University Council

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:

Monica Duca Widmer

President of the University Council

Monica Duca Widmer (1959) is a chemical engineer (ETH Zurich graduate in 1984, dottore in chimica at Università degli Studi Milano, in 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 from 2023 member of the Board of Directors of Schweizer Salinen and of RUAG MRO Holding AG. 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).


Davide Bassi

Vice-president of the University Council

Davide Bassi (1948) has been a Professor of Experimental Physics at the University of Trento, where he served as Rector from 2004 to 2013 (the year he retired). His research activity has covered several areas of atomic, molecular and surface physics. He has collaborated with several centres and universities in Europe, including the Leopold Franzens Universität of Innsbruck, the Université Paris Nord and the University of Barcelona. In 2006 he was awarded the Erwin Schrödinger Gold Medal, an award presented to scientists who have distinguished themselves in the field of physicochemistry with emphasis on elementary-atom interaction and molecules. He has coordinated numerous European research projects and initiatives for the promotion of spin-offs and other collaborative projects between universities and companies. He is currently advisor to the Italian Institute of Technology (IIT) and the Pezcoller Foundation. He has been a member of the USI Council since December 2012.


Marina Carobbio Guscetti

State Councilor, Canton Ticino

Marina Carobbio Guscetti has been serving as State Councillor of the Republic and Canton of Ticino since 2023 and is head of the Department of Education, Culture and Sport (DECS). She graduated in medicine from the University of Basel in 1991 and worked as a family physician. She was a deputy in the Ticino Grand Council from 1991 to 2007 and served as a member of the National Council from 2007 to 2019. During her time, she was a part of the Finance Commission, the Social Security and Health Commission, and the Finance Delegation. In 2018 and 2019, she was elected President of the National Council and Federal Assembly. Also, in 2019, she became the first woman from Ticino and the first Ticino member of the Socialist Party to be elected to the Council of States. In the Council of States, she was a member of the Finance Commission, the Social Security and Health Commission, the Science, Education and Culture Commission, and the Parliamentary Delegation to the Council of Europe.

Personal page


Annamaria Astrologo

Member appointed by the Academic Senate of USI

Annamaria Astrologo is an Adjunct Professor at USI Faculty of Economics. She completed her undergraduate studies at the Faculty of Law of the Alma Mater Studiorum University of Bologna and, at the same University, she attended the Doctorate School in Law and Criminal Procedure for three years. She defended her doctoral thesis in 2006 and completed several study and research programmes at the Max-Planck-Institut zur Erforschung von Kriminalität, Sicherheit und Recht in Freiburg im Breisgau, Germany. In 2018, she obtained a Master of Advanced Studies in Economic Law and Business Crime from SUPSI. Additionally, she is a lecturer for the "Swiss Criminal Law" course at the Faculty of Law of the University of Insubria. Her research activity, carried out within the Law Institute (IDUSI), focuses mainly on economic criminal law (with a focus on money laundering and corruption offences) and corporate criminal and social responsibility.

Personal page and contact


Glenda Brändli

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.


Günther Dissertori

Rettore del Politecnico federale di Zurigo

Rector of the ETH Zurich (Zurich Polytechnic) since February 2022, Günther Dissertori grew up in South Tyrol and studied at the University of Innsbruck. From there he moved to CERN in Geneva as a PhD student, where he began his research career. In 2001 he was appointed assistant professor at ETH Zurich and six years later he became full professor. At CERN he contributed to the creation of the CMS experiment at the large particle accelerator, one of the two experiments that managed to detect the Higgs particle. For their work, Peter Higgs and François Englert received the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2013. Together with ETH colleagues Christophorus Grab, Felicitas Pauss and Rainer Wallny, Dissertori helped pave the way for this achievement. Dissertori and his group have also developed new positron emission tomography (PET) scanners, including an economically advantageous pet brain scanner, which is about to be placed on the market by spin-off company Positrigo AG.His impressive collection of “Golden Owls” demonstrates his enthusiasm for teaching. Students in his department have already awarded him the prize four times for exceptional teaching. Dissertori also received the Credit Suisse Award for Best Teaching.

Christoph Frank

Member appointed by the Academic Senate of USI

Christoph Frank is a Full Professor at USI Academy of Architecture, where he directs the Institute of the History and Theory of Art and Architecture (ISA). He graduated in History of Art and History of the Classical Tradition from the Courtauld and Warburg Institutes of the University of London. Prior to joining USI, from 1994 until 2006 he was responsible for the department of art history at the Forschungszentrum Europäische Aufklärung at Potsdam. During this time, he was also a Lehrbeauftragter at the Institute of Art History of the Technische Universität in Berlin. Moreover, from 2000 until 2002, he held the Max-Planck-Research-Fellowship at the Bibliotheca Hertziana in Rome. In 2005, he worked as a Research Associate at the Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’Homme in Paris and Columbia University of New York. His recent publications focus on European art and architecture from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, the history of collecting in Germany and Russia, the impact of agents and correspondents on art and architecture, as well as the art theories of Denis Diderot and Friedrich Melchior Grimm.

Personal page and contact


Beth Krasna

Independent Board Member

An American and Swiss citizen, Beth Krasna (1953) holds a degree in chemical engineering from ETH Zurich and an MBA from MIT Sloan School. She worked 5 years in research and development (R&D), 10 years in venture capital, 10 years as CEO of three companies in the industrial sector and 3 years as CEO of a startup in the IT sector. Since 2004, she has focused on her duties as Board member, currently as: President of Ethos Services SA, VP of the IHEID foundation, VP of Symbiotics SA, President of Xsensio SA. Beth Krasna has held previous positions at the ETH Board, Alcosuisse AG, Banque Cantonale Vaudoise, BG Bonnard & Gardel Holding SA, SBB CFF SBB, COOP, Raymond Weil SA, Fondation pour l'art chorégraphique (Prix de Lausanne). 




Giovanni Merlini

President of SUPSI

Born in 1962, Giovanni Merlini earned a License in Law from the University of Bern in 1988, which was followed by obtaining a Cantonal Lawyer's License in 1991 and a Cantonal Notary Public's Patent in 1993. The same year he obtained a Doctorate in Law from the University of Bern. Today he practices as a lawyer and notary public and owns a law and notary firm with offices in Locarno and Lugano.Giovanni Merlini has a long political career at all institutional levels: in the 1990s he first served as a city councilor and then became a municipal councilor in Minusio; from 1995 to 2011 he was a deputy in the Grand Council; and from 2014 to 2019 he served as a national councilor. In Bern he was a member of the Legal Affairs Commission and the Delegation for Relations with the Italian Parliament of the National Council.

Bruno Moretti

Former Pro-Rector for teaching at the University of Bern

Bruno Moretti was a full professor of Italian linguistics at the University of Bern, where he also held the position of Pro-Rector for teaching from 2011 until his retirement in 2021. He is the author of numerous publications in the fields of sociolinguistics and multilingualism. Among his interests, the study of Swiss linguistics in all its aspects occupies a special position. From 1995 to 2019 he directed the Osservatorio linguistico della Svizzera italiana (Linguistic Observatory of Italian Switzerland) and since 2019 has chaired the Scientific Committee. From 2002 to 2005 he was president of the Swiss Society for Linguistics and from 2009 to 2011 vice-president of the Italian Linguistics Society. Since 2016 he has been a Corresponding Academician of the Accademia della Crusca.

Henry Peter

Full professor at the University of Geneva and President of the Foundation for the Lugano Faculties of USI

Henry Peter, 1957, is Full professor at the Law School of the University of Geneva - the same university where, in 1988, he obtained his PhD degree, following a period as visiting scholar at the University of California at Berkeley, which he joined thanks to a fellowship granted by the Swiss National Fund for Scientific Research. Between 1998 and 2012, he set up and has been head of the Master in Business Law postgraduate program of the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne. From 2006 to 2017 he was the head of the Department of Commercial Law at the University of Geneva Law School. In September 2017, he was appointed by the Rectorate of the University of Geneva to create and direct the Geneva Centre for Philanthropy. One of his main research interests is the analysis of sound governance in both public and private sectors. He is the author or editor of more than 120 publications (books and articles) in his various fields of expertise. He holds academic posts at various Swiss and international universities and is a member of federal commissions, committees (both sector-specific and non-profit and philanthropic) and boards of directors. In addition to his teaching and research activities, Henry Peter is a partner in a Swiss law firm (Lugano office).

Personal page


Solange Peters

Full professor at the University of Lausanne

Full professor and director of medical oncology, as well as the thoracic malignancies program in the Department of Oncology at the University Hospital of Lausanne, Solange Peters received both her doctorate in medicine and PhD from the University Hospital of Lausanne. After completing her clinical education in medical oncology and molecular biology in Switzerland and Italy, Prof. Peters has specialized in thoracic tumors, lung cancer, and pleural tumors. Her main fields of interest are new biomarkers discovery and validation in preclinical and clinical settings, multimodality strategies for locally advanced non-small cell lung cancer (NSCLC), as well as cancer immunotherapy. Parallel, she acts as the scientific committee chair and Foundation Council member of the European Thoracic Oncology Platform (ETOP). She was recently nominated as the Strategic Advisory Board President of Paris Saclay Cancer Cluster, is President of the Swiss Academy of Multidisciplinary Oncology (SAMO) and is Vice Director of the Swiss National Cancer League. Prof. Peters is active in the educational programs of the European Society for Medical Oncology (ESMO) - where she created the Women for Oncology Committee and for which she was the youngest President ever for an extended time of 3 years 2020-2022. She is part of the Board of Directors of Galenica SA. Professor Peters has authored more than 500 peer-reviewed manuscripts and book chapters, acts as Associate Editor of the Annals of Oncology, and of ESMO Open, Co-Editor in Chief of Lung Cancer, and serves on the editorial board of several other oncology journals.

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.


People taking part in the University Council without voting rights (in alphabetical order):

  • Luisa Lambertini
    Rector, USI
  • Raffaella Castagnola Rossini
    Head, Culture and University Studies Division - DECS 
  • Giovanni Zavaritt
    Secretary General, USI


Pro-Rectors of USI can take part in the University Council sessions without voting rights.