Three new Pro-Rectors appointed


Institutional Communication Service

14 December 2020

Professor Sonja Hildebrand has been appointed Pro-Rector for Research in the Humanities and Equal Opportunities, Professor Cesare Alippi Pro-Rector for Internationalisation, and Professor Luca Gambardella Pro-Rector for Innovation and Corporate Relations. The appointments represent a further step forward in the process of strengthening and expanding USI's governance structure.

Professor Sonja Hildebrand, Vice Dean for Research at the Academy of Architecture and affiliate to the Institute of History and Theory of Art and Architecture (ISA), will succeed Professor Daniela Mondini who leaves the post of Pro-Rector for Research in the Humanities and Equal Opportunities after four years of dedicated service. Two new Pro-Rector posts have also been created: one for international relations and one for corporate relations and innovation, which are considered crucial sectors to the development of USI. The new positions will be filled by Cesare Alippi and Luca Maria Gambardella, both Full Professors at the Faculty of Informatics. The prominence of the three new Pro-Rectors emerges from their respective CVs in the quick links and below.

The Rectorate is one of USI central bodies, together with the University Council and the Academic Senate. It ensures the overall smooth functioning of the University and elaborates planning and development acts. USI Rectorate includes the Rector, the Secretary-General, the Administrative Director, the Adjunct Administrative Director, and the Pro-Rectors. Its functions are defined in the Statute of Università della Svizzera italiana (in Italian).



Sonja Hildebrand is full professor for the History of modern and contemporary architecture at the Academy of Architecture and member of the Board of the Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture of USI. She obtained her PhD in art history at TU München in 1997 where she habilitated in 2008. Before joining USI in 2011 she held research and teaching positions at TU München, Universität Bamberg, Universität Zürich and ETH Zürich. She is Vice Dean for Research at the Academy of Architecture and served her faculty and USI in various functions, amongst others as a co-president of the Academy Doctoral board, member of the Academy Teaching commission and USI Research commission. Her research focuses on the history of architectural culture and theory of the 19th and 20th centuries. She was responsible for various research projects at TU München, ETH Zürich and USI funded by the SNSF and other Swiss and German research agencies. Currently, she leads an SNSF project on Gottfried Semper’s main theoretical work „Der Stil“ (with Philip Ursprung, ETH Zürich). She published widely on the history of modern architecture and urbanism, architectural theory and education. Her publications include two monographs and ten edited volumes.

Cesare Alippi is Full Professor at USI Faculty of Informatics and at Politecnico di Milano (Italy), visiting professor at the Guandong University of Technology, Guangzhou (China) and Advisory Professor at the Northwestern Polytechnic in Xi'An (China). He has been Visiting Researcher/Professor at UCL (UK), MIT (USA), ESPCI (France), CASIA (China), A*STAR (Singapore) and UKobe (Japan). Alippi is an IEEE Fellow, Member of the Administrative Committee of the IEEE Computational Intelligence Society (CIS), Board of Governors of the International Neural Network Society. He has served the IEEE CIS in various roles, including Vice-President for education and coordinating multiple committees, including the Awards committee. Alippi has received several international accolades including the International Neural Networks Society Gabor award and several best paper awards. Current research activity addresses adaptation and learning in non-stationary environments, graph-basd learning and Intelligence for embedded, cyber-physical systems and IoT. He holds eight patents, has published a monograph book (also translated in Chinese), curator of seven edited books and is (co-) author of about 200 scientific papers in international journals and conference proceedings.

Luca Maria Gambardella holds a degree in Informatics and a PhD in Engineering sciences and technology, developing a strong interest in artificial intelligence. In Lugano, he is Full Professor at the USI Faculty of Informatics and IDSIA ( Dalle Molle Institute for Artificial Intelligence USI-SUPSI), an institute of 90 people that he directed for 25 years until 2020. He is the Director of USI Master in Artificial Intelligence. Gambardella has published more than 300 publications (google-scholar, h-index 72, > 58000 citations) and is studying machine learning and developing algorithms inspired by the behaviour of ants applied to logistic problems. He has successfully negotiated, conducted and implemented several artificial intelligence and machine learning projects funded by Swiss and international research agencies and companies. He is co-founder of Artificialy SA, a company based in Lugano, where he holds the position of Chief Technology Officer. He writes novels and creates digital art installations.