The University of Milan is a research-intensive university, offering high quality teaching in a broad spectrum of fields. The University of Milan is the top Italian university in most international rankings and is the only Italian university among the 21 prestigious institutions that belong to the League of European Research Universities (LERU). The University’s interdisciplinary vocation and the connections between a wide range of fields create a highly stimulating environment for study and work in its 31 departments, 136 study programmes, 31 doctoral programmes and several vocationally-oriented courses.
The University of Milan participates to MODEXTREME via the Cassandra modelling lab of the Department of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences – Production, Land, Agroenergy. The lab is active on researches in agroecological modelling focusing on the formalization of knowledge in biophysical models and on their application for large area crop monitoring/yield forecasting and climate change studies (impact, adaptation, mitigation). The lab has a multi-year experience in software development (simulation platforms, software components implementing multi-model libraries, mobile apps).
The main research line of Roberto Confalonieri (PhD) is the analysis of biophysical processes aimed at formalizing knowledge in mathematical models. Main author of the WARM rice model and of new metrics for model evaluation, formalizing for the first time the concepts of model robustness, balance and plasticity and proposing statistical criteria for their quantification. Other interests include the design and construction of instrumentation for the determination of biophysical variables (a floating micrometeorological station, a machine for determining the stability of soil aggregates, level sensors), and the development of framework-independent, multi-approach software libraries for the simulation of biophysical processes (many of them used in BioMA). Developer of the visual jackknife, a non-parametric, assumption-free, statistical method for sample size determination. Inventor of a floating weather station (patent number 0001340669) and of a method/electronic apparatus for leaf area index estimates (patent pending) that can be implemented in smart apps. Leader of the JRC team that developed the rice yield forecasting systems currently used by the European Commission. h-index (ISI Web of Science) = 14. Workpackage leader in the EU FP7 projects E-AGRI and ERMES. Within MODEXTREME, Roberto leads Workpackage 5.
Giovanni Cappelli (PhD student) main research interests deal with the assessment of climate change impact on agriculture, with modelling of quantitative and qualitative aspects of crop productions, and with the evaluation of biophysical models. He is the main developer of the CropQuality component (used within BioMA), that implements a library of approaches relating different aspects of rice grain quality to the conditions explored during the ripening period. Within MODEXTREME, he leads Task T2.1.
Pagani Valentina (PhD student) is specialized in the development of crop monitoring and yield forecasting systems based on crop models. She is the main author of systems for rice yield forecasts in Senegal and Sierra Leone, accounting for both biotic (fungal pathogens) and abiotic factors (heat-induced sterility) affecting rice productions. Within the EU-FP7 E-AGRI project, she developed prototypes of forecasting systems based on the assimilation of remote sensing information in crop models. Within MODEXTREME, she will contribute to the evaluation of the improved modelling solutions for short-term yield forecast.
Livia Paleari (PhD student) works on model-based studies aimed at identifying ideotypes improved for their resistance/tolerance to diseases (fungal pathogens) and extreme environmental conditions (for temperature, drought and salinity). In this context, she developed integrated approaches to support breeding programs based on the in silico introgression of traits from traditional resistant/tolerant varieties in modern genotypes. Within MODEXTREME, she will contribute to the development of impact models for extreme events.