Department of Engineering / Profiles / Mr Luca Di Mario

Department of Engineering

Mr Luca Di Mario


Luca Di Mario

Research Student

Academic Division: Civil Engineering

Research group: Sustainable Development

Telephone: +44 1223 3 32695


Research interests

My research focuses on resource (i.e. nutrients, water and energy) recovery and reuse in agriculture for low-income countries. I am testing the feasibility of reuse Business Models at scale in Lima, Bangalore, Hanoi and Kampala.

Material Flow Analysis, with a focus on Water, Carbon, Nitrogen and Phosphorous, is at the core of my methodology.

The PhD research is part of a broader research programme lead by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Water and Sanitation Department of the Swiss Institute for Aquatic Research (SANDEC).


I graduated in Environmental Engineering from ‘Sapienza- Università di Roma’ in 2007. Right after my graduation, I worked as water engineer in the Sahrawi refugee camps (South Algeria), where I designed a water distribution system for a hospital and conducted a pilot project for micro-irrigation systems powered by photovoltaic energy.

After the experience in the camps, I continued my studies with a Master of Science in Environmental Engineering at Imperial College London. My dissertation focused on rural and peri-urban sanitation for low-income countries, and for this I spent one month in rural Nepal interacting with rural/peri-urban communities. This fieldwork was funded by EWB-UK and the outcomes were presented at the Royal Academy of Engineering during the EWB-UK research conference in 2009.

In 2009, I joined the University of Cambridge as MPhil student in Engineering for Sustainable Development, after I was awarded a ‘Bill and Melinda Gates’ scholarship. During the year I mainly focused on sustainable applications for the developing world.

After the MPhil, I worked as consultant for the UN – International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD) as Water Management specialist. I worked on small-scale irrigation and water development projects in India, Bangladesh and Ethiopia and I coordinated two research grants on the effectiveness of Water Users’ Associations in Asia and Near East and North Africa.

I re-joined the Centre for Sustainable Development in 2012 as a PhD student. My research focuses on resource (i.e. nutrients, water and energy) reuse and recovery in agriculture for low-income countries and from the perspective of business models. The main aim of my research is to understand the environmental/health risks of RR&R and necessary mitigation strategies. The research is part of a joint IWMI/WHO research project.

My medium term career goal is to continue working as technical advisor on water & environment for the developing world.