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Maria Clelia Righi

Full Professor

Department of Physics and Astronomy "Augusto Righi"

Academic discipline: FIS/03 Physics of Matter

Curriculum vitae


2004 PhD in Physics

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Thesis: “First-principles Study on SiC Homoepitaxy

1998 Laurea Degree in Physics Cum Laude

University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, Thesis: “Density Functional Theory in the Hubbard Model


  • Full Professor at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna (since August 2020)
  • Associate Professor (Mar 2019 – June 2020 at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, June 2020 - August 2020 at Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna)
  • Assistant Professor at University of Modena and Reggio Emilia (Mar 2016 - Apr 2019)
  • Senior Researcher (Dec 2014- Feb 2016) and Researcher (Sept 2012 - Nov 2014) at CNR Institute of Nanoscience

Career Breaks

  • Maternity Leave. Date of birth of the first daughter 26/11/08
  • Maternity Leave. Date of birth of the second daughter 18/04/2011


  • HORIZON-RIA STORMING "STructured unconventional reactors for CO2-fRee Methane catalytic crackING" 2022-2025, coordinator of the WP on Modeling.
  • PRACE (Partnership for advanced computing in Europe) project TRIB-CARB 10/2021-10/2022
  • ERC Consolidator grant 2019 SLIDE “Advancing Solid Interface and Lubricants by First Principles Material Design” 2020-2025.
  • Grant for the organization of the CECAM workshop “Molecular Mechanisms of Tribochemistry and Lubrication” 27-29 Jan 2020.
  • Project of Emilia Romagna Region “Education to research” , PhD scholarship granted (2018/19 – 2020/21).
  • Marie Curie Individual Fellowship “Protein adsorption on charged surfaces” PATCHES (Call H2020-MSCA-IF-2017), role of supervisor.
  • European Project “Ab initio molecular dynamics simulations of iron lubrication”, 16th Preparatory Access call, Parternship for Advance Computing in Europe (PRACE). (2018).
  • EU DEISA Extreme Computing Initiative (DECI Call5 2009) “Ab initio investigation of tribochemical reactions”.


Institutional appointments

  • Scientific Advisor for the industry TotalEnergies Sa since 2016.
  • Visiting Professor at Imperial College since September 2019 (Accademic Visitor since June 2017)
  • Member of the "Presidio Qualità di Ateneo - Terza Missione" of the University of Bologna
  • Member of the PhD board "Collegio di dottorato" of the University of Bologna
  • Member of Editorial Boards

    • Scientific Reports, Springer Nature publishing Group
    • Lubrication Science, Wiley

    Technology transfer

    • Training of industrial researchers seconded to my group: Seiji Kajita,Toyota Central R&D Labs (April 2014 – April 2016). Sophie Loehle, Total Marketing Services (Sept. 2014 – Sept. 2016).
    • Coordinator of research contracts with Total Marketing and Services, Puteaux, FR, for the study of lubricant additives (since 2012 - ongoing).
    • Coordinator of a research contracts with Toyota Central R&D Labs., Nagakute, Japan, for the development of a computational method in tribochemistry and design of friction (2014 - 2019).

    Invited Presentations

    • Invited to present at more than 40 international conferences, including Gordon Conference, MRS Spring Meeting, ACS National Meeting & Exibition, AVS International Symposium etc.


    The focus of my teaching activity is in Computational Material Science, Physics and Surface-Interfaces at all levels of studies (Bachelor, Master and PhD). Specifically:

    • Materials Modeling and Design, Master in Physics, 2021/22, 2022/23, 2023/24
    • Computational Laboratory of Material Science, Bachelor in Materials Science, 2023/24
    • Interactions and Correlations in Condensed Matter, Master in Physics, 2020/21
    • NanoMechanics, Master in Physics, 2019/20
    • Physics, Electronic Engineering, 2016/17-2019/20
    • (Nano)Tribology and materials to reduce friction, PhD school in “Physics and Nanoscience”
    • Laboratory of computational Physics, Exercises, Master in Physics, 2006/07-2007/08
    • Solid state physics, Exercises, Master in Physics, 2005/06
    • Mechanics, Exercises, Bachelor in Physics 2001/02 and 2002/03


    • 2 Researchers seconded from the industry, 10 PostDocs, 13 PhD and 19 MSc Degree Students supervised


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