University Council

The University Council – also known as the 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 University Council is formed by the Rector (who is also one of the two Vice Presidents of the body), the Faculty Deans, 5-11 members appointed every 4 years by the Council of State of the Canton Ticino. The University Council appoints among its members a Council President.

The Secretary General of USI, the Pro-Rectors of USI and the Head of Ticino's Higher Education Office take part in the sessions of the University Council 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):

Davide Bassi

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.

Personal page

Manuele Bertoli

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.

Personal page

Mario Bianchetti

Dean of the Faculty of Biomedical Sciences

Mario Bianchetti (1949) graduated in medicine from the University of Bern in 1975, specialising later on in paediatrics and pediatric nephrology. He was Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at both St John's and St Mary's Hospitals in Bellinzona and Mendrisio (2003 – 2012), Medical Director at St John's Hospital in Bellinzona (2010-2012) and Chair of the Pediatric Department of Southern Switzerland EOC (2013-2014). After earning his Medical Doctorate (M. D.) at the University of Bern (1980), he conducted research at the same university, at the University of Geneva, at the Hôpital Necker Enfants Malades (Paris, France) and at the De Marchi Clinic (Milan, Italy). He was Assistant Professor and Professor at the University of Bern were he directed the Department of Pediatrics and Nephrology from 1997 to 2003. He is the current dean of USI Faculty of Biomedical Sciences and has been a member of the University Council since December 2014.

Personal page and contact

Riccardo Blumer

Director of the Academy of Architecture

Riccardo Blumer, Swiss citizen, studied Architecture at Politecnico di Milano where he graduates in 1982. From 1982 to 1988, he worked for the architect firm of Mario Botta in Lugano. Since then he carried out his work as an architect working for companies such as Alias, Artemide, Desalto, Poliform, Ycami, B&B, Flou by Interior, for the Teatro alla Scala di Milano, la Triennale di Milano, Palazzo Ducale of Genoa and the Musée du Président Jacques Chirac in Sarran. In 1997 he wins the Design Preis Schweiz and in 1998 the Compasso D’oro (Golden Compass) followed by other minor awards thanks to the design of the chair Laleggera produced by Alias. Through the years he focused on structural issues aiming for minimalism, with experiments between physics and aesthetics, and the production of creative perfomances. Based on this he founded the workgroup “blumerandfriends” with which he developed important research activities with new installations and exhibitions. He taught in many Universities such as Iuav in Venice, the University of San Marino, the Naba, the Institute of European Design and the Politecnico di Milano. He has been Professor at the Academy of Architecture since 2013, which is also his designated workplace. Since September 1st 2017 he has been Director of the Academy. In 2010 his chairs Laleggera for Alias and Entronauta for Desalto became part of the permanent collection at MoMA, New York.  

Personal page and contact

Antonio Carzaniga

Dean of the Faculty of Informatics

Antonio Carzaniga is a professor and a founding member of the Faculty of Informatics. From 2001 to 2007 he was an assistant research professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Antonio Carzaniga has a degree in Electronics Engineering from the Politecnico di Milano, Italy, where he also earned a Ph.D. degree in Computer Science. His primary research interests are in the areas of Distributed Systems and Software Engineering, specifically in content-based networking, information-centric networking, distributed publish/subscribe systems, middleware, software adaptability and automatic fault tolerance, and testing. Previously, he also conducted research in software configuration management and code mobility. He is Dean of the Faculty of Informatics from September 1st, 2017.

Personal page and contact

Gianluca Colombo

Dean of the Faculty of Economics

Gianluca Colombo is Full Professor of Management at the Faculty of Economics. Previously he was Full Professor at Università dell’Insubria, and Associate Professor at Bocconi University in Milan and at Università degli Studi in Pavia. His other previous roles: Deputy Professor at the Sapienza University of Rome; Visiting Professor at the EM Lyon business school, at Aix-Marseille III University, and at Università Federico Santa Maria di Valparaiso (Chile). Prof. Colombo is member of EURAM (European Academy of Management), and of the Academy of Management. He has published several books and academic articles in the fields of strategic management, M&A, complexity theory, entrepreneurship, and family business –the latter for which he is a consultant. Prof. Colombo is the Director of the USI EMBA - Executive Master of Business Administration. He is Dean of the Faculty of Economics from September 1st, 2019.

Personal page and contact

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).

Boas Erez

Rector of the Università della Svizzera italiana and Vice-President of the University Council

Graduated in 1981 from the Liceo Cantonale (scientific lyceum) in Lugano, and continued his studies at the University of Geneva where he obtained a degree in mathematics in 1985 and, in 1987, a Ph.D. in mathematics. From 1985 to 1990, he was an assistant at the same university, before moving to Harvard University where he was Benjamin Peirce Assistant Professor from 1990 to 1993. In 1993, he was appointed Full professor of mathematics at the University of Bordeaux, where he held several executive positions at the level of institute, faculty, commissions, programmes, doctoral committees and international scientific projects. Prof. Erez was time and again a Board member of the University of Bordeaux 1, and was also vice-president of the university from 2005 to 2008. Prof. Erez is the author of numerous quality scientific publications and has regularly organized international activities in his subject field. He has great experience in the coordination of joint international projects in higher education. As of September 1st, 2016, Prof. Boas Erez is Rector of the Università della Svizzera italiana.

Personal page and contact

Alfredo Gysi

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).

Antonio Loprieno

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.

Personal page

Giorgio Margaritondo

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”.

Personal page

Alberto Petruzzella

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), board member of the Association of Ticino’s Industries (AITI) and member of the Founding Committee of the Centre for Banking Studies in Vezia. He has been member of USI Council since December 2016.  

Christoph Riedweg

Professor at the University of Zurich

Christoph Riedweg (1957) is Full Professor of Greek Classical Philology at the University of Zurich. He graduated in Classical Philology and Musicology in 1982 from the University of Zurich, where he also worked as Assistant Professor at the Klassisch-Philologisches Seminar (1983-1988, 1991-1993), earning his PhD (1987) and carrying out research at the University of Oxford, the Catholic University of Lovanio and the Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München (1988-1991). After teaching as a Professor at the Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz (1993-1996), he returned to the University of Zurich were he got tenure in 1996. He was Director of the Swiss Institute of Rome from March 2005 to January 2013.

Personal page

Photograph by Marc Latzel, © UZH

Andrea Rocci

Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences

Andrea Rocci (1970) is Full Professor at USI Faculty of Communication Sciences, and Director of the Institute of Argumentation, Linguistics and Semiotics and of the Master in Financial Communication. He graduated in Modern Literature with specialisation in Social Communication from the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan (1995). He then earned a Higher Education Degree in Linguistics at the University of Geneva (1999) and a PhD in Linguistics at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore, Milan (2001). In 2005, he won the position of Assistant Professor at USI and became Associate Professor in 2011 and Full Professor in 2015. He is the Dean of the Faculty of Communication Sciences.

Personal page and contact

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.

Antonio Togni

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.

Personal page.

Photograph ETH Zürich / Giulia Marthaler

Raffaella Castagnola

Director of the Department of Culture and Higher Education DECS

Raffaella Castagnola Rossini (1960) has been the Head of the Higher Education Office of Canton Ticino since April 2016. She graduated in Literature from the University of Florence and earned her PhD in Literature at the University of Bologna. She was a high school and junior high school Professor at the Swiss School of Rome (1988-1991) and assistant, maître-assistante and Lecturer at the University of Geneva (1991-2003). After earning the venia legendi at the University of Zurich in 2003, she was Assistant Professor of Modern and Contemporary Italian Literature at the University of Lausanne (2003-2010). In 2013, she got tenured (Titularprofessorin) at the University of Zurich. She taught as guest Lecturer at the University of San Gallen and at USI and she was head of the Cultural Services of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), of the culture section of the Corriere del Ticino and coordinator of Extra, a magazine about culture and performances. She is President of the Dante Alighieri Society of Lugano and member of several commissions and cultural associations. She participates in the Council sessions without voting rights.

Lorenzo Cantoni

Pro-Rector for Education and Students' Experience

Lorenzo Cantoni is Full Professor at the Faculty of Communication Sciences, where he is director of the Institute of Digital Technologies for Communication. He is director of the Master in Digital Fashion Communication and member of the board of the Master in International Tourism. His research interests are where communication, education and new media overlap, ranging from computer mediated communication to usability, from eLearning to eTourism and digital Fashion, from ICT4D to eGovernment. He is chair-holder of the UNESCO chair in ICT to develop and promote sustainable tourism in World Heritage Sites, established at USI in 2013. Lorenzo Cantoni has been Dean of the Faculty (2010-2014) and President of IFITT - International Federation for IT in Travel and Tourism (2014-January 2018). He participates in the University Council sessions without voting rights. 

Personal page and contact

Patrick Gagliardini

Pro-Rector for Research

Patrick Gagliardini (1974) is Full Professor of Econometrics at USI Faculty of Economics. In 1998 he graduated in Physics at the Polytechnical School in Zurich (ETHZ). In 2003 he earned a PhD from the Faculty of Economics of USI with his thesis in Econometrics on the modelling of nonlinear dynamics. He then spent a year in Paris as visiting fellow at the Laboratoire de Finance-Assurance of CREST (Paris) with a SNSF research grant. Between 2004 and 2006 he held an assistant professor position at the Faculty of Economics of University of St. Gallen, and between 2008 and 2012 he served as Junior Chair of the Swiss Finance Institute (SFI). He also served as Dean of USI Faculty of Economics from September 2015 until August 2019. His research interests focus on econometrics and especially financial econometrics, and the results of his research have been published in the main scientific journals in the field. Since 2017 he has been a Fellow of the Society for Financial Econometrics (SoFiE).Patrick Gagliardini is Pro-Rector for Research from September 2019. He participates in the University Council sessions without voting rights.

Personal page and contact

Daniela Mondini

Pro-Rector for Research in the Humanities and Equal Opportunities

Daniela Mondini is Full Professor at the USI Academy of Architecture. She teaches and conducts research at the Institute for the History and Theory of Art and Architecture (ISA) and at the Institute of Italian Studies (ISI). She studied History of Art and History at the University of Zurich and the Università La Sapienza in Rome; she was an assistant and SNSF researcher of the University of Zurich (2002 PhD; 2010 Habilitation). She has lectured at the Technische Universität München, the Hochschule der Künste in Zürich, the ETH Zurich and the University of Bern. She was responsible for the project funded by the SNSF From Ravenna to Vals. Light and Darkness in Architecture from the Middle Ages to the Present. Prof. Mondini is currently responsible with Prof. Dr. Carola Jäggi (University of Zurich) for the SNSF-funded project The Churches of Rome in the Middle Ages 1050-1300. She participates in the University Council sessions without voting rights.

Personal page and contact

Giovanni Zavaritt

Secretary General

Giovanni Zavaritt (1979) holds a PhD in Political Communication and an Executive Master of Science in Communications Management. From 2014 to 2019 he was Head of Communication at USI. Since 2015 he has been member of the Board of the Science et Cité foundation. Giovanni Zavaritt is Secretary General of USI from September 2019. He participates in the University Council sessions without voting rights.

Personal page and contact