Daniel Scheidegger (2012 - 2016)

Daniel Scheidegger was a professor of anaesthesiology at the University of Basel from 1988 until 2013.

He studied medicine at the University of Basel. He then went on to specialise in internal medicine (cardiology), anaesthesiology and reanimation as well as intensive care in Delémont, Basel, Geneva and Boston. In 1987, he took over as head of the Surgical Intensive Care Unit of the Basel Cantonal Hospital (as it was known at the time) before being appointed chief physician for anaesthesia and intensive care at the Basel University Hospital in 1988.

Between 1998 and 2009, he served as a member of the National Research Council (NRC) of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and presided the Biology and Medicine Division from 2007 to 2009.

Daniel Scheidegger was born in Basel in 1948. He is married and the father of two grown sons.



Astrid Epiney
(President 2012 - 2015)

Astrid Epiney studied law in Mainz, Lausanne and Florence. She obtained her PhD in international law from the University of Mainz in 1991and her postdoctoral qualification in 1994 (being authorised to teach international law, EU law and constitutional law). After working as a researcher at the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP) in Lausanne, she taught EU and international law at the University of Fribourg, Switzerland, initially as an associate professor (1994) and then as a tenured professor (1996).

She has managed several third party-funded research projects, mainly those sponsored by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). She has also worked as an assessor on behalf of public and private organisations. Her research is centred on Swiss-EU relations, European constitutional law and EU legislation in the following areas: environment, transport, data protection and migration.

She has also held university administrator positions (e.g. Dean of Faculty of Law and University Vice-Rector).

Astrid Epiney was born on 9 July 1965.



Heike Behrens (2009 - 2015)

Heike Behrens studied German and English language and literature at the University of Kiel. She obtained her PhD in general linguistics at the University of Amsterdam in 1993. Her doctoral thesis dealt with language development in early childhood. Her psycholinguistic research focus led to work at various institutes specialised in linguistics and psychology: Technical University of Braunschweig, Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics (Nijmegen), University of California Berkeley (DFG fellowship grant), University of Cologne, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (Leipzig). Between 2002 and 2005, she taught German language and literature at the University of Groningen (Netherlands). Since 2005, Heike Behrens has held a chair in Cognitive Linguistics and Language Acquisition Research at the University of Basel’s Department of Language and Literature (English and German). Current research projects deal with language acquisition and sensory semantics. She is also active in two graduate programmes: an SNSF Pro*Doc on "language as a social and cultural practice" and a DFG fellowship programme on "frequency effects in language" at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau.

Heike Behrens was born on 18 January 1962 in Itzehoe (Germany).



Willy Benz (2004 - 2015)

Willy Benz studied physics at the University of Neuchatel and in 1984 he received his PhD in natural sciences at the University of Geneva for his doctoral thesis in astrophysics. He then went on to post-doctoral work at Los Alamos National Laboratory (USA) and at Harvard University where in 1987 he was appointed assistant professor by Harvard University. He later taught at the University of Arizona and at the University of Geneva.

Willy Benz has been a professor at the Physics Institute at the University of Bern since 1997 and became institute director in 2002.

His commitment to teaching and research was recognized in 1988 with the Milton Fund Award and a year later with the Thomas Temple Hoopes Prize for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching. In 2007 he was appointed external scientific member of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Willy Benz was or is active in several advisory bodies, amongst others as president of the Science and Technology Committee of the European Southern Observatory ESO (2009-2011), since 2008 as a member of the Eidgenössische Kommission für Weltraumfragen EKWF and since 2010 as president of the Space Science Advisory Committee of the European Space Agency ESA.

He was born on 6 July 1955 in Neuchatel. He is married and father of three children.



Peter Fröhlicher (2008 - 2015)

Peter Fröhlicher studied roman languages, art history and comparative literature at the Universities of Zurich, Paris-Sorbonne, Siena and Lima. His doctoral thesis was on the poetry of Guillaume Apolinnaire and his postdocotral lecture qualification thesis ("Habilitation") was on the argentinian writer Julio Cortázar. He was guest professor at the Universities of Neuchâtel, São Paulo, Veracruz and Vienna.

Then, from 1985 to 1992, he lectured on Spanish and Latin-American Literature at the Humanities Department of the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ).

From 1991 to 1996 he was Professor for Spanish and French Literature at the University of Konstanz. In 1996 he was nominated as full Professor for new French literature at the University of Zurich. He is a member of numerous scientific societies and boards. 

Peter Fröhlicher was born in 1949 in Zurich.

He is married and father of three children.



Giambattista Ravano (2012 - 2015)

Giambattista Ravano obtained his combined undergraduate/graduate degree in physics from the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) where he worked there as a teaching and research assistant. He spent several years working as a physics teacher at various baccalaureate schools. As an IT specialist, he played a pivotal role in the development of computer science curricula in baccalaureate schools in the Canton of Ticino. He further specialised in IT in private industry, working as an analyst and project manager for an international IT consulting firm, which was part of an international maritime transport group. He continues to work as a company manager, consultant and manager of various IT projects. He was Director of the Information Systems Department and a board member of a UK-based maritime transport company with offices around the world. He ran a large number of IT projects, ranging from the development of new IT systems to deployment of corporate telecommunications networks.

At the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland (SUPSI), he works as a professor of software engineering, database management and IT systems. He is also the Deputy Director for Research and Innovation and a member of SUPSI's Directorship, former Director of SUPSI's Department of Innovative Technologies. He was instrumental in the development of SUPSI's new Master of Advanced Studies in Computer Science as well as SUPSI’s IT research activities. He also helped the University of Lugano establish their new Faculty of Informatics and developed a joint USI-SUPSI Master of Science in Informatics programme (with specialisation in applied informatics). He favours a multidisciplinary approach in SUPSI’s research activities and coordinates the research activities of his own department among four affiliated institutes. He developed two new Bachelor of Science programmes, supervised implementation of Bologna reform requirements for engineering programmes, and introduced the Master of Science programme. Working with other institutions, he has developed international activities and cooperation in relation to degree programmes and research in engineering.

His continuing activities in the private sector combined with close contacts with industry led to his involvement in, and subsequent management of, technology transfer activities on behalf of higher education institutions in the Italian-speaking region of Switzerland. He is President of the AGIRE Foundation, which is comprised of the Associazione Industrie Ticinesi (AITI), the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Ticino, the Ticino Cantonal Administration, the University of Lugano, SUPSI and other regional economic development bodies. The AGIRE Foundation is responsible for coordinating regional development and innovation activities. The AGIRE Foundation has also been given a cantonal government mandate to allocate innovation funding to start-up companies and already established companies. He his Vice President of the Swiss Accreditation Council.

Giambattista Ravano is the father of five children and a grandfather.



Andrea Schenker-Wicki (2012 - 2015)

Andrea Schenker-Wicki obtained a Bachelor's degree in food engineering from the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) and a Master's degree in economics from the University of Zurich. She was awarded a PhD in operations research and information technology by the University of Fribourg in 1990. She then went on to work as a researcher and information officer at the National Emergency Operations Centre (NEOC) in Zurich.

While working in Zurich, she obtained a postdoctoral qualification from the University of Saint Gallen in 1995 (title of postdoctoral thesis: "Evaluation of Higher Education Performance, Performance Measurements and Performance Indicators“) and was appointed as associate professor in 1996.

She joined the Federal Office for Education and Science (now the State Secretariat for Education, Research and Innovation) as head of the University Affairs Section in 1997. Four years later, she became a tenured professor of business administration and head of the Executive MBA programme at the University of Zurich. Her research is centred mainly on performance management, university management and system theory.

A. Schenker-Wicki is a member of numerous academic commissions, boards and associations. Among other things, she is President of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Swiss Center of Accreditation and Quality Assurance in Higher Education (OAQ) and a member of the Austrian Science Board. Among the various assignments carried out on behalf of the Swiss University Conference (SUC), she worked on an impact study (2003) and ex ante on the evaluation (2007 and 2011) of innovation and cooperation projects. In 2011, the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science and Research asked her to prepare a general concept for a national higher education plan.

Andrea Schenker-Wicki was born on 2 November 1959. She is married and the mother of two children.



Walter A. Stoffel (2003 - 2015)

Walter Stoffel studied law at the University of Fribourg (Switzerland) and Yale Law School of New Ha-ven (USA). He wrote his dissertation on “Equal treatment Clauses of Foreigners and Nationals in Friendship Commerce and Navigation Treaties Concluded by Switzerland”. 1979 he took his bar exam and joined a prominent law firm in Zurich.

In 1986 he completed his post-doctoral work on competition law at the University of Fribourg and the year after he received a professorship in the law faculty of the same university where he teaches in the francophone section. Walter Stoffel has also taught at various other foreign universities including the Université de Paris II, McGill University in Montreal, Deakin University in Melbourne and the University of Turin.

The main focus of his research and publications lays on competition law, company law as well as questions concerning the Swiss and international system of courts.

From 1981 to 1987 Walter Stoffel served as vice-director of the Swiss Institute of Comparative Law in Lausanne and from 1994 to 2000 he was scientific director of the International Association of Legal Science. From 2003 to 2010 he was president of the Swiss Competition Commission.

He was born on 12 December 1949. He is married and the father of three children.



Gisou van der Goot (2014 - 2015)

Gisou van der Goot studied engineering at the Ecole Centrale de Paris. She received her PhD in molecular biophysics at the University of Paris VI, writing her thesis on the transport of water in the kidneys. After a postdoctoral fellowship at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory in Heidelberg (Germany) she joined the Faculty of Science at the University of Geneva, where she launched an independent research group.

In 2001 she was appointed associate professor at the Faculty of Medicine at the University of Geneva. In 2006 she joined the new Faculty of Life Sciences at the Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne.

She was or is active in numerous science assessment agencies, including the Swiss National Science Foundation, the European Research Council and the European Molecular Biology Organization. She served as a vice-president and then president of Life Sciences Switzerland, an umbrella association for a range of experimental life sciences organizations. 

Gisou van der Goot was born on 19 September 1964 in Teheran.



Walter Wahli
(2008 - 2013)

Walter Wahli studied biology at the University of Bern, where he completed his doctorate in 1977. He worked as a post-doc researcher at the Department of Embryology, Carnegie Institution of Washington in Baltimore, and was visiting associate at the National Cancer Institute, National Institutes of Health in Bethesda (1978-1980).

In 1980, he became Professor and Director of the Institut de biologie animale of the University of Lausanne and was Research Vice-rector for the University of Lausanne from 1999 to 2003. He founded the Centre Intégratif de Génomique, which he directed from 2002 to 2005.

Walter Wahli has been a member of the Swiss National Science Foundation's research council since 1987 and presided over the Biology and Medicine Division for two years.

His research mainly focuses on the genetic control of energy metabolism.

Walter Wahli was born in 1946 in Moutier (Switzerland). He is married and the father of three children.



Fritz Fahrni
(2000 – 2012)

Fritz Fahrni graduated from the ETH Zurich with a degree in mechanical engineering. He did his doctorate in 1970 at the Illinois Institute of Technology in Chicago and 10 years later he completed the “Senior Management Program“at the Harvard Business School.

After various research activities in industry including NASA and Ciba Geigy, Fritz Fahrni joined the Sulzer concern in 1976 and between 1988 and 1999 he was president and chief executive officer.

Since 1999 he has held joint professorships at the ETH Zurich and University of St. Gallen (HSG) in technology management and entrepreneurship. He is chairman of the Institute for Technology Management at the University of St. Gallen (ITEM-HSG).

Fritz Fahrni is a director on the boards of five international companies and is a member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.

He was born on 7 September 1942 in Winterthur.