Gerd Folkers (2012-2020)

Gerd Folkers has been a full professor in pharmaceutical chemistry at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ) since 1994. From 2004 until the end of 2015 he has served as Director of the Collegium Helveticum. Jointly sponsored by ETHZ and the University of Zurich, this research institute explores new scientific perspectives through transdisciplinary processes.

He studied pharmacy at the University of Bonn, obtaining his PhD in pharmaceutical chemistry in 1982. After research fellowships in Bern, London and the USA, he obtained his postdoctoral degree in pharmaceutical chemistry at the University of Tübingen in 1989. His postdoctoral thesis was on structure-based design of antiviral and anticancer drugs. In 1991, he was appointed associate professor in pharmaceutical chemistry at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). Gerd Folkers was a founding member of the Center of Pharmaceutical Sciences Basel-Zurich, which he headed until 2003. His research was centred on the molecular design of ingredients and the use of such designs in personalised therapies to treat tumours and diseases of the immune system.

Gerd Folkers was a member of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) from 2003 to 2011.

He has been a member of the Swiss Science Council since 2012. Acting as vice president for four years, he is president of the SSC since the beginning of the year 2016.

Gerd Folkers was born in Andernach, Germany on 25 March 1953. He is married and has one daughter.


Franz Schultheis (2009-2019)

Franz Schultheis has been a full professor of sociology at the University of St. Gallen since 2007 where he heads the seminar of sociology.

He studied sociology at the University of Freiburg im Breisgau and the University of Nancy. He obtained his PhD at the University of Constance in 1986. The following year, he worked as a visiting fellow at the Pierre Bourdieus Centre of European Sociology. He then took over a chair at the University of Paris I/Sorbonne and taught as a lecturer at the EHESS and the IEP. After obtaining a postdoctoral degree at the Pierre Bourdieu Centre of European Sociology in 1994, he became assistant professor at the University of Geneva and held several guest professorships in various countries (Montreal, Canada; Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium; Strasbourg and Paris, France; etc.). In 1999, he was hired to work at the University of Neuchâtel. Four years later, he returned to the University of Geneva, where he headed the Sociology Department.

He has been a member of the SNSF’s National Research Council since 2001. He has also acted as head of the SNSF’s Equal Opportunities Commission as well as the SNSF’s Marie Heim-Voegtlin Commission. He is currently President of the Pierre Bourdieu Foundation in St. Gallen.


Fariba Moghaddam (2013-2019)

Fariba Moghaddam has been a Professor at the Institute for Industrial Systems at the Engineering Department of the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland-Valais since 1998. Her areas of research include modelling and control of mechatronic systems, improving energy balance in buildings using adaptive control mechanisms and predictive monitoring systems, and automatisation and optimisation of biotechnology processes.

She graduated in Electrical Engineering from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Lausanne (EPFL) in 1992. She then worked as a scientific assistant at the Laboratory of Industrial Electronics at the EPFL where she obtained her PhD in 1995.

In 2011, she became Head of the inter-cantonal Master of Science in Engineering study course at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Western Switzerland.

She was born on 13 June 1966 in Teheran and is the mother of two children.


Wilma Minoggio (2016-2019)

Wilma Minoggio has a degree in Curative Education from the University of Fribourg, and head of Coordination and Institutional Development of Education at the University of Applied Sciences and Arts of Southern Switzerland, SUPSI. She was director of the Department of Social Work at SUPSI and from 2003 to 2015 was a member of the university management team and headed the Department of Business and Social Sciences (DSAS), where she was responsible for the department’s strategy, organisation and management of business economics and social work. She was also engaged in teaching, research and administration.

Wilma Minoggio gained considerable experience in the field of education as a teaching fellow at the University of Fribourg, as a lecturer in educational theory and practice at the teacher training secondary school in Locarno. She was then appointed to teach on the SUPSI social work degree programme in the fields of social work intervention, research methods and instruments, disability and integration. She has regularly been involved in education activities and research activities, working on various projects for the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) and the Commission for Technology and Innovation (CTI). She has conducted research at cantonal and national level and in 2014 she produced ‘Panorama’, a publication on the current state of social work research in Switzerland.

Wilma Minoggio is currently president of the FODEI-CH association (supporting the overall development of children in the poorest areas of Bolivia). From 2006 to 2013 she was a member of the FOSIT committee (Federation of Swiss NGOs), since 2012 she has been a member of the Federal Statistics Committee and since 2015 she has sat on the governing board of the Accademia Teatro Dimitri.


Wolf Linder (2012-2019)

A political scientist and legal expert, Wolf Linder initially conducted research at the University of Konstanz and the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ). He then held professorships at the Swiss Graduate School of Public Administration (IDHEAP) in Lausanne (1982-1987) and the University of Bern (1987-2009). In Bern, he served as Director of the Institute of Political Science, Dean of the Faculty of Economics and Social Science and, after retiring, became university Ombudsman. For eight years, he was a board member of the Swiss Academy of Humanities and Social Sciences (SAGW) and a member of the National Research Council of the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF).

Linder's teaching and research activities were devoted to Swiss politics and democratic transitions in developing countries. As an expert, he worked at the federal, cantonal and communal levels as well as for national and international organisations involved in development cooperation.

Wolf Linder was born in St. Gallen on 26 May 1944.


Bruno Colbois (2012-2019)

Bruno Colbois has worked sicne 2000 as a full professor at the University of Neuchatel's Institute of Mathematics, which he managed from 2004 to 2008. His field of research is Riemannian geometry, particularly spectral geometry.

He studied mathematics at the University of Lausanne, where he obtained a PhD in 1987. After doing a research fellowship at the University of Bonn, he worked as an assistant professor at the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich) from 1992 to 1994. He then worked as a professor at the University of Savoie, in Chambéry, from 1994 to 2000.

He was President of the Swiss Mathematical Society for the years 2010 and 2011 and headed Swiss PhD programme in mathematics from 2010 to 2014. Presently, he is the dean of the science faculty for the period 2014-2016.

He was born on 10 September 1959 in Troyes, he is married and has three children.


Mirjam Christ-Crain (2016-2019)

Mirjam Christ-Crain has been a professor of endocrinology, diabetes and metabolism at the University and University Hospital of Basel since 2014. She heads the Department of Clinical Research at the University of Basel together with Professor Christiane Pauli-Magnus and is deputy medical director the Division of Endocrinology at the University Hospital of Basel. Her research focuses on stress hormones, in particular cortisol and copeptin.

Mirjam Christ-Crain studied medicine in Basel and Vienna and earned a doctorate of medicine in Basel in 2000. From 2005 to 2007, she worked on a research project in London and completed her PhD at the University of London. In 2007 she was promoted to professor of endocrinology at the University of Basel. In 2009 she was awarded a research professorship of the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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.