Sabina Iole Giuseppina Failla

Associate Professor of Agricultural machinery and mechanization [AGRI-04/B]

In the academic year 1989/90, she graduated cum laude from the Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Catania with a degree in Agricultural Science, having chosen the Technical – Economic specialization. 
In February 1995 she was awarded an annual grant for research training on the theme “Experimental Enquiry into Erosion Assessment and Control” in the framework of the Sicilian multi funded Operative Program (Programma Operativo Plurifondo Sicilia [P.O.P.]) 90/93 and participated in the research activities of the Institute of Agricultural Mechanics.In October 1996, she won a competition as researcher in the Agricultural Mechanics G05B disciplinary group (currently Scientific sector AGR/09 - Meccanica Agraria), taking up her post at the Institute of Agricultural Mechanics of the University of Catania on 27th December 1996. With D.R 6863/R of 06/03/2000 she became a permanent researcher at the University of Catania. In 2018 she obtain the qualification as associate professor. In the year 2021 she became Associate Professor in Agricultural mechanics.

Member of the College of the University of Catania's PhD course in:
- "Agricultural Engineering" from 2004 to 2007; 
- "International Doctorate in Agricultural Engineering" from 2008 to 2010.
- "Agricultural Engineering" since 2012.
Member of the Department Board as a research representative of the Department in the years 2011 and 2012.
Component of the Orientation Committee of the former Faculty of Agriculture in the academic years 2010-2012.
Component of the Commission for Cultural Activities of the former Faculty of Agriculture of the University of Catania from 2009 to 2012.
Component of the Permanent Laboratory for Sustainability LABOST since 2022.
He has been a member of numerous Selection Boards for the awarding of scholarships and research grants, research fellowships, doctoral fellowships at his home university and at other universities, and competitions for permanent researchers at other universities.

Teaching activity

Since the 1997-1998 academic year, he has been teaching the following matters:

- PHYSICS for the University Diploma in “Plant production: plant defense” based in Catania in 1997-98 and for the University Diploma in “Plant production: greenhouse flower growing” based in Giarre (CT) in 1998-99 academic year.

- AGRICULTURAL MECHANISATION for the University Diploma in “Plant production: greenhouse flower growing” based in Giarre (CT) in 1999-2000 academic year and for the University Diploma in “Plant production: plant defense” based in Catania in 2000-2001 academic year.

- AGRICULTURAL MECHANICS for the degree course in “Farm and agri-food industry management and the promotion of Mediterranean products” based in Nicosia (EN) in 2002-2003 academic year.

- PRINCIPLES OF MACHINES AND INSTALLATIONS OF AGRI-FOOD INDUSTRY for the degree course in “Food Science and Technology”, based in Catania, in 2001-2002, 2002-2003 and 2003-2004 academic years.

- AGRICULTURAL MECHANISATION for the degree course in “Agricultural Science and Technology” based in Catania in 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2011-2012 academic years.

- FARM MECHANISATION for the INTERNATIONAL MASTER “Erasmus Mundus” in “Sustainable Development in Agriculture” (Agris Mundus) based in Catania in 2006-2007, 2007-2008, 2008-2009, 2009-2010, 2011-2012 academic years.

- MACHINES AND PLANTS (I.C. AGRICULTURAL ENGINEERING FOR BIOTECHNOLOGIES) for the degree course in "Agricultural Biotechnology", based in Catania, in 2012-2013 and 2013-2014 academic years.

- TECHNOLOGIES FOR THE TERRITORY AND SUSTAINABLE ENERGY for the degree course in "Land and Landscape Planning and Protection" from 2014-2015 to 2020-2021 academic years.

- MACHINERY FOR THE MANAGEMENT OF GREENLAND AREAS, for the degree course in "Land and Landscape Planning and Protection"  a.y. 2021-2022.

-  AGRICULTURAL MECHANIZATION AND WORK ORGANIZATION, for the Master degree  in "Agricultural Science and Technology" a.y. 2021-2022.

- TECHNOLOGIES FOR LANDSCAPE AND ENVIRONMENTAL SUSTAINABILITY for the degree course in "Land and Landscape Planning and Protection" from a.y. 2022-2023.

- ERGONOMICS SAFETY AND WORK ORGANIZATION for the degree course in "Science and Technology for the Food Service and Distribution of Mediterranean Foods" from a.y. 2022-2023.

Tutor for PhD students and research fellows. Supervisor of 18 Master degree theses and 24 final dissertation for the bachelor's degree.

From March 2018 to February 2023, he is Head of the Quality Assurance Management Group of the degree course of Study in "Land and Landscape Planning and Protection" at the Department of Agriculture, Food and Environment, University of Catania, Italy. 

Supervisor of Visiting student Dr. Arman Jamali, PhD student at Kurdistan University, Iran, from November 2021 to March 2022.

Research activities

She has taken part in numerous research projects (MIUR, MiPAF e POP) activated at the Department, as a member of or responsible for, among which:

- Scientific member for the Research Unit of the two-years (1999-2001) MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education and University) project “Control of sprayers for Sicilian vineyard protection”.

- Scientific Responsible for the Research Unit for the two-year PRIN 2004-2006 project financed by MIUR (Italian Ministry of Education and University): “Mechanical distribution of arthropods for biological control in protected crops”. In particular, in the context of the project a “Prototype for natural enemies distribution” has been realised. She is holder of a national (n. 0001378947) and international (USA) (n. US 8,016,169 B2) patents for this machine. The national patent was awarded in the PROVARE PON 2000-2006 project of the University of Catania.

- Scientific member and soon after National Coordinator of the two-year PRIN 2007-2009 project financed by MIUR (the Italian Ministry of Education and University): “Mechanization of the plant protection from phytophages in organic farming”.

- Scientific member and soon after (2010) Responsible of the five-year (2005-2010) research activities concerned “Conservation tillage by means of minimum tillage and sod seeding” of the S.I.Cer.Me project financed by MIPAAF (the Italian Ministry of Agricultural, Food and Forestry Policy).

- Scientific Responsible for WP1 "Sviluppo di tecniche e di applicazioni anche informatiche per l’innovazione nel settore della meccanizzazione della difesa fitosanitaria" of the Departmental Research Project  "Innovazioni attraverso Applicazioni ICT nel Settore delle Costruzioni Rurali, della Pianificazione del Territorio Agro-Forestale e della Meccanizzazione della Difesa Fitosanitaria" coordinated by Prof. Simona Porto.

- Scientific Responsible for WP2  "Valutazione delle prestazioni di ventilatori per macchine irroratrici e loro automazione" of the Inter-dipartimental Research Project - PIAno di inCEntivi per la RIcerca di Ateneo (2020/2022) - dal titolo “Safe and Smart Farming with Artificial Intelligence and Robotics (S2-Fair)”Scientific Responsible Prof. Concetto Spampinato of DIEEI University of Catania.

- Scientific Responsible for the PRIN 2020 Research Unit (prot. no. 2020SCNF4L_005) "DATA-BUS - Digital Agriculture Technology to Achieve data to Build User-friendly Sustainability indicators", coordinated by Prof. Michele Mattetti of Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna.

- Scientific Responsible for the PRIN 2022 PNRR Research Unit "ROVERCROP" coordinated by Prof. Giuseppe Todde of the University of Sassari.

Reviewer of national and international research projects. Topical Advisory Panel Members of the international journal Sustainability and referee of the journals: Scientific Reports (SpringerNature), Agronomy Research, Carbon Management (Taylor & Francis Online), Sustainability (MDPI), Horticulturae (MDPI), Plants (MDPI), Bulletin of Insectology (Department of Agricultural and Food Sciences - Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna), Journal of Agricultural Engineering (JAE).

She is co-author of 112 scientific articles published in international and national scientific journals or in international and national conference proceedings, and author of 7 edited Books. 


Last edit: 05/10/2024

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Academic Year 2021/2022

Academic Year 2020/2021

Academic Year 2019/2020

Academic Year 2018/2019

Academic Year 2017/2018

Academic Year 2016/2017

Academic Year 2015/2016

She has dealt with the following topics, in particular:

  • Study of plant protection treatment: in citrus groves,  in vineyards, in greenhouses,; artificial target characterisation; study of the functional relations between the dimensional characteristics of the sprays, the surface coverage and the unit deposit through simulation of water-sensitive paper and measurements in the laboratory using a specially designed test bench; characterization of the flow rate of sprayer fans.
  • Functional assessment of mechanical distribution of natural arthropods in greenhouse and in open field by means of patented prototypes.
  • Soil Conservation techniques: effects on soil erosion by rain simulator and natural rainfall; machines and crop practices of mechanical weeding.
  • Mechanisation of vegetable greenhouse cultivation: work organisation of the mechanical seeding and effects of plant protection treatments on optimal distribution and ground losses.
  • Renewable energy production by means of the use of agro-food waste and oilseed crops: technical and environmental assessment.
  • Mechanisation of donkey breeding: work organisation, energy consumptions and ergonomic aspects.