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Francesca Pianosi

Francesca Pianosi
Francesca Pianosi

The 2015 Arne Richter Award for Outstanding Young Scientists is awarded to Francesca Pianosi for innovative contributions to the advancement of systems methods for the sustainable management of the world’s water resources.

Managing our water resources sustainably is one of the fundamental challenges for humanity today. Linking new state-of-the-art computational methods to the real-world behaviour of society is key to advancing both scientific research and operational management in relation to the world’s water resources. Francesca Pianosi’s research has been at the forefront of this effort, focusing on three areas. Firstly, she developed and demonstrated model-based optimisation tools using real-world water systems management problems. Highlights of this work include the use of systems analysis to assess the potential of water resources systems and to mitigate conflicts at the catchment scale through multi-objective optimisation and the centralised operation of storing facilities. Secondly, Pianosi developed new approaches to understand the impact of forecast uncertainty on the optimal operation of water resources systems and to integrate uncertain forecasts into model-based decision-making via real-time optimisation. Finally, she showed how the potential of low-regret climate change adaptation measures for water resources systems can be evaluated using systems analysis, even in the presence of large uncertainties.

Over the last couple of years, Pianosi has advanced the theory and practice of sensitivity analysis in environmental modelling by developing new algorithms and tools that she shares freely with others. Her individual research excellence and her highly collaborative nature – especially when it comes to supporting students in their endeavours – make her a worthy recipient of this honour.