Renato Macciotta Pulisci, PhD, PEng

Industrial Professor, Faculty of Engineering - Chemical and Materials Engineering Dept


Industrial Professor, Faculty of Engineering - Chemical and Materials Engineering Dept
(780) 492-3366
13-244 Donadeo Innovation Centre For Engineering
9211-116 St
Edmonton AB
T6G 2H5


Area of Study / Keywords

Geotechnical Centre School of Engineering Safety and Risk Management


Renato has a B.Sc. in Civil Engineering from Lima, Peru. He started his 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. He moved to Edmonton, AB, to pursue a post-graduate degree in Civil Engineering after four years of industrial experience. Renato obtained his Ph.D. in Geotechnical Engineering in 2013, specializing in risk engineering aspects of natural and man-made slopes. He then worked as Research Associate at the University of Alberta while simultaneously providing consulting services within Canada and internationally. Renato has over 12 years of industrial experience and nine years of research experience.

Renato believes in teaching a sound theoretical background complemented with a practical exposure that allows students to be familiar with industry practices and have the skills to address novel challenges. He also advocates 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.


Renato’s 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. His 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. His work integrates his technical skills with risk engineering principles for the design and operation of engineered systems and structures. Some of the industrial and regulatory parties with whom Renato has worked, or is currently working, include: Transport Canada, Klohn Crippen Berger, Canadian National Railway, BCHydro, Alberta Transportation, Canadian Pacific Railway, Antamina mining company, Suncor, Railway Association of Canada, TransAlta, and the National Research Council of Canada.

On the academic side, his research has been published more than 30 peer-reviewed publications, including 10 Journal articles and over 20 conference proceedings. He has guided several Ph.D. and M.Sc. candidates in risk engineering and geotechnical components of their research projects and has delivered lectures and presentations nationally and internationally. His research has always been conducted in partnership with the industry. His 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.


CIV E 683 - Site Investigation Practice

Techniques of site investigation for geotechnical engineering, in situ testing, instrumentation for field performance studies, case histories covering both rock and soil applications.

Fall Term 2020
CIV E 789 - Advanced Topics in Civil Engineering

Fall Term 2020