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 Viviana Novelli

Viviana Novelli


School of Engineering

Available for postgraduate supervision


Viviana Iris Novelli is a structural engineer working as a Lecturer (Teaching and Research) in Civil Engineering Design, Mechanics and Structures (Darlithwyr Disglair) at Cardiff University.  She has a Doctor Philosophy in Earthquake Engineering, awarded by the University College of London (UCL), and an exceptional and outstanding record in industry and in academia. She has a robust track in leading international projects focusing on earthquake engineering, and a superior and practical experience in pre/post-earthquake assessment in Europe, Middle East, Africa and South America.

Viviana worked at the Department of Civil Engineering of the University of Bristol as a Research Associate in Earthquake Impact for the project PREPARE (Enhancing PREParedness for East African Countries through Seismic Resilience Engineering), a 3-year EPSRC-Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) project. Her role in this project tackles the global challenge of improving the earthquake disaster preparedness for East African countries by developing integrated earthquake impact assessment tools in close partnerships with local governmental and academic institutions.

Before joining the University of Bristol, Viviana was employed for almost three years (2015-2018) in AECOM based in Manchester, to work in the position of project structural engineer for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) with the role of coordinating projects for the seismic evaluation of British Embassies, Departments for the International Developments (DFID) offices and FCO residential properties in Europe, Africa and Middle East. Furthermore, in AECOM Viviana had also the duty of covering tasks in a wide variety of projects with the focus on retrofitting historical buildings and designing residential/commercial/industrial buildings.

Viviana has an excellent research record with a track of papers published on different topics such as  hybrid approach to estimate the seismic vulnerability and risk through a tool given by the combination of a mechanical approach and a knowledge-based tool to assess the seismic building responses and failure modes in developed and developing countries.

As a seismic vulnerability specialist, Viviana has also worked in several consultancies for DFID in Nepal and Malawi, Getty Institution, BRGM, and GEM to develop simplify approaches based on visual inspections and analytical methods to assess non-engineered constructions and masonry and reinforced concrete buildings, and architectural assets in different countries such as: Algeria, Malawi, Uganda, Nepal, Jordan, and Peru’ and several couriers in Europe. From 2010-2012 Viviana was employed at University of Bath in PERPETUATE, a European FP-7 project as a research assistant to assess the seismic vulnerability and propose economic retrofitting solutions for the seismic risk reduction in European and Mediterranean countries.

Viviana has also working for two years (2009-2010) in EUCENTRE (in Pavia, Italy), after she completed a master in Earthquake Engineering and Seismology at Rose school (in Pavia, Italy).

During all her entire career, she has gained a high understanding of how analytical and empirical methods for the vulnerability/risk assessment are designed, developed and used for industrial and academic aims. Furthermore, she has developed a high capacity to communicate engineering concepts to technical and non-technical clients and has achieved an extraordinary planning and organization skills.



2013 - 2017

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

Thesis title: “Hybrid method for the seismic vulnerability assessment of historic masonry city centres”. Supervisor: Prof D. D’Ayala. Funding: UCL's Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs).

2007 - 2008

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

Thesis title: “The unloading stiffness of reinforced concrete members”. Supervisors: Prof. T. Sullivan, Prof. R. Pinho, Prof. G. M. Calvi. Funding: the European Commission, under the Erasmus Mundus programme.

2000 - 2006

Università Federico II, Naples - Italy - MEng, and BEng (first-class honours) in Buildign Engineering.

Thesis title: “Seismic vulnerability of the historic building “Petrucci” in Naples, Italy.” Supervisors: Prof. P. Lenza and Prof. B. Calderoni.


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.


2020 -Present

The World Bank. International Bank for Reconstruction and Development. International Development Association - Structural Engineer.

Heritage impact assessment. Proposed conservation interventions in the castle of Gjirokastra (Albania)

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.









EN3311: Concrete Materials and Structures -

EN2400: Structural Analysis and Design

  • Structural modelling and reliability
  • Performance-based earthquake engineering
  • Lifecycle cost/environmental analysis
  • Effectiveness of seismic risk mitigation techniques,
  • Seismic loss estimation of spatially distributed structures
  • Seismic risk management and decision-making
  • Multi-hazards risk assessment due to mega-thrust subduction earthquakes.