Photo of Dr Raffaele Vinai

Dr Raffaele Vinai

Lecturer in Civil Engineering


Telephone: 01392 723627

Extension: (Streatham) 3627

Raffaele graduated from the Turin Institute for Technology (Politecnico di Torino – Italy) in 2002 (MSc in Environmental and Land Engineering) and obtained a PhD in Geo-Environmental Engineering in 2006 from the same institution, spending 6 months as Academic visitor at the University of Oxford (UK). After a professional experience as project coordinator and area manager in East Africa with a Non-Governmental Organization (2006 – 2009), he returned to Academia as lecturer at the International Institute for Water and Environmental Engineering in Burkina Faso (2010 – 2011), as Head of the Education and Research Unit of Infrastructures and Material Science and Coordinator of Eco-Building Material Laboratory. After a collaboration with the Turin Institute for Technology (Politecnico di Torino – Italy) in 2012 – 2013, he joined the Queen’s University of Belfast (2013 to 2017) as Research Fellow, working on several projects focussed on the development of sustainable concrete made with recycled waste materials, geopolymer concrete, alkali activated binders and recycled aggregates. He joined the University of Exeter in January 2018. He is an author or co-author of more than 50 technical publications. His research interests include sustainable construction materials, waste recycling, geo-materials.


Past research projects:

2013 – 2017:    

  • Co-Investigator in “RE4 -  REuse and REcycling of CDW materials and structures in energy efficient pREfabricated elements for building REfurbishment and construction” project, funded from the European Union H2020 programme, 13 partners consisting on 5 RTD performers and 8 Large and Small-Medium Sized Enterprises from 8 different countries.
  • Research Fellow in RESCIND “Recovery and use of cement kiln dust as the alkali activator for geopolymeric (cementless) concrete building blocks” project, funded by Innovate UK/EPSRC, 3 industrial partners.
  • Academic support in “Innovative low carbon geopolymer concrete using 100% recycled material”, Knowledge Transfer Partnership, (KTP), Virtus Ltd.
  • Research Fellow in SUS-CON “Sustainable, Innovative and Energy-Efficient Concrete, based on the Integration of All-Waste Materials” project, funded from the European Union Seventh Framework, 14 partners consisting on 5 RTD performers and 9 Large and Small-Medium Sized Enterprises from 10 different countries.

2012 – 2013:

  • PDRA in a consultancy on “Turin Metro line 1 extension: geotechnical characterisation of soil for mechanised excavation”.
  • PDRA in a consultancy for Italcementi CGT – CCB on “Disposal of clay and silty sand materials within the basin of Gaurain: technical, environmental, geotechnical and design issues”.
  • PDRA in a research contract with Italcementi CGT – CCB: “Study on water management for quarry activities on Gaurain and Barry sites”.
  • PDRA in a research contract with Spea Ingegneria Europea building contractor on “Geotechnical characterisation, treatment and stabilisation of spoil materials from Sparvo tunnel excavation”.

2010 – 2011:   

  • Principal Investigator on a research contract with Niger Coal Society (Société Nigérienne de Charbon – SONICHAR) on Coal Combustion Residues valorisation for unfired brick production.
  • Team member in PSRDO-CER (Projet Stratégie de Reduction des Déchets de Ouagadougou) project for waste management and valorisation in Ouagadougou (Burkina Faso), funded by European Commission.
  • Principal Investigator on a project co-financed by UEMOA (The West African Economic and Monetary Union) under the research action PAES: “Technical characterisation of Laterite Dressed Stones”.
  • Working group member for the SPOD Project (Sustainable Building Policies in Developing Countries) funded by UNEP (United Nation Environment Programme).

2002 – 2006:

  • Research Assistant in the project “Mechanised Tunnelling”, funded by Italian Ministry of Research and University.
  • Research Assistant in a consultancy for Mapei S.p.A. on “Soil conditioning investigation for metro tunnel in Brescia and for railway tunnel in Castellanza”.


Raffaele is interested in supervising PhD students with topics in alternative building materials, waste recycling and circular economy for building sector.