Diletta Colette Invernizzi
- Course: Civil engineering PhD
- PhD title: Benchmarking nuclear decommissioning
- Year of graduation: 2019
- Job title: Project and Portfolio Manager
- Company: Jacobs
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/diletta-invernizzi-ph-d-7843a086/
Diletta Colette Invernizzi graduated from the University’s School of Civil Engineering with a PhD titled ‘Benchmarking nuclear decommissioning,’ for which she investigated project management in the nuclear sector. She was supervised by Professors Giorgio Locatelli, Bruce Hanson and Naomi Brookes.
Her PhD was funded by the Nuclear Decommissioning Authority (NDA), a non-departmental public body belonging to the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, formed by the Energy Act 2004.
“My PhD grant was managed by the National Nuclear Laboratory (NNL), which is a UK Government-operated nuclear services technology provider covering the whole of the nuclear fuel cycle,” said Diletta.
Diletta is now a project and portfolio manager in the decommissioning team at Jacobs, where she manages Jacobs internal radiation protection services, runs a portfolio of 60+ radiation protection consultancy projects with external clients, and also oversees international projects, across a total budget of more than £400k.
She was recently added to the Project Management Institute’s (PMI) ‘future 50’ list of young global leaders. She also won the prestigious International Project Management Associations (IPMA) young researcher award in 2020.
She said: “To be awarded the prestigious IPMA young researcher award is an incredible achievement. I am very thankful to all the research team at the University of Leeds for all the support received, which helped me develop as a researcher and critical thinker.”
I am very thankful to all the research team at the University of Leeds for all the I support received, which helped me develop as a researcher and critical thinker.
“Additionally, the PMI’s ‘future 50’ list of young global leaders is awarded to rising project management professionals in recognition their achievements,” Diletta explained. “The criteria identifies those who have been seen to transform the workplace through collaboration, inclusion, and purpose. It’s a huge honour to be included in this list, and it motivates me to keep doing my very best to live-up to the expectations.”
Facilitating Research and Development (R&D)
Diletta also manages Innovate UK research projects and is going to start supervising a PhD student at Leeds as industrial supervisor. Professor Locatelli will be the primary academic supervisor, and the research aims to build on the findings of Diletta’s PhD.
Diletta said: “During my studies I was assigned two industrial supervisors: one from the NDA and one from NNL. I am very grateful for all their insight of the industry that we discussed during my PhD. Now, I will begin to co-supervise an NDA-funded PhD with Giorgio, following the success of my own PhD.”
She continued: “Through managing Innovate UK research projects, I promote collaborations between industry and universities to encourage R&D and research commercialisation, which leads to highly beneficial outcomes.”
She added: “In addition to the regular reporting of project progress, my role includes supporting bid management for large tenders and international business development. I also present Jacobs projects and achievements at international conferences.”
Choosing the University of Leeds
One of the reasons Diletta chose to pursue a PhD at Leeds is because of her multidisciplinary interests in the energy sector and the expertise of her primary supervisor, Professor Locatelli. She wanted to increase her technical, project management and economics skills, as well as her organisational knowledge, and believed that Giorgio and the University were offering the right support to achieve this endevour.
“Both the choice of a PhD topic and of the PhD supervisor are fundamental,” continued Diletta. “I met Professor Giorgio Locatelli during my MSc dissertation, and found him to be an extremely knowledgeable Professor; he was always reliable and available for a critical review of my work. Knowing this was key in choosing Leeds.”
I found Professor Giorgio Locatelli to be an extremely knowledgeable Professor; he was always reliable and available for a critical review of my work. Knowing this was key in choosing Leeds.
Diletta continued: “Giorgio’s constructive criticism and encouraging words have always helped he overcome the challenges of the PhD research successfully. Professors Bruce Hanson and Naomi Brookes also supported me during the conceptualisation of the research, discussing the results achieved at each step, and reviewing my draft publications.”
Leeds interdisciplinary setting and multicultural environment were also a key factor to select Leeds.
She added: “Leeds interdisciplinary setting and multicultural environment were also a key factor to select Leeds. Moreover, the ranking of the University of Leeds has always been very high, in so many different measures. Also, both the University campus and the city are big, beautiful, modern and friendly, and offer a lot, without being dispersive and expensive as London is.”
A community of enrichment
Diletta also took part in various professional development opportunities which helped her to grow in confidence. This included undertaking an internship in Ansaldo Nuclear and in NNL, and collaborating with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), and OECD/Nucler Energy Agency.
“At the University of Leeds, I got involved with a number of postgraduate activities, including the ‘three-minute thesis competition,’ the ‘poster competition’ and the ‘postgraduate civil engineering competition’, the latter of which I won together with a PhD colleague, Andrea Aiello.
“Additionally, taking part in informal PhD presentation at the pub, which was organised by other PhD students, was a great opportunity to practice and improve presentation skills in a relaxed setting.”
Diletta added: “I also took advantage of the CV review service on campus and joined several societies to have a full experience of the life in Leeds. These were as diverse as tennis, swing dance, medievalists, wilderness medicine, and the postgraduate student society. I have great memories from all the activities I did with them.”