The Research Units

The project team is composed of members at different stages of their career: one full professor, an associate professor, two

researchers and a post-doctoral research associate (PDRA) to be hired specifically for this project. This is an important factor playing

in favor of a successful project, since different levels of experience and expertise result in different perspectives and experienced

members are a guarantee for an efficient management of the project. The PDRA will be hired to work on the planned large-scale

experiments, which require fully committed personnel.

The team is multidisciplinary, with three geologists, one engineer and the PDRA to be hired from the engineering area, which

matches the needs of this multidisciplinary research project. Whilst 25% of the current team is made by women, there is a gender

equality in the leadership of the two research units and of the project itself.

Dr Fabio Dioguardi (PI, RU1 leader) is a researcher and has been a senior researcher of the British Geological Survey (BGS) from

2015 to 2022. There he led research and operational activities (modeling and expert independent advice to UK and European Union

stakeholders) on volcanic hazards. He co-led a successful Natural Environment Research Council proposal on experimental and

numerical modeling of granular flows, during which he designed and contributed to the construction of a laboratory-scale flume now

available at University of Edinburgh. He also won a Newton Advanced Fellowship Fund of the Royal Society (RS-NSAF) on debris flows

in collaboration with Prof Damiano Sarocchi (University of San Luis Potosì, Mexico) (UASLP), in which he acted as UK Supervisor of

Prof Sarocchi (the fellow). This project was aimed at establishing a new international partnership and improving the research

capabilities of UASLP, which now hosts a state-of-the-art large-scale flume that can be used for both granular and debris flows. The

development of the facility was supervised by Dr Dioguardi, who is still involved in the project as an external partner. Before these

experiences, Dr Dioguardi had extensive experience as an experimental volcanologist since his master’s degree and PhD project,

together with field work and modeling on pyroclastic density currents. He was also co-supervisor of a PhD student working on

implementation of numerical code on the MFIX platform for simulating granular flow experiments. During his career at BGS, Dr

Dioguardi developed experience in managing both research projects (e.g., the RS-NAF), internal projects and commercial projects. In

fact, he led the BGS volcanology team in the ARISTOTLE-EHNSP project on natural hazards delivered 24/7 to the Directorate-General

for European Civil Protection and Humanitarian Aid Operations.

Dr Dioguardi will be the project manager, will contribute to WP1 in the design, execution and data analysis of the experiments in

collaboration with RU2 and the PDRA, lead WP2, in which he will also conduct actual work and contribute to WP3.

Prof. Roberto Sulpizio is full professor of Geochemistry and Volcanology at Dipartimento di Scienze della Terra e Geoambientali

(University of Bari). He is research fellow of Consiglio Nazionale delle Ricerche of Italy and Istituto Nazionale di Geofisica e

Vulcanologia. He has a broad experience in physical volcanology, laboratory experiments and numerical simulations. He obtained a

PhD in Material Sciences at UASLP, discussing a thesis on volcanic granular flow experiments. He is and was leader and participant of

many competitive projects funded by both national and international bodies. He contributed with many highly cited and recognized

papers to the research on transport and deposition of pyroclastic density currents and volcaniclastic flows. Both categories include

concentrated end members classified as granular flows. He produced hazard maps for invasion of PDCs and volcaniclastic flows,

along with calculation of physical parameters like dynamic pressure, hydrostatic pressure and impact pressure, which are

fundamental for hazard mitigation purposes. He was one of the first researchers applying High Performance Computing resources to

ash dispersal from volcanic eruptions and produced hazard maps for volcanic granular flows using numerical simulations. He was

also supervisor of a PhD student working on implementation of numerical code on the MFIX platform for simulating granular flow


Prof. R. Sulpizio will participate in WP1 in the design of the experiments, to the interpretation of the data and to the transfer of

experimental data into numerical simulations in WP2. He will also contribute to WP3.

Prof. Giovanna Capparelli is RU2 Leader and Associate PI, and Associate Professor at University of Calabria. Her research involves

two main fields: the study of subsoil water circulation and the analysis of the relationship between rainfall and triggering of the

landslide. During the years the research has been supported by the activity in situ and in the laboratory. Other activities have been

developed concerning early warning systems and mathematical modeling for landslide risk mitigation. As part of these activities, a

mathematical model, named SUSHI (Saturated Unsaturated Simulation for Hillslope Instability) was realized which is able to process,

ex post and in real time independently, the stress-strain behavior based on rainfall infiltration and water content in the subsoil. The

model, subsequently upgraded, is a patent for “Hydrogeological Risk Assessment” priority number 102016000073319

(https://wwwknowledge-shareeu/en/). In 2008, Prof. Capparelli was winner of an award funded by Calabria Region for setting up a

high-level training program for university researchers that has enabled her to carry out a stage in “Early warning and mathematical

modeling for landslide risk mitigation” at the Geotechnical Engineering Office of the Civil Engineering and Development Department,

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in Hong Kong. Since 2012 Prof Capparelli has been an active member of the International Consortium on Landslides

(http://icliplhqorg/category/home- icl/). The consortium is supported by UNESCO, WMO, FAO, United Nations International Strategy

for Disaster Reduction, International Union of Geological Sciences; Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology of

the Government of Japan, US Geological Survey. On this, she is involved in the research activity of the following International

Programme on Landslides. As part of the action "ISDR-ICL Sendai Partnerships 2015-2025 for global promotion of understanding and

reducing landslide disaster risk" (action 4) (program within the 2030 Agenda strategies) has produced three Landslide Interactive

Teaching Tools for the dissemination and application of mitigation strategies with reference to developing countries. In accordance

with the objectives and actions of the Sendai Landslide Partnerships 2015-2025, she has participated in the drafting of the "Kyoto

2020 Commitment for Global Promotion of Understanding and Reducing Landside Disaster Risk" Giovanna attended many

conferences both national and international as keynote or invited speaker. Prof. Capparelli is the director of Camilab, (Environmental

mapping and hydrogeological modeling) laboratory of the University of Calabria which is a center of competence of the National Civil

Protection Department. She is member of the European Geophysical Union, “Gruppo Italiano di Idraulica” (Italian Group of Hydraulic

Research), “Società Idrologica Italiana” (Italian Hydrological Society). She had an active role in several research projects funded by

the European Community, the Italian University Ministry, and the National Civil Protection Department.

Prof Capparelli will lead WP1 activities, co-lead the project with the PI and contribute to WP3 activities.

Dr Eugenio Nicotra is a researcher at the Department of Biology, Ecology and Earth Sciences of the University of Calabria. His

research lines are mainly focused on pre- to syn-eruptive processes at several volcanic systems over the world (Ethiopia, Iceland,

China, Kamchatka) and of Italy (Aeolian Islands, Etna, Pantelleria, Ustica). After the achievement of his PhD, he won two prizes from

the Italian Society of Mineralogy and Petrology for his PhD Thesis (2010) and for his research scientific activity during years 2012-13.

He is an active member of the Italian Association of Volcanology and the leader of the Communication Team of the International

Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth’s Interior (IAVCEI), having purposes regarding dissemination of a

volcanological culture and knowledge. His volcanological skills will mainly contribute to the definition of volcanic materials to be used

for experiments (WP1), the validation and comparison of modeled cases with natural systems, and the volcano-hazard implications

of the project. He will be also decisive for the purposes of WP3, regarding dissemination and communication of the achieved results

to the scientific community and the society.

The PDRA will be hired to work on WP1, therefore he/she will have experience on laboratory experiments, fluid mechanics

(preferably on multiphase flows), sensors installation and data acquisition and elaboration. The PDRA will also constantly engage

with RU1 on WP2.

The project will also benefit from the expertise of Prof Sarocchi (see attached letter of intent in Figure 4), who works on granular

flows and debris flows experimental modeling with a similar approach and using a large-scale flume. This has been recently

refurbished and improved in the framework of the aforementioned RS-NSAF project and, although similar (the main difference being

the smaller channel width), it is equipped with different sensors. The two facilities therefore will complement each other. Dr

Dioguardi and Prof Sulpizio have collaborated with prof Sarocchi since many years and therefore this project represents an

opportunity to keep this international collaboration ongoing and expand it to the University of Calabria and potentially to BGS thanks

to the RS-NAF project.

The project consists of two main research activities: large-scale experiments and numerical modeling. The two activities will run in

parallel, i.e., numerical simulations of the experiments will be carried out as soon as data from successful experiments will be made

available. This will require the coordination between the two RUs and ideally the RU1 persons working on modeling will need to

spend a significant amount of time at University of Calabria. For this reason, we reserved €30,000 to the “Item F Other costs” budget

item, in order to cover, among other travels like conference attendance, the travel and subsistence of the RU1 personnel.

Experiments will start as soon as the hopper (Figure 3) is built, and the new pressure sensors are purchased; for this we reserved

€42,500 under the “Item B Cost of equipment and tools” budget item. The other sensors described in WP1 together with all the

acquisition cards, connectors, cables, computers are already available at the facility. The granular material will be purchased when

needed using part of the €15,000 under the “Item E Material cost” budget item. The purchase of sensors and assemblage of the

hopper should require no longer than 5-6 months; therefore, we anticipate that the experiments will start not later than the end of


Since the large-scale experiments will be onerous in terms of required time for each run, we can safely estimate two runs per

working day. Assuming approximately 10-15 days per month dedicated to the experiments and 20 months of work (M6-M24), we

should be able to conduct 400-600 runs; since each parametric configuration (grainsize - substrate roughness, see WP1 description)

to be investigated will require 3 runs to ensure repeatability and quantify uncertainties, we have 130-200 parameters’ combinations

available, which we believe being enough to explore the space of the two parameters under investigation (grainsize and substrate

roughness) and fulfill the first of the three objectives identified in Section 2. Prof Capparelli (WP1 responsible) and Dr Dioguardi (WP2

responsible) have extensive expertise in experimental studies and the hiring of a PDRA fully dedicated to WP1 for two years will

ensure a successful outcome of the experimental activities. This is crucial since WP2 relies on a successful WP1. For this reason, a

significant part of the budget will be dedicated to hiring a PDRA. As indicated above, having a fully committed PDRA is vital for an

experimental project, particularly when large-scale facilities and large volumes of material are used. The PDRA will work for the

whole duration of the project (24 months).

Dr Dioguardi will dedicate a significant amount of time to the modeling activities of WP2, which should be reasonably covered by the

5 months person. His project management will also be supported by the expertise of Prof Sulpizio, who, as general secretary of the

IAVCEI and together with Dr Nicotra, will also facilitate interactions with the most important national and international organizations

of volcanologists and geoscientists. Dissemination and outreach activities of WP3 led by Dr Nicotra will run alongside the other two

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WPs, in particular the use of social media to showcase the experimental facility and the ongoing campaign. The whole research team

will contribute to dissemination and outreach by showcasing the improved experimental facilities and project achievements in

national and international conferences on the research topic. The actual schedule of meetings to be attended will depend on the

actual project start date, but we anticipate attendance to the routine geosciences and natural hazards conferences by using funds

reserved under the budget item “F Other Costs”. This budget will also support publication of results in open access journals. In fact,

all experimental data and publications arising from the project will be made freely available to the international community and the

public as to ensure they reach the widest possible audience and stimulate discussion and interactions with other researchers

working on the topic.