The University Council – also referred to as USI Council – is one of USI’s central bodies together with the Rectorate and the Academic Senate. According to the Law that regulates the Università della Svizzera italiana, the University Council represents USI’s highest authority and closely monitors its activities. The Council meets four-five times a year for its ordinary sessions, usually in February, April-May, June-July, September-October (supplementary session) and December. Additional (extraordinary) sessions can also be held.
The USI Council is formed by 5 to 11 members appointed, every 4 years, by the Council of State of the Canton Ticino, and by 2 members appointed by the Academic Senate, with a two-year renewable mandate. The Rector of USI takes part in the sessions and the Faculty Deans are invited to attend on matters concerning their activities. The Pro-Rectors of USI may also attend the meetings of the Council, at the request of the President or the Rector, and depending on the discussions. The Secretary General of USI and the Head of the Culture and University Studies Division at the Department of Education, Culture and Sport (DECS) take part in the Council meetings without voting rights.
The functions of the University Council are stated in the Statute of the Università della Svizzera italiana.
Current members (in alphabetical order):
Former Rector of the University of Trento
Davide Bassi (1948) is an Experimental Physics Professor at the University of Trento where he was also Rector from 2004 to 2013. After earning his PhD in Physics at the University of Genova, in 1975 he founded the Molecular Beams Laboratory of the University of Trento. In his research, he has collaborated with several European centres and universities, such as the Leopold Franzens Universität of Innsbruck, the Université Paris Nord and the University of Barcelona. He has been member of USI Council since December 2012.
State Councilor, Canton Ticino
Manuele Bertoli (1961) has been State Councilor of Canton Ticino since 2011 and Head of the Ticino's Department of education, culture and sports (DECS). After obtaining his licence for elementary school teacher, he also earned a law degree at the University of Geneva in 1988. He was Secretary of the Associazione Inquilini della Svizzera italiana (Association of tenants of the Italian speaking region of Switzerland), Director of Unitas – Association of blind and visually impaired of the Italian speaking region of Switzerland, board member of Banca Stato, member of the Town Council of Balerna, and member of the Ticino’s Parliament. He has been a member of the University Council since April 2011.
Audit expert and lead auditor licensed, Member of the Committee for the Swiss Italian Section of EXPERTsuisse
Glenda Braendli (1980) holds a degree in economics obtained at USI in 2003. In 2006 she earned her federal diploma as a certified accountant in Zurich, continuing her professional career in banking auditing at PricewaterhouseCoopers SA (PwC). As an audit expert and lead auditor licensed by the Audit Oversight Authority, she has carried out numerous consulting and audit mandates in Ticino and Switzerland, directed important strategic projects at Swiss and international level and was the partner in charge of PwC's Lugano office until June 2020. She is, among other mandates, a member of the Committee for the Swiss Italian Section of EXPERTsuisse and a member of the Ticino Chapter of the Swiss American Chamber of Commerce, the Risk Management Advisory Board for the Villa Negroni Study Centre in Vezia and the Advisory Board of the Executive Master in Business Administration (EMBA) offered by USI.
Monica Duca Widmer
President of the University Council
Monica Duca Widmer (1959) is a chemical engineer (ETH Zurich graduate in 1984, PhD in Chemistry at Università degli Studi Milano, 1987), founder, and head of EcoRisana SA. She was appointed President of the USI Council in December 2016, and is currently President of Migros Ticino (since 2011), and Appointed President of the future holding company of RUAG. Previously she was Member of Parliament of the Canton Ticino (1995-2011, President 2007/2008), member of the Board of the Swiss Federal Institutes of Technology (1998-2008), and member of the Federal Commission for NBC Protection ComNBC (1995-2007). She was also member of the Federal Communications Commission ComCom (2005-2017, Vice-president 2011-2017), of the Federal Energy Research Commission CORE (2009-2019), of the Swiss Federal Nuclear Safety Inspectorate ENSI (2016-2019, Vice-president 2018-2019), of the Federal Rüstungskommission (armaments commission, 2008-2019, Vice-president 2015-2019), of the Executive committee at the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences SATW (2008-2019, Vice-president 2013 -2019), of the Council of the University of Lucerne (2012-2017), of the Council of the University of Applied Sciences of Southern Switzerland (2004-2015), and President of the steering Board of the Swiss National Supercomputing Centre CSCS (2004-2007).
President of the Fondazione per le Facoltà di Lugano dell’USI
Alfredo Gysi (1948) earned his PhD in Mathematics at the Università degli Studi, Milan. He was President of the General Management (1994-2011) and President of the Board of Directors (2012-2015) of former BSI (now EFG International Group). From 2011 to 2016, he was member of the Council of the Swiss National Bank (SNB). He is President of the Fondazione per le Facoltà di Lugano dell’Università della Svizzera italiana (Board of Trustees for the Faculties of Lugano of USI).
Former Rector of the University of Basel and former President of the Rectors' Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions (CRUS, now Chamber of Universities of swissuniversities)
Antonio Loprieno (1955) is Professor of Egyptology and History of the Institutions at the University of Basel, where he had been Rector from 2006 to 2015. He studied at the University of Turin where he earned his PhD in 1977. Before joining the University of Basel in 2000, he was Associate Professor at the University of Perugia (1984-1989) and at the University of California Los Angeles – UCLA (1989-2000), where he led the Department of Near Eastern Languages and Cultures. He was also guest lecturer of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the École Pratique des Hautes Etudes of Paris and at the University of Heidelberg. In 2006, he was awarded the Honoris Causa by the University of Strasbourg. He chaired the Rectors’ Conference of Swiss Higher Education Institutions (CRUS, now Chamber of Universities of swissuniversities) from 2008 to 2015. Among other responsibilities, he is President of the Swiss Study Foundation and member of the Council of the University of Zurich.
Former Vice-president of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL) and Vice-President of USI Council
Giorgio Margaritondo (1946) is Full Professor of Applied Physics and Director of Continuing Education at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne (EPFL), where he had been Director of the Department of Physics from 2000 to 2001, Associate Dean of the School of Basic Sciences from 2001 to 2004 and Vice-president of Academic Affairs from 2004 to 2010. After graduating in Physics at the University of Rome in 1969, he worked as researcher at the National Research Council in Rome (1969-1978) and at Bell Laboratories in the United States (1975-1977). Before joining EPFL in 1990 he was Professor at the University of Wisconsin Madison (1978-1990). To name a few, he is member of the American Physical Society, the American Vacuum Society, the Swiss Physical Society (SPS) and of the Institute of Physics (IOP, London). He chairs the initiative of the European Commission “Integrating activity on synchrotron and free electron laser science”.
President of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI)
Alberto Petruzzella (1967) graduated in Law from the University of Lausanne. In 2005, he earned a PSD Diploma (Programme Supérieur pour Dirigeants) at the Institut européen d'administration des affaires (INSEAD). He worked for Credit Suisse from 1998 to 2016, and was in charge of the Ticino region. To name a few, he is President of the Council of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), President of the Association of Ticino's Bankers (ABT) and President of the Founding Committee of the Centre for Banking Studies Villa Negroni in Vezia. He has been member of USI Council since December 2016.
Member appointed by the Academic Senate of USI
Silvia Santini is Associate Professor at the Faculty of Informatics of USI. Before joining USI in September 2016, Silvia held an Associate Professor position at TU Dresden (Germany), where she led the Embedded Systems Lab. Previously she was an Assistant Professor at TU Darmstadt (Germany), where she led the Wireless Sensor Networks Lab. Silvia Santini graduated in Telecommunication Engineering (with honors) from the Sapienza University of Rome and completed her PhD at ETH Zurich (Switzerland), where she was also postdoctoral researcher in Prof. Friedemann Mattern's Distributed Systems Group at the Department of Computer Science, with a Visiting Scholar period at Stanford University. Silvia Santini's research focus is on wireless sensor and actuator networks, mobile sensing, cyber-physical systems and stretches to the domains of ubiquitous computing and the internet of things. She has been member of the University Council since May 2020 as member appointed by USI Academic Senate.
Maria Chiara Tallacchini
Full Professor at Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza
Maria Chiara Tallacchini is Full Professor of Legal Philosophy at the Faculty of Economics and Law of Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Piacenza. She also teaches Science, Law, and Democracy at the International School for Advanced Studies - SISSA, Trieste). From 2000 to 2001 she worked as post-doctoral fellow on Science Policy at the Kennedy School of Government (Harvard University) through a grant by the National Science Foundation. From 2013 to 2015 she served as Senior Scientist at the Joint Research Centre (JRC – Ispra) of the European Commission (Unit for the Protection and Security of the Citizen) on themes such as Ethics, and Information and Communication Technology (ICT). She has been a consultant for the WHO Regional Office of Rome on Environment and Health, for the National Academy of Science and Engineering (USA) in the field of Synthetic Biology, for the Italian Commission of Bioethics in the field of the precautionary principle and the patentability of biotechnological inventions. She has also served, and continues to serve as member of national ethics and scientific committees (WWF, Ethics Committee for Research at Università degli studi di Milano, Scientific Committee Bioteca IRST) and international (International Ethics Committee on Xenotransplantation, Institut d’Etudes Avancées de Paris). In 2019 she has been appointed Academician of the Georgophiles. She collaborated with the European Commission to support projects evaluation (2006) and as an expert in writing reports on Science and Law (2007). She also chaired the External Advisory Group on Science in Society within FP7 (2007-2009). Her main interests concern Regulatory Science and the relationship between science and democracy in the field of Life Sciences and Digital Technologies.
Full Professor and Vice-Rector for Doctoral Studies, ETH Zurich
Antonio Togni is Full Professor of Organometallic Chemistry at ETH Zurich, where he is Vice-Rector for Doctoral Studies. Prof. Togni was born on January 14, 1956, in Roveredo (GR). He studied chemistry at ETH Zurich where he earned his doctorate 1983 under Professor L. M. Venanzi with a dissertation on dinuclear hydrido complexes. He then transferred to the California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, for a period of postdoctoral research under Professor J.E. Bercaw. In 1985 he joined the staff of the Central Research Laboratories of Ciba-Geigy, where he worked on asymmetric catalysis. He returned to ETH in 1992 as an Assistant Professor, becoming Full Professor in 1999. His research interests focus on asymmetric homogeneous catalysis and organofluorine chemistry. He has been member of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation from 2012 to 2016. He has been a member of the University Council since February 2019.
Photograph ETH Zürich / Giulia Marthaler
Filippo Carlo Wezel
Member appointed by the Academic Senate of USI
Filippo Carlo Wezel is Professor of Organization and Management at the Faculty of Economics of USI. He is currently Director of the Institute of Management and Organization at USI, permanent Visiting Professor at emlyon (France), and Research Fellow of the Judge Business School of the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom). Filippo is also a Senior Editor at Organization Science and sits in the editorial review board of Organisation Studies, Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal, and Strategic Organization. With a PhD in Management from the Alma Mater Studiorum - University of Bologna, he previously held appointments at the University of Groningen (post-doc) and at Tilburg University (Assistant and, then, Associate Professor). He acquired further academic experience as Visiting Researcher / Professor at the Wharton Business School of the University of Pennsylvania (United States), University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), Columbia University (United States), Duke University (United States) and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology (HKUST, Hong Kong, China). His teaching interests include organizational theory and organizational behavior, which he has taught at the undergraduate, Master, PhD and executive levels. His research focuses on organizational identity, careers and managerial mobility, and entrepreneurship.
People taking part in the University Council without voting rights (in alphabetical order):
- Raffaella Castagnola Rossini
Head, Culture and University Studies Division - DECS;
- Boas Erez
- Giovanni Zavaritt
Secretary General, USI
People who can take part in the University Council sessions without voting rights (in alphabetical order):
- Lorenzo Cantoni
Pro-Rector for Education and Students' Experience, USI
- Patrick Gagliardini
Pro-Rector for Research, USI
- Daniela Mondini
Pro-Rector for Research in the Humanities and Equal Opportunities, USI