Research

Publications catalogue

The publications catalogue of the Department collects the information from ARCA [ITA], the institutional open-access archive of Ca’ Foscari scientific production.
It is also accessible from cerCa, the Ca’ Foscari bibliographic platform.

Working in research

PhD Degrees

PhD Degree is the highest level of academic education. It is a limited admission degree programme and lasts for at least three years. It allows graduates to develop methods and skills to pursue highly qualified research.

Research fellowships and grants

Short-term research fellowships allow Master’s Degree graduates to pursue short-term research (less than 12 months normally) including them in existing projects and research groups.

Research grants allow Master’s Degree graduates and PhDs to pursue research activities at the university or in the projects offered to the candidates.

Discover all the other opportunities of international recruitment at Ca’ Foscari: our University is highly committed in achieving excellence in research, developing international partnerships and funding new talents.

Research areas

The Department of Environmental Sciences, Informatics and Statistics focuses on the following research areas: biology and ecology, chemistry (environmental, analytical and for the conservation of cultural heritage), environmental engineering, computer science, earth science and statistics.

Transversal topics of research include climate and the socio-economic effects of its transformations, complexity, preservation of cultural heritage, monitoring, risk, security (environmental and informatic) and sustainability.

Research is developed in collaboration with public bodies and local firms. This synergy as well as the multidisciplinary approach make it possible for the department to find large scale solutions for research.

Research centres and groups

The research activities are organized in research centres and groups.
The centres were created to stimulate and coordinate the interactions between complementary research groups on joint research projects contributing and improving the productivity of individuals and groups.

Centres

Groups

Research projects

Micron-scale Ice Core Reconstruction of Abrupt Climate Changes

Researcher: Carlo Barbante, supervisor of MSCA Fellow Pascal Bohleber, Length: 15/01/2022 - 14/01/2025, Grant to the UNIVE: € 269.002,56

Understanding past abrupt climate change ("ACC") in the Arctic is critical for understanding current climate change and for understanding its future developments. The underlying processes, however, are not yet fully understood. Within their glacio-chemical stratigraphy, Greenland ice cores store important paleoclimatic information that can be investigated through proxies of various types. The key to fully exploiting this unique archive is the very high temporal resolution of the measurements, which will allow information to be obtained at a level of detail not accessible until now. Laser-Ablation Inductively-Coupled Plasma Mass Spectrometry (LA-ICP-MS) is a key technology in this respect, offering micro-destructive ice core impurity analysis at micron scale-resolution. At this high resolution, however, it is pivotal to avoid misinterpretation by taking into account interaction of impurities with the ice crystal matrix.
MICRO-CLIMATE brings together, for the first time, two state-of-the-art LA-ICP-MS setups (at the Universities of Maine and Venice) to realize what one partner could not achieve alone: high-throughput AND high detail analysis for constraining signal preservation. With this approach, Greenland ice cores are investigated to decipher the timing of changes in marine, terrestrial and atmospheric proxies, before, during and after abrupt transitions. Ultimately, the project will advance our understanding of how to interpret ice core geochemistry at high-resolution and produce a refined LA-ICPMS application that can be employed in upcoming ice core projects for paleoclimate reconstructions.

Large Scale RESToration of COASTal ecosystem through rivers to sea connectivity

Researcher: Andrea Critto, Length: 01/10/2021 - 31/03/2026, Grant to the UNIVE: € 130.000,00

By overcoming present technical, economic, governance and social barriers to restoration upscaling, REST-COAST will develop the large-scale river-coast connectivity and increase the nearshore accommodation space for the resilient delivery of coastal ecosystem services (ESS). The selected ESS (risk reduction, environmental quality and fish provisioning) touch urgent coastal problems such as the erosion/flooding during recent storms or the accelerating coastal habitat degradation that seriously affects fisheries and aquaculture. By enhancing these ESS under present and future climates at 9 Pilots that represent the main EU regional seas (Baltic, Black, North, Atlantic and Mediterranean) we shall increase the commitment of citizens, stakeholders and policy makers for a long-term maintenance of restoration. Such commitment will go together with a transformation of governance and financial structures, supported by evidence-based results on restoration benefits for the welfare of coastal societies and assets. This transformation will build upon the results from hands-on restoration at the Pilots, steered by the multidisciplinary project advances.
Within the REST-COAST project, UNIVE will participate in the review of indicators useful to monitor the performance of Nature-Based Solutions (NBS) in terms of biodiversity and ecosystem services benefits for the Venice lagoon pilot, and in the identification of opportunities for the scaling up and out of coastal restoration activities (WP1). Moreover, UNIVE will apply environmental risk assessment approaches for assessing the impact of climate change and other anthropic pressures on water quality and related ecosystem services (WP2). Finally, UNIVE will analyse and compare the performance of selected NBS measures in the Venice Pilot areal, to support the design of a methodology for NBS upscaling (WP4).

Resilience in Europe through activating City Hubs reaching out to Users with Triple-A Climate Adaptation Tools

Researcher: Francesco Bosello, Length: 01/10/2021 - 31/03/2025, Grant to the UNIVE: € 30.000,00

REACHOUT is a H2020 project with the aim to advance Climate Services for urban environments in 7 City Hubs across Europe, developing adaptation strategies integrated in climate resilient urban development.
The prime objective of REACHOUT is to bridge the last mile in climate service delivery to better support all European cities in building resilience to climate change by a pragmatic approach that builds upon existing achievements and addresses main barriers for uptake.
REACHOUT project builds next level climate services that supports adaptation decision making in 7 City Hubs. These hubs serve as living labs for co-creation of the services with government, citizens and the private sector and serve as accelerators for further regional and national upscaling of the use of these services. The hubs represent a regionally diverse portfolio of climate vulnerabilities and adaptation needs across stakeholders. In each hub REACHOUT has a direct beneficiary partner that has already internalized adaptation planning and has strong institutional connections and relationships with other municipalities, towns and organizations in their periphery. To ensure sustainability beyond the lifetime of the project close cooperates with existing climate service platforms and develops business models for implementation of the services from the start.

GLOBAL HEALTH SECURITY ACADEMIC RESEARCH - IRIS - COVID-19 Vaccine Confidence and Infodemics Initiative

Researcher: Fabiana Zollo, Length: 12/03/2021 - 31/03/2023, Grant to the UNIVE: € 619.999,99

The COVID-19 pandemic is not just a health problem – it is also fueling an infodemic on an unprecedented scale. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, the digital media ecosystem has been flooded with “alternative explanations” and conspiracy theories. Purveyors of conspiracy theories emerge in uncertain times when they have audiences eager for some kind of explanation for unexplained phenomena, such as the COVID-19 pandemic. As a result, the public’s attention can shift from medical/government advice towards alternative explanations which are dangerous and can have negative effects on societies, impacting the ways in which people process and act upon information. In the context of COVID-19, mis- and disinformation poses a severe risk to the acceptance and uptake of vaccines as it can seed doubts about the importance, safety, or effectiveness of vaccines and undermine public trust in vaccines, science and in official institutions.
IRIS Academic is a research group – named after a Greek goddess (“Iris”) of communications and messages – dedicated to understanding infodemics and promoting healthy information ecosystems. It is a collaborative project founded by some of the world’s leading researchers and institutions who are driving cutting-edge research and multidisciplinary methodologies across four topic pillars: susceptibility to misinformation, interventions to counter misinformation, vaccine hesitancy, and managing infodemics. Within each of these pillars, the researchers are working to identify and define measures, drivers and solutions that help to understand relationships between susceptibility to misinformation, the spread of misinformation, vaccine hesitance and effective interventions to protect people from misinformation.

EUropean MEdia PLATforms: assessing positive and negative externalities for European culture

Researcher: Fabiana Zollo, Length: 01/03/2021 - 29/02/2024, Grant to the UNIVE: € 223.162,50

The project aims at analyzing the role of media platforms in fostering or dismantling European identity. The assumption is that European dimension has rarely been dominant in media history. In particular, the project focuses on the “platformization” process, as the rise of new closed Web architectures, to inquire its positive and negative externalities, functional and dis-functional consequences.
Positive externalities are beneficial to society at large. Detecting the insurgence of negative effects is a fundamental duty for scholars and policy-makers, as externalities of both kinds tend to reinforce themselves, giving rise to positive loop feedbacks and critical vicious circles. Negative externalities include misinformation, toxic debate, exclusion of independent voices; positive externalities encompass European co-productions, or practices able to bring people out of the information bubble.
A multidisciplinary analysis of platformization will be conducted in three fields: news, video sharing, media representations, with the final goal to offer both a theoretical and empirical synthesis. The research question is whether or not new platforms – YouTube, Netflix, NewsFeed - are making European culture more European, based on indicators related to production, consumption and representation. Patterns will be detected by comparing national, regional and European and level.

Compressed Indexes for Regular Languages with Applications to Computational Pan-genomics

Researcher: Nicola Prezza, Length: 01/09/2022 – 31/08/2027, Grant to the UNIVE: € 1.385.743,00

The research project, funded by the Horizon Europe programme with an ERC starting grant, tackles the problem of organizing big and structured data sets in order to reduce their space usage and accelerate searches inside them. On a high level, the idea is very similar to the functioning of a common dictionary: it is much easier to search a term in a dictionary rather than in a book because, in the former, terms are sorted alphabetically. The REGINDEX project extends this simple idea to much more complex data: labeled graphs (or, equivalently, regular languages). While sentences in a book are formed by consecutive words, in a labeled graph "jumps" between (even very distant) words are permitted. Even if this makes the problem of searching sentences in a graph much more complicated, the project will show that the idea of sorting still applies. The developed techniques will find immediate applications in the design of algorithms for searching mutations inside sets of genomes. The DNA of two human beings is never perfectly identical. As a matter of fact, the differences existing among all human genomes can be modeled as a very large labeled graph: a pangenomic graph. The problem of searching for a particular mutation in the data set translates to that of searching a "sentence" (a path) inside this graph.

Sea level and extreme waves in the Last Interglacial

Researcher: Alessio Rovere, Length: 01/11/2021 – 31/03/2025, Grant to the UNIVE: € 883.353,75

The Last Interglacial (125 000 years ago) was the last period of the Earth’s history when climate was slightly warmer than pre-industrial. During the Last Interglacial, ice sheets were smaller and global mean sea level was higher than today. For this reason, this period of time represents a process-analog for future warming. Sea level and ice sheets dynamics during the Last Interglacial period are often regarded as indicators for the sensitivity of ice sheets to future melting. However, there are still significant gaps in our understanding of last interglacial sea level and extreme waves, that we aim to fill with WARMCOASTS.
Specifically, we will concentrate on three main research goals:
1)  Advancing current knowledge of last interglacial global mean sea level and associated uncertainties
2) Investigating the existence and pattern of sea level fluctuations within interglacials
3) Test the hypothesis that last interglacial extreme wave events were stronger than today.

"German Museum History: Bronze Age Artifacts" by Gary Lee Todd, Ph.D. is marked with CC0 1.0

GEOarchaeology of DAily Practices: extracting bronze age lifeways from the domestic stratigraphic record

Researcher: Dario Battistel, Length: 01/10/2021 – 30/09/2026, Grant to the UNIVE: € 80.000,00

What was daily life like in the European Bronze Age? In contrast to large-scale narratives based on artefacts, often prestige items from funerary contexts, this project focuses on the practices of daily domestic life, recorded in the sediments upon which it took place. These constitute the domestic stratigraphic record. This project, therefore, shifts the scale and the object of archaeological investigation, and aims at bringing interdisciplinary scientific analyses into dialogue with anthropological understandings of lifeways and households. Its main objective is the formulation of an innovative narrative of the Bronze Age addressing social, economic, and environmental aspects of a culturally interconnected region of Europe. The daily practices and life histories of bronze age people will be the pixels of this new picture that challenges previous depersonalized narratives relying on material culture. The region between the Carpatho-Danubian basin, the Balkans, and northern Italy was selected due to its important cultural interactions during the Bronze Age. Ten key archaeological sites in six European countries constitute the project’s database. Its innovative interdisciplinary approach integrates geoarchaeology (micro-stratigraphic analysis), organic chemistry (biomarkers) and archaeo-botany (phytoliths, seeds, fruits, and charcoal) to reconstruct with unprecedented accuracy the daily practices from domestic stratigraphy. This information will be compared with the story told by material culture and integrated with local paleo-environmental records. The project, in fact, challenges also previous reconstructions that called in environmental mega-events (volcanic eruptions, glacial advances, aridity events) to aprioristically explain broad cultural phenomena of the Bronze Age. Their inherent complexity can only be faced by crystallizing detailed micro-histories and site-specific environmental reconstructions into a broader synthesis based on hard scientific data.

Multi-hazard and sYstemic framework for enhancing Risk-Informed mAnagement and Decisionmaking in the E.U.

Researcher: Andrea Critto, Length: 01/09/2021 - 31/08/2025, Grant to the UNIVE: € 30.000,00

MYRIAD-EU (Multi-hazard and sYstemic framework for enhancing Risk-Informed mAnagement and Decision-making in the EU) is an EU-Horizon2020 funded project started in September 2021 that will run until 2025. It is conducted in collaboration with 17 partners from research institutes, NGOs, industry, and stakeholder representatives from all over Europe.
MYRIAD-EU’s vision is to catalyse the paradigm shift required to move towards a multi-risk, multi-sector, systemic approach to risk management. Our aim is that by the end of MYRIAD-EU policy-makers, decision-makers, and practitioners can develop forward-looking disaster risk management pathways that assess trade-offs and synergies across sectors, hazards, and scales.
UNIVE will develop risk analysis approaches based on machine learning methods for the assessment of environmental risks associated with the collection of water resources and climate change in the Veneto Region, in collaboration with the partner CMCC (Euro-Mediterranean Center on Climate Change).

RePAIR - Reconstructing the Past: Artificial Intelligence and Robotics Meet Cultural Heritage

Researcher: Marcello Pelillo, Length: 01/09/2021 - 28/02/2025, Grant to the UNIVE: € 586.066,00

The goal of the RePAIR project is to develop a ground-breaking technology to virtually eliminate one of the most labour-intensive and frustrating steps in archaeological research, namely the physical reconstruction of shattered artworks. By developing and integrating novel technologies in the fields of robotics, computer vision and artificial intelligence, we envisage a future where archaeology can deal effectively with reconstruction problems at an unprecedented scale and be able to bring back to life ancient artworks and masterpieces which would otherwise remain broken into pieces forever. Specifically, we aim to develop an intelligent robotic system which will autonomously process, match and physically assemble large fractured artefacts at a fraction of the time it takes humans to do. Our system will be tested over iconic case studies from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Pompeii, and one tangible outcome of the project will be to restore two world-renowned frescos which are now shattered into thousands of fragments and forgotten in storerooms.

INAndAROUND - Patterns of land-use and human mobility in a time of climate changes (Italy, 6th to 10th cc.)

Researcher: Annamaria Pazienza, Length: 15/08/2021 - 14/09/2024, Grant to the UNIVE: € 269.002,56

The period from the 6th- to 11th- century in Italy is one of the most profound political and social laboratories in European history. Centred on this region and period, the In&Around project aims at exploring the interaction between climate variability and human agency with a lens towards the management of the environment and in the light of shifting political regimes. By way of the innovation-through-interdisciplinary approach, it combines new long-duration and high-resolution climate records from recently cored lake sediments in Central Italy with data derived from written sources and already extant climate reconstructions, thus offering an important contribution to an expanding field of study, and capturing details on past issues of contemporary significance, like climate change, human mobility and workforce relocation.

MAREA - MAtchmaking Restoration, Ecology and Aquaculture

Researcher: Camilla Bertolini, Length: 01/07/2021 - 30/06/2023, Grant to the UNIVE: € 171.473,28

Bivalve aquaculture is considered to be one of the most sustainable practices, although some potentially negative environmental impacts arising from high deposition rates of organic deposits on the seabed can be identified.
To limit these impacts it is possible to add to the classic shellfish culture a restoration approach . This can bring additional positive effects for biodiversity and returns both economical and cultural.
The projects aims to optimise these positive effects  integrating restoration and aquaculture with the reintroduction of native oysters reefs (Ostrea edulis) , on the space of seabed underneath suspended mussel farms and using oyster seeds settling in the area to begin a new market for the native oyster (economic benefit)  and leaving the restored reef intact (ecological benefit).
This will combine a model and experimental approach in a pilot site in the northwest Adriatic, where extensive reefs were present. Lastly , climate change scenarios will be used to identify the use of this approach in the long term.

Research and training network on understanding Deep icE corE Proxies to Infer past antarctiC climatE dynamics

Researcher: Barbara Stenni, Length: 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024, Grant to the UNIVE: € 239.899,68

DEEPICE is a project funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 program (Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions - Innovative Training Network) which involves 15 early stage researchers (ESR) who will be recruited as doctoral students within a network made up of 10 partner academic organizations from 10 European countries plus 8 institutions belonging to the academic and industrial world.
The study of climate change is a complex scientific subject and a long-term challenge for society. DEEPICE will provide a comprehensive educational program that includes a solid scientific understanding of climate processes and the necessary technical skills (statistics, specific instrumentation, climate modeling), transferable skills and a unique experience in synthesizing and communicating climate change data.
The PhD student selected at Ca 'Foscari will work on a research project (ESR4) which involves the development of laser ablation techniques to carry out high resolution non-destructive elemental analyses on ice cores.
The position is associated with the Ca’ Foscari PhD in Polar Sciences.

SUNSHINE - Safe and sUstainable by desigN Strategies for HIgh performance multi-component NanomatErials

Researcher: Antonio Marcomini, Length: 01/01/2021 - 31/12/2024, Grant to the UNIVE: € 401.625,00

The four-year SUNSHINE European project aims at developing and validating Safe by Sustainable Design (S&SbD) strategies for products that incorporate multi-component nanomaterials (there are already over 1000 on the market), to facilitate their implementation on an industrial scale. This will involve studying the potential impacts on both the synthesis processes and on the performance of the final product, as well as the potential risks to human health and the environment over the entire life cycle.
The S&SbD strategies, which will be based on methods such as doping, coating, surface passivation and functionalization of the selected products, will be validated through specific case studies, including the construction, agri-food, medical, energy and automotive sectors. The most effective strategies in reducing risks along the entire life cycle of the targeted products, while ensuring product performance and economic feasibility, will therefore be proposed for implementation on an industrial scale.