Dr Nicoletta Leonardi B.Eng., M.Eng., Ph.D., FHEA

Senior Lecturer Geography and Planning


Personal Statement

I am a civil engineer specializing in coastal studies and computer modelling. I joined the University of Liverpool in 2016 after completing my PhD at Boston University, USA. I have an international reputation for the study of coastline evolution, hydrodynamics and coastal management strategies with focus on engineering with nature. Evidences of the sustained excellence in my work include a prize from the Italian National Academy of Sciences (Accademia dei Lincei) for my studies on coastal wetlands, invitations to speak at international conferences and invited manuscripts in high impact journals. In 2016, I have been prized by the Italian National Academy of Science and at the presence of the Head of State for my work on coastal wetlands. I am currently managing a team of 8 PhD students working on numerical models and on the study of coastal resilience to climate change.

I am co-I on a MarRI-UK project on the use of artificial intelligence, satellite data and computer modelling for the autonomous detection of subtidal bathymetric changes. I am the Liverpool PI for a United States Geological Survey project on the impact of hurricanes on coastal wetlands with focus on the development of open-source subroutines to predict coastal erosion for the hydrodynamic model ROMS. These subroutines and companion technical tools are actively used by the USGS for the prediction of the impact of hurricanes on coastal areas. I was also Co-I on the NERC-funded BlueCoast project where I actively led the modelling for coastal management options for different coastline types in the UK. I have been collaborating with the National Oceanography Centre for the evaluation of flooding under extreme storm surges and with the National Grid and the Crown Estate to scope different options for large sand-scaping interventions in Morecambe Bay. I have shown the capability to engage and communicate results to stakeholders, government agencies and local communities including the Environmental Agency, RSPB and local Stakeholder groups as well as the capability to directly collaborate with companies such as Marlan Martime Ltd and Satellite Oceanographic Consultants Ltd. I have also shown the capability to engage with government agencies at an international level as indicated by awarded funding from the Shanghai Municipality for the study of wetlands resilience to typhoon in Nanhui Shoal.

• Honorary Research Fellow at the National Tsing Hua University, 2020-2023
• Italian National Academy of Sciences (Accademia dei Lincei), 2016 – “Giuseppe and Paolo Gatto” Prize for the study of coastal wetlands.
• Fellow of the Higher Education Academy Recognition reference: PR136980; Date of recognition 13/11/2017
• Director’s Award for Outstanding Teaching, 2015. This award recognizes “outstanding teaching achievements and teaching fellows who went above and beyond the call of duty in the teaching mission of Boston University”

Selected Invited Talks
• University of Maryland, 2020, "Assessing Coastal Risk and Enhancing Resilience”
• East China Normal University, 2019, Use of Numerical models for coastal areas
• University of Manchester, UK, 2019, Resilience of coastal systems under changing environment
• American Geophysical Union Fall meeting, 2018, session on Dynamic coastal systems: human-landscape interactions under changing environmental conditions
• NTHU, Taiwan, 2017, Use of Numerical models in geoscience
• University of Edinburgh, UK, 2016 Hydrodynamic and cellular automata models of deltaic wetlands
• Utrecht University, NL, 2015, Using geometry to infer landscape stability
• University of Exeter, UK, 2015, Building and Eroding Land, the role of marine processes,
• Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, MA, USA, 2014, Tidal rythmites in distributary mouth bars
• California Institute of Technology, CA, USA, 2014, Effect of tides on Mouth bars morphology, Hydrodynamic and Stratigraphy

External Leadership roles and Services
• Grants reviewer for: NSF, Dutch Research Council (NWO), NERC, EPSRC, Maryland Industrial partnership grants.
• Guest Editor for Journals: Frontier in Marine Science; Water.
• Board Member of River, Coastal and Estuarine Morphodynamics Symposium RCEM, 2017-today
• Conference chair for session in Natural Hazards, European Geophysical Union (EGU), 2019-2021.
• Conference chair for session in Coastal Geomorphology American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2016-2017.

University Leadership roles and Services
• Employability Officer for Geography and part of the Faculty level Employability Working Group.
• Ethics Reviewer for students’ projects across the School, University role.
• Assessment Office for Geography.
• External Examiner for two PhD thesis and one Mater thesis.