Tristano Sainati

Tristano Sainati


Dr Tristano Sainati is lecturer in project management. Tristano is expert of financing and contracting in infrastructures, in the field of energy, nuclear and sanitation. Prior to his academic appointment, Tristano participated in three research fellowships: CACTUS, FARB and InnovANCE.

CACTUS (ClimAte, CosTs and Urban Sanitation) is aiming to develop the international benchmark for costing, carbon emission and welfare in urban sanitation infrastructure. CACTUS compares alternative systems and technologies along the whole sanitation value chain; i.e. from the collection of human faces up to their treatment and safe disposal. Tristano is still part of the CACTUS team that is led by Professor Barbara Evans at the University of Leeds. CACTUS is funded by the Bill and Melinda and Gates Foundations.

FARB concerned the modularisation of large O&G onshore facilities (2013). Tristano represented the Politecnico di Milano in a mixed research team involving construction managers, marine surveyors, experts in logistics and design engineers. The project included three institutions: the Politecnico di Milano, Associazione Nazionale Impiantistica Industriale (ANIMP) and its members, and the European Construction Institute (ECI).

InnovANCE developed the development of the National BIM (Building Information Modeling) Server for the Italian construction industry (2012). InnovANCE was large research and IT project funded by the ministry of economic development in Italy.


  • Study Abroad Coordinator - School of Civil Engineering

Research interests

Governance of infrastructure projects: governance frames the institutional structures, and the decision-making processes, for infrastructure projects. Governance looks at the institutions, transactions, norms, regulations, policies, and cultural aspects, which enable to steer infrastructure projects.

Project Contracting: effective strategies to transfer risks and responsibilities to those contracting parties that are in a better position to handle them. Project contracting looks at enforceable transactions favouring collaboration between contracting parties, minimising the prospects of litigation between parties. Project contracting focuses on sustainable deals for all parties involved.

Project Finance: negotiation and due diligence of project finance transactions, aiming to attract private investors in infrastructure projects. Project Finance looks at financial, contractual and accounting aspects enabling sponsors to finance projects off-balance sheet, in order to benefit from a series of advantage, including higher financial leverage with limited impact of their risk metric, increased borrowing capacity, and tax advantages.

Costing of Sanitation infrastructure:  sanitation infrastructure comprises of multiple technologies that are operated by different actors along the so-called Sanitation Value Chain. The SVC consider all technological processes aiming to safely manage the human excreta, from the point of collection to the final disposal.  Sanitation infrastructures differ extensively depending on the context considered. Tristano is concerned to estimate and generalise the cost of different sanitation services along the SVC.

Licensing Nuclear Power Plants (NPPs): one of the most critical phases affecting the development of NPPs is licensing, which is performed by independent regulatory authorities. The main purposes of licensing include ensuring the safety of NPPs and keeping nuclear activities under the regulatory control of public authorities. In addressing these purposes, licensing focuses on three main aspects: the design of the NPP, the site allocated for the development of the NPP, and the organisation operating the NPP.

Illegal and illicit behaviours in infrastructure projects: Infrastructure project can involve illicit and illegal behaviours, which are perpetrated by one, or more, projects stakeholder. Examples of such behaviours include corruption, conflict of interest and money laundering. Infrastructure projects can favour these behaviours for different reasons, including:

  • Infrastructure transaction involve large sums of money
  • Budgeting uncertainties: infrastructure projects are characterised by vast uncertainties
  • Limited benchmarks: infrastructure projects are almost unique transactions, which make more difficult to set performance standards.
  • Infrastructure projects involve complicated transactions based on sophisticated legal and financial instruments
  • Provisional nature of project transactions, activities, organisations and supply-chains

Tristano’s research concerns the mechanisms underlying the illegal and illicit behaviours, and on the legal, regulatory and organisational remedies inhibiting such behaviours.

<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • Doctor in Philosophy - PhD - University of Leeds
  • Master In Science Degree (MSc) - Major Projects Management & Finance - Politecnico di Milano
  • Bachelor Degree (Honours) – BEng (Hons) - Industrial Engineering - Politecnico di Milano
  • University Diploma - International School of Nuclear Law - University of Montpellier, NEA/OECD

Professional memberships

  • Associate Fellow- Association for Project Management (APM)
  • Associate Fellow - Higher Education Academy (HEA)

Student education

Tristano is involved in multiple teaching modules for the following MSc programmes, at the school of Civil Engineering: Engineering Project Management, International Construction Management and Engineering.

Research groups and institutes

  • Water, Public Health and Environmental Engineering

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>We welcome enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>