks’, New J. Phys. 17 023049



A graduate of the University of Calabria in Southern Italy, Francesco holds both a BSc and an MSc in Environmental Engineering, with a focus on the impact of natural hazards and contingency plans.  His theses addressed the issue of drought preparedness and mitigation plans in sizeable agricultural settings.  After having worked as a Chartered Engineer in a large construction site in the north west of Italy, Francesco had a brief stint in industry.  In 2015, he joined Newcastle University as a PhD student, and he is currently researching the impact of extreme weather events on Civil Engineering Infrastructures.

Francesco is an avid Python user and an active member of Stack Overflow.  He is also actively involved in teaching and demonstrating, having acquired the status of Associate Fellow of the Higher Education Academy in 2016.  Francesco is passionate about GIS modelling, Big Data Analytics, and ice hockey.  Francesco's research is of great interest to the utility and transportation industry, which networked assets are potentially on the verge of collapsing under the effects of extreme weather and climate change.



Professor Richard Dawson

Professor Chris Kilsby



Dr Gaihua Fu