Dr Matteo Rubinato
Research Fellow



Department of Civil and Structural Engineering
Sir Frederick Mappin Building
Mappin Street, Room D105
S1 3JD

Email: m.rubinato@sheffield.ac.uk

Mobile: +44(0) 7794995864


My research areas are all linked to the understanding of urban flooding phenomena and the interactions between existing sewer systems and streets. My first area of interest is on the flow and the mechanical processes associated with the flow exchange between urban drainage systems, with a strong focus on experimental modelling of urban drainage systems to provide novel datasets for validation of numerical models. As hydraulic models are increasingly being used to both plan significant asset investment and form the basis of flood awareness/warning schemes, the resulting improvements in modelling accuracy is anticipated to have significant benefits in terms of more efficient drainage design/investment and increased resilience to flood events. My second area of interest is the quantification of the spread of pollutant and contaminates from sewer systems into surface flow during an event of flooding when the water is escaping from the manholes. My third area involves technologies to improve measurement techniques with potential to remotely measure turbulence processes based on their linkages with the dynamic water surface. Accurate 3D measurement of turbulence-generated rough water surfaces is problematic hence more studies are requested to improve this sector.


Journal Papers

  • 13 [J] C. Lashford, M. Rubinato, Y. Cai, J. Hou, S. Albofathi, S. Coupe, S. Charleworth, S. Tait (2019). SuDS & Sponge Cities: A Comparative Analysis of the Implementation of Pluvial Flood Management in the UK and China. Sustainability, 11(1), 213 doi:10.3390/su11010213
  • 12 [J] S. Rojas, M. Rubinato, A. Nichols, J. Shucksmith (2018). Cost effective measuring technique to simultaneously quantify 2D velocity fields and depth-averaged solute concentrations in shallow water flows. Journal of Flow Measurement and Instrumentation, 64, 213-223 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.flowmeasinst.2018.10.022.
  • 11 [J] Y. Peng, J. Zhang, W. Xu, M. Rubinato (2018). Optimization of gate opening modes to minimize near-field vibration induced by releasing flood with hydraulic experiments. Special Issue Dams, Rehabilitation and Environment, Water, 10, 1435, doi:10.3390/w10101435.
  • 10 [J] A. Shu, G. Duan, M. Rubinato, S. Wang, F. Zhu (2018) Collapsing mechanism of the typical cohesive riverbank along Ningxia-Inner Mongolia catchment along the Yellow River. Water, 10, 1272, doi:10.3390/w10091272.
  • 9 [J] R. Martins, M. Rubinato, G. Kesserwani, J. Leandro, S. Djordjevic, J. Shucksmith. (2018) On the characteristics of velocity fields on the vicinity of manhole inlet grates during flood events. Water Resources Research, 54 (9), 6408-6422, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018WR022782
  • 8 [J] A. Shu, L. Tian, S. Wang, M. Rubinato, F. Zhu, M. Wang, J. Sun (2018) Hydrodynamic Characteristics of the Formation and Movement Processes for Non-Homogeneous Debris-Flow. Water, 10 (4), 452, https://doi.org/10.3390/w10040452 .
  • 7 [P] M. Rubinato, L. Seungsoo, R. Martins, J. Shucksmith. (2018) Surface to sewer flow exchange through circular inlets during urban flood conditions. Journal of Hydroinformatics, 20 (3), 564–576, DOI: 10.2166/hydro.2018.127 .
  • 6 [P] M. Rubinato, R. Martins, J. Shucksmith. (2018) Quantification of energy losses at a surcharging manhole. Urban Water Journal, 15 (3), 234-241, https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/1573062X.2018.1424217
  • 5 [J] Md.N.A. Beg, R.F. Carvalho, S. Tait, W. Brevis, M. Rubinato, A. Schellart, J. Leandro. (2018) A comparative study of manhole hydraulics using stereoscopic PIV and different RANS models. Water Science and Technology, 2017 (1), 87-98, http://wst.iwaponline.com/content/early/2018/02/28/wst.2018.089
  • 4 [P] M. Rubinato, R. Martins, G. Kesserwani, J. Leandro, S. Djordjevic, J. Shucksmith. (2017) Experimental calibration and validation of sewer/surface flow exchange equations in steady and unsteady flow conditions. Journal of Hydrology, 552, 421-432, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jhydrol.2017.06.024
  • 3 [J] R. Martins, G. Kesserwani, M. Rubinato, S. Lee, J. Leandro, S. Djordjevic, J. Shucksmith. (2017) Validation of 2D shock capturing flood models around a surcharging manhole. Urban Water Journal, 14 (9), http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/1573062X.2017.1279193.
  • 2 [J] S. Mostafa, M. Rubinato, F.L. Rosario-Ortiz, K. Linden. (2016) Impact of light screening and photosensitization by surface water organic matter on Enterococcus faecalis inactivation. Journal of Environmental Engineering Science, 33 (6), 365-373, https://doi.org/10.1089/ees.2016.0041
  • 1 [P] M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith, A. J. Saul, W. Shepherd. (2013) Comparison between Infoworks results and a physical model of an urban drainage system, Water Science and Technology, 68 (2), 372–379, http://wst.iwaponline.com/content/68/2/372

Conference Papers

  • 16 [J] J. Shucksmith, M. Rubinato, R. Martins, G. Kesserwani, J. Leandro, S. Djordjevic, Understanding pollutant transport in urban floodwater for health impact assessment using a physical scale model. 23-26 September 2018, 11th International Conference on Urban Drainage Modelling, Palermo, Italy.
  • 15 [J] S. Rojas, A. Nichols, M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith. Velocity distribution and mixing layer in partially vegetated channel, 12-14 June 2018, 5th IAHR Europe Congress, Trento, Italy.
  • 14 [P] M. Rubinato, R.Martins, G.Kesserwani, J.Leandro, S.Djordjevic, J.Shucksmith, Experimental investigation of the influence of manhole grates on drainage flows in urban flooding conditions, 10-15 September 2017, 14th IWA/IAHR International Conference on Urban Drainage, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • 13 [J] Y.H. Cho, M. Rubinato, A.Nichols, The Kinect sensor as a tool for remote flow characterisation, 13-18 August 2017,37th IAHR World Congress, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
  • 12 [J] R.Martins, M.Rubinato, G.Kesserwani, J.Leandro, S.Djordjevic, J.Shucksmith. On the validity of Local Inertial Equation Models to simulate overland flows near surcharging manholes. 10-15 September 2017, 14th IWA/IAHR International Conference on Urban Drainage, Prague, Czech Republic.
  • 11 [P] M.Rubinato. Y.-H. Cho, A.Nichols, Sensing of free-surface patterns in opaque flow using Kinect. 1-3 March 2017, HydroSenSoft International Symposium and Exibition on Hydro-Environmental Sensors and Software, Madrid, Spain.
  • 10 [J] A.Nichols, M.Rubinato. Remote sensing of environmental processes via low-cost 3D free-surface mapping. 27-29 July 2016, 4th IHAR Europe Congress, Liege, Belgium.
  • 9 [P] M.Rubinato, S.Lee, G.Kesserwani, J.Shucksmith. Experimental and numerical investigation of water depths around a manhole under drainage conditions. 21-26 August 2016, 12th International Conference on Hydroinformatics-Smart water for the future, Songdo Convensia, Incheon, South Korea.
  • 8 [J] G. Kesserwani, L. Seungsoo, M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith. Experimental and numerical validation of shallow water flow around a surcharging manhole. 20-23 September 2015, 10th Urban Drainage Modelling Conference. Mont-Sainte Anne, Quebec, Canada.
  • 7 [P] M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith, A.J. Saul. Experimental investigation of between above and below ground drainage systems through a manhole, 17-21 August 2014, 11th International Conference on Hydroinformatics, New York, USA.
  • 6 [J] P. Lopes, J. Shucksmith, J. Leandro, R. Fernandes de Carvalho, M. Rubinato. Velocities profiles and air-entrainment characterization in a scaled circular manhole, 7-12 September 2014, 13th ICUD, Sawarak, Malaysia.
  • 5 [P] M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith, A.J. Saul. Modeling urban flooding: a physical approach utilizing a scale unique facility, 3-7 June 2013, 13th World Wide Workshop for Young Environmental Scientists (WWW-YES-2013), Paris, France.
  • 4 [P] M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith, A.J. Saul. Comparison between Infoworks results and a physical model of an urban drainage system, 3-8 Sep 2012, 9th Urban Drainage Modelling Conference, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • 3 [J] N. Melo, J. Leandro, J. Shucksmith, M. Rubinato, S. Djordjevic, A.J. Saul, H. Ramos, J. L. M. P. de Lima, Modelling Internal Boundary Conditions of a Sewer Network, 3-8 September 2012, 9th Urban Drainage Modelling Conference, Belgrade, Serbia.
  • 2 [P] M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith, A.J. Saul. Procedures for downscaling urban drainage systems for physical modelling studies”, 14 - 18 July 2012, 10th International Conference on Hydroinformatics, Hamburg, Germany.
  • 1 [P] M. Rubinato, J. Shucksmith, A.J. Saul. Hydraulic performance of a scale model facility and optimization through the use of real time sensors, 11-17 Sep 2011, 12th International Conference on Urban Drainage Modelling, Porto Alegre, Brazil.

Poster Papers

  • Rubinato M, Shucksmith J (2015) Experimental investigation of sewer to surface pollutant transport through a manhole under urban flood conditions. 10th International Conference on Urban Drainage Modelling. Canada, Quebec, 2015.
  • Mostafa S., Rubinato M., Rosario-Ortiz F.L., Linden K. "Killing pathogens ponds: predicting the role of sunlight from wastewater optical properties", 13-17 October 2014, Water and Health conference, North Carolina, USA. 
  • Rubinato M., Shucksmith J., Saul A.J. “Hydraulic performance of a scale model facility and optimization through the use of real time sensors”, 11 September 2011-17 September 2011, 12th ICUD (International Conference on the Urban Drainage), Porto Alegre, BRAZIL.

Recent activities and achievements


  • PostDoctoral researcher with interests in the hydraulics of urban flooding and pollutant transport.
  • Established, proven and ongoing collaboration with external UK and international partners (Prof. Djordjevic, Exeter, UK; Prof. Rosario-Ortiz, Boulder, USA; Prof. Lin, Prof. Zhang, Chengdu, China and Prof. Shu, Beijing, China and Prof. Hou, Xi’an).


  • Successful Fellow of Higher Education Academy qualification, obtained in April 2018
  • Successful Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy qualification, obtained in July 2017.
  • Teaching assistant on the year 4 MSc/MEng module “Flood Risk Management”, CIV4729/6729, of which I designed and implemented new teaching and assessment material (2017-present).
  • Researcher in schools for the BRILLIANT CLUB, an award winning charity that exists to widen access to highly-selective universities for pupils from under-represented groups (2016-present).
  • Nominated 3 times Outstanding Thesis Mentor for the Theses Mentor Programme provided by the Research and Innovation Services of the University of Sheffield since 2015.

Leadership, Management and Administration

  • Worked with colleagues on preparing externally funded proposals.
  • Designed, built and tested internationally unique laboratory facilities (in the UK - EP/K040405/1 - and in China - SKHL1512).

Professional and External Standing

  • International collaboration with colleagues at i) University of Colorado Boulder, USA; ii) Sichuan University, China; iii) Coimbra University, Portugal and iv) Technical University of Munich, Germany.
  • Selected for the final phase of “TALENTED YOUNG ITALIANS & KEYNES SRAFFA AWARDS” held at Church House Conference Centre, Dean’s Yard, Westminster, on November 10th 2016. This event was organised by the Italian Chamber of Commerce and Industry for the UK, in collaboration with the Italian Embassy in London and with the patronage of H.E. Pasquale Terracciano, the Italian Ambassador.
  • Invited speaker by Prof. David Butler (University of Exeter) for the Newton Fund-Researcher Links workshop “Water-Wise Cities and Smart Water Systems” held in Xi’an, China (September 2018).
  • Invited speaker by Dr Chris Jackson (British Geological Centre) for the Newton Fund-Researcher Links workshop “The potential for groundwater in Malaysia’s resilient urban future” held in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia (July 2018).
  • Invited speaker by Prof. Dragan Savic (University of Exeter) at a workshop funded by the British Council – Newton Funding “Urban Flooding and Sponge Cities”, held at Shenzhen University (July 2017).
  • Invited lecture speaker by Prof. II Won Seo at Seoul National University (August 2016).
  • Invited lecture speaker by Prof. Zoran Vojinovic at UNESCO-IHE, Delft, Netherlands (May 2016)
  • Session Chair for the 10th International Conference on Hydroinformatics 2012.

Research & Publications

  • 1-month research at the University of Colorado Boulder under the supervision of Dr. Vanessa Speight and Prof. Fernando Rosario-Ortiz for the project "RISE - Research and Innovation Staff Exchange",Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions, call H2020-MSCA-RISE-2017.
  • Research Principal Investigator (£33000 – British Council Newton Funding) and Research Co-Investigator (£9000 – Open Fund, Sichuan University, Chengdu, China) for University recognised external funding.
  • Successfully applied for £23968 from Pennine Water Group funding for multiple projects, i)“Clear Water for all”, in collaboration with University of Colorado Boulder to provide salary costs not included within the successful EPSRC grant; ii) test a new infra-red system for characterising 3D water surface patterns and iii) attend international conferences for oral presentation (Hydroinformatics and Urban Drainage Modelling).
  • Extending understanding of urban flood scenarios with extensive experimental studies.
  • Employed on the EPSRC Grant (EP/K040405/1) “Experimental and numerical investigation of pluvial flood flows and pollutant transport” as since 2014 with effective leading roles while PI was on parental leave (January-July 2017).
  • 2 months research project at the University of Colorado Boulder under the supervision of Prof. Karl Linden and Prof. Fernando Rosario-Ortiz, The project "Clear Water for all" has been awarded by the EPSRC to the Pennine Water Group (PWG); Urban Water Systems for a changing World - EP/I029346/1


  • Fellow of Higher Education Academy qualifications obtained through the University's Learning & Teaching Professional Recognition Scheme (LTPRS)
  • PhD at the University of Sheffield, Civil and Structural Engineering Department – Thesis “Physical Scale Modelling of Urban Flood Systems under the supervision of Lecturer in Water Engineering Dr James Shucksmith (2015)
  • Bachelor degree in environmental engineering at the University of Padova (Italy) - Final thesis under the supervision of Prof. Attilio Adami (Padova) 2007
  • Master degree in environmental engineering (at the University of Padova (Italy) - Final thesis under the supervision of Prof. Andrea Marion (Padova) and Prof. Adrian Saul (Sheffield- UK) 2010

Research Project(s)

Experimental and Numerical Investigation of Flow Exchange in Urban Flood Flows

Experimental and numerical investigation of flow exchange in urban flood flows is an EPSRC funded project that runs for 3 years from 1st September 2014. The overall aim of this project is to provide high quality sets of data which will be shared with computer modellers. This project utilises a unique surface/subsurface scale model of an urban drainage facility at the University of Sheffield together with numerical and computational advances in the solution of the hydraulic and pollutant transport equations. The outputs will be significant improvements in the capabilities of pluvial flooding models in terms of accuracy (i.e. flow depths and velocities) and the quantification of pollutant transport. Specific objectives have been identified and divided into three work packages as follows:


Experimentally determine the hydraulic characteristics of manholes in steady and unsteady pluvial flood conditions by defining how the surface/subsurface interaction is affected by surface and sewer flow characteristics.


Experimentally characterise the transport of soluble material from sewers to surface flows via manholes and determine the mixing characteristics in typical shallow flow flooding conditions.


Integrate the experimental findings from phase 1 and 2 into current 1D/2D numerical models and develop an experimentally verified pluvial flood model for hydraulics and pollutant transport.


Dedicated Outstanding Thesis Mentor January-June programme 2016/2017
This is what mentee Masa said about my mentoring:
“It is hard to find words to describe how much Matteo has helped me in those difficult months of a huge writers block that I had found myself in, which was beginning to seriously jeopardise the completion of my PhD. I have always had the best of support from my supervisor and research team, but at the time when I fell into this dark pit of extreme procrastination and complete loss of confidence, their approach did not work anymore. By offering unbiased, open and very honest feedback, Matteo gradually guided me through some hard stages of finding my way back to a work routine that works for me, and rediscovering enthusiasm for my research. Gradually I started making progress and eventually actually enjoying the final writeup stage, which was at the time an unimaginable thing to do. Many thanks to the mentoring team for providing this programme and thank you Matteo for your devotion and for not giving up on me!"

Dedicated Outstanding Thesis Mentor July-November programme
This is what mentee Olutomisin said about my mentoring:
“He has really shown to me how to be concise and keep focus in my writing. He has motivated me by knowing what each chapter of the thesis may be required and expected either by the supervisor or examiner.“

Dedicated Outstanding Thesis Mentor January-May programme
This is what mentee Martin said about my mentoring:
"The main qualities brought to the partnership by Matteo were recent experience and empathy. These helped me see that my issues were not unique and that there were sound practical approaches and solutions to any situations I was concerned about. The very existence and regularity of the scheme meant that I was able to use my planned meetings with Matteo as an informal framework within which I could produce new work. It was a most useful experience.“