Renato Macciotta Pulisci, PhD, PEng
Area of Study / Keywords
Geotechnical Centre School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management Canadian Rail Research Laboratory Geomechanics Risk Management Slope Stability Mining Geotechnique Safe Rail Operations
I have a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Lima, Peru. I started my engineering profession at the Canadian-based Klohn Crippen Berger, focusing on the geotechnical aspects of mining operations, in particular, the design and operation of tailings storage facilities, water treatment ponds, site investigations and remediation options for mine closure. I obtained my Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering, specializing in risk engineering aspects of natural and man-made slopes. I then worked as Research Associate at the University of Alberta while simultaneously providing consulting services within Canada and internationally. I have 17 years of practical experience and 12 years of research experience.
My areas of practice and research include risk engineering and safety assessments for natural and human-made slopes, mining structures, transport operations, dam structures and operations, ground hazards, and reclamation. My expertise also includes the geomechanical characterization of rock and soil masses, slope failure mechanisms and monitoring, rock fall detachment and trajectory analysis, and remote monitoring techniques. My work integrates technical skills with risk engineering principles for the design and operation of engineered systems and structures. Some of the industry and regulatory parties with whom I have worked include: Transport Canada, Klohn Crippen Berger, Canadian National Railway, BCHydro, Alberta Transportation, Canadian Pacific Railway, Rio Tinto, Antamina mining company, Suncor, Railway Association of Canada, Newcrest, TransAlta, Large Open Pit Project (LOP) and the National Research Council of Canada.
My research has been published in more than 70 peer-reviewed publications, including 38 Journal articles and over 35 conference proceedings. I have supervised several Ph.D. and M.Sc. candidates in risk engineering and geotechnical components of their research projects. I have delivered lectures and presentations nationally and internationally. My research has always been conducted in partnership with the industry. My research interests include:
- Uncertainty evaluation and quantification associated with conceptual engineering models and limitations in site investigations; and how these impact the assessment of risk,
- Development of risk tolerability strategies for key industries in Canada (i.e. rail transport, mining) which reflect society’s expectations for safety and economic health,
- Development of practical methodologies and processes to address the Sendai Framework for Disaster Risk Reduction,
- Potential effects of climate change in the levels of risk associated with critical industries in Canada, human-made earth structures and landslide phenomena, among others.
I believe in teaching within a safe and inclusive environment that encourages the development of engineering skills of talented individuals from multiple backgrounds and identities. My strategy combines teaching sound theoretical knowledge complemented with practical experience that allows students to be familiar with industry practices and have the skills to address novel challenges. I also advocate for applied engineering research in partnership with industry and regulators, as well as the importance of continuous practice, allowing a proper understanding of the needs of the industry.
Evaluation of site conditions. Design and analysis of shallow and deep foundations and retaining structures. Slope stability of embankments and cuts including foundation excavations. Students work in teams on a design project. Prerequisite: CIV E 481. Note: Restricted to fourth-year traditional and fifth-year co-op engineering students.
Techniques of site investigation for geotechnical engineering, in situ testing, instrumentation for field performance studies, case histories covering both rock and soil applications.
Basic concepts of risk and consequences of loss incidents; risk management principles and practices; incident investigation, causation, root cause analysis; process safety management; the roles of government agencies, professional bodies and industry associations; workplace safety; risk-based decision-making processes; leadership and the human-factors side of risk management. The course focuses on the principles and practices of leadership towards the effective application and implementation of risk management in major organizations across all engineering disciplines. Industry virtual tours, case studies, seminars and team projects specific to the student's engineering program will be used to develop competencies and proficiencies in applying leadership and organizational effectiveness for successful risk management.