Dr Franco Zunino

Project Leader

Franco Zunino is a scientist and Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) fellow at the Physical Chemistry of Building Materials (PCBM) group since 2022. He obtained his PhD in Materials Science and Engineering from the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in 2020, within the group of Prof. Karen Scrivener. His doctoral thesis was recognized in 2021 with the Nanocem 2020 prize, awarded to the best thesis in the field of cement and concrete science worldwide by a panel of international experts. During the same year, one of his papers was distinguished with the Outstanding Paper 2020 award by the board of editors of the journal Materials and Structures. In 2022, he received the Wason Medal, awarded by the American Concrete Institute (ACI) to the most meritorious paper published in 2021 in their journals. In 2023, he was recognised by RILEM with the Colonnetti Medal for his outstanding contributions to the fields of construction materials and structures.

His research revolves around the development of novel, environmental friendly cementitious materials with a fundamental scientific approach. Among his interests are advanced, time-​resolved characterization methods of cement hydration, interaction of surfaces with polymers in cement paste, microstructural analysis through electron microscopy and optimization of the production process of clinker and supplementary cementitious materials. In 2022, he received an Ambizione fellowship by the SNSF to develop a new generation of low-​carbon, high-​performance concrete formulations (namely ultra-​green concrete). Within this fellowship, he joined the PCBM group to develop and formulate tailor-​made admixtures for these materials (doctoral project of Mr. Paolo Camesasca).

Mr Paolo Camesasca

PhD student

Paolo Camesasca is a PhD student at Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH Zürich) in the Physical Chemistry of Building Materials group of Professor Robert J.Flatt. He completed his Bachelor and Master degrees in chemical engineering at Politecnico di Milano with a master thesis on the continuous biosynthesis of therapeutic oligonucleotides. Since January 2023 he is working on the development of tailor-made chemical admixtures for ultra-green concrete under the supervision of Dr. Franco Zunino. His work is part of Dr. Zunino's Ambizione fellowship granted by the SNSF to develop a new generation of low-carbon, high-performance concrete formulations.


Prof. Dr Robert J. Flatt

Technical advisor / PCBM Chair     

Robert J. Flatt became Professor of Physical Chemistry of Building Materials at Institute of Building Materials, ETH Zürich in September 2010. Before joining ETH, Robert was Principal Scientist Head of Inorganic Materials in Corporate Research at Sika Technology AG. This is the R&D branch of Sika AG, a Swiss based company internationally active in the areas of materials used for sealing, bonding, damping, reinforcing, and protecting load-​bearing structures in construction and industry.

He studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), where he obtained his masters in Chemical Engineering (1994) and a PhD from the Materials Science Department (1999). In 1995 he worked in the Stone Conservation Laboratory (EPFL) on a project dealing with the in-situ conservation of the Roman mosaics near the town of Orbe in Switzerland.

Industrial connection and International collaboration

The UGC project team interacts continuously with industrial partners, both from the cement and concrete industry (Holcim) as also with the chemical admixture industry (SIKA).

In addition, several national and international collaborations are currently ongoing in topics related to UGC, and the team is always open to explore new avenues of exchange and extension of our reach.