Governing bodies

Governing Committee

The Governing Committee is the body that oversees HES-SO’s strategy. It consists of political representatives from each canton included in the HES-SO Intercantonal Convention. The Governing Committee works with the Rectorate to set out a four-year agreement on the School’s objectives (Target Agreement), based on the HES-SO Plan of Intent. The Committee also adopts multi-year financial and development plans, approves the annual accounts and budgets, authorises new courses and, based on a report submitted by the Rectorate, evaluates the extent to which HES-SO has met the objectives set out in the Target Agreement.

Portrait Cesla Amarelle
Cesla Amarelle

Présidente · Conseillère d’Etat · Département de la formation, de la jeunesse (Vaud)

Crystel Graf
Crystel Graf

Vice-présidente · Conseillère d’Etat · Département de la formation, de la digitalisation et des sports (Neuchâtel)

Portrait Olivier Curty
Olivier Curty

Conseiller d'Etat · Direction de l’économie et de l’emploi (Fribourg)

Portrait Christophe Darbellay
Christophe Darbellay

Conseiller d’Etat · Département de l'économie (Valais)

Portrait Anne Emery-Torracinta
Anne Emery-Torracinta

Conseillère d’Etat · Département de la formation et de la jeunesse (Genève)


The Rectorate oversees HES-SO’s operations. It helps to outline our overall strategy and takes measures to support the shared development of all schools in the HES-SO network. It is responsible for implementing the Target Agreement and proposing multi-year financial and development plans and annual budgets. The Rectorate also approves study plans and regulations and the admission criteria for Bachelor’s and Master’s programmes, and organises Master’s courses.

Members of the Rectorate

Luciana Vaccaro coordinates the Rectorate’s activities and heads the Department of Finance and General Affairs. She spearheads HES-SO’s development by providing an agile, impactful response to the challenges we face in fulfilling our two core missions: research and education. She ensures that all members of the HES-SO community are involved in our University’s operations by fostering a spirit of teamwork and collaboration. She also works to anchor HES-SO’s position as a university that promotes higher education, knowledge-sharing and innovation and that aims to serve the needs of society.

Luciana Vaccaro holds a PhD in science and microengineering and has been our Rector since 2013. She previously conducted research at several institutions and founded EPFL’s Grant Office in 2009. Her term as Rector of HES-SO has been renewed until 2025.

Luciana Vaccaro has been the Vice President of Innosuisse since 2019 and will become chair of the HES Chamber of the swissuniversities consortium on 1 August 2021. She also plays an active role in the UAS for Europe network of universities of applied science. Through these various positions, Luciana Vaccaro represents the interests of specialised universities in both the national and international arenas.

René Graf heads our Teaching Department. He oversees one of our University’s fundamental missions: to promote educational programmes that are open to the outside world, focused on students, in line with the needs of professional fields and capable of addressing today’s key challenges, such as the digital transformation and flexible learning.

René Graf previously headed the Department of Architecture, Woodworking and Engineering at the Bern University of Applied Sciences (BFH). He holds an engineering degree from EPFL and served as a lecturer and head of applied R&D at BFH. What also sets him apart is his bilingual approach and his background rich in international experience.

Photo portrait Geneviève Le Fort

Geneviève Le Fort

Vice-Rector, Quality Assurance

Geneviève Le Fort heads our Quality Assurance Department. Her work helps us to continually improve the quality and effectiveness with which we carry out our missions, and supports the academic and pedagogical development of our teachers and researchers. As part of her role, she successfully led HES-SO’s accreditation efforts. She takes a proactive approach to supporting sustainability, equal opportunities, diversity and inclusion.

Geneviève Le Fort brings notable expertise in the field of quality assurance, which she obtained in particular from her previous position as Deputy Director of the Swiss Agency of Accreditation and Quality Assurance (AAQ). She holds a PhD in art history and archaeology from Université Libre de Bruxelles in Belgium, reflecting her international scope.

Photo portrait Christine Pirinoli

Christine Pirinoli

Vice-Rector, Research and Innovation

Christine Pirinoli heads our Department of Research and Innovation. With her team, she promotes the uptake of pragmatic and cross-disciplinary research practices. She outlines an overall research and innovation strategy that is attuned to the needs and challenges of scientists, artists, the business world and society in general, addressing issues such as open science, training the next generation and academic integrity. Dr Pirinoli’s department also supports HES-SO researchers in every step of the applied R&D lifecycle – from planning a project and publishing results and data to transferring technology to industry – and provides targeted training to help them enhance their skills.

Christine Pirinoli has solid experience in both research and academia. She holds a PhD in social science from the University of Lausanne (UNIL) and worked as a professor at the Vaud School of Health Science (HESAV), leading its healthcare research unit and later serving as head of research.

Photo portrait Axel Marion

Axel Marion

Secretary General

Axel Marion assists the Rector and the entire Rectorate in their management and administrative tasks.

Prior to joining HES-SO, Axel Marion managed higher education policy initiatives at swissuniversities and coordinated various projects related to Swiss federal policy, the dissemination of research findings and open science. He holds a PhD in international relations from the University of Geneva and brings broad, diversified experience to our University, drawing on know-how in R&D, public administration and the strategic implementation of higher education policy in Switzerland. 

Steering Committee

The Steering Committee is one of our School’s central advisory bodies. It issues recommendations on all of the issues that are important for HES-SO, helps to identify priority actions and is involved in developing our Plan of Intent – the first step in drafting our Target Agreement. The Steering Committee also gives opinions on all Governing Committee decisions.

Luciana Vaccaro
Luciana Vaccaro

Présidente du Comité directeur · Rectrice de la HES-SO

Portrait François Abbé-Decarroux
François Abbé-Decarroux

Directeur général HES-SO Genève

Portait Brigitte Bachelard
Brigitte Bachelard

Directrice générale HE-Arc

Florian Evéquoz
Florian Evéquoz

Responsable Domaine Economie & Services

Gilles Forster Responsable du domaine Design et Arts visuels
Gilles Forster

Responsable Domaine Design et Arts visuels

Portrait Jacques Genoud
Jacques Genoud

Directeur général HES-SO Fribourg

René Graf
René Graf

Vice-recteur Enseignement

Olivier Grand
Olivier Grand

Responsable Domaine Travail social

Geneviève Le Fort

Vice-rectrice Qualité

Portrait Inka Moritz
Inka Moritz

Déléguée des hautes écoles vaudoises de type HES

Portrait Olivier Naef
Olivier Naef

Responsable Domaine Ingénierie & Architecture

Christine Pirinoli
Christine Pirinoli

Vice-rectrice Recherche et Innovation

Frédéric Plazy
Frédéric Plazy

Responsable Domaine Musique et Arts de la scène

Laurence Robatto

Responsable Domaine Santé

Portrait François Seppey
François Seppey

Directeur général HES-SO Valais-Wallis

Axel Marion
Axel Marion

Secrétaire du Comité directeur · Secrétaire général de la HES-SO

Participatory bodies

Consulting Council

The Consulting Council is one of our School’s central advisory bodies. It gives each member of the HES-SO community an opportunity to have their voice heard and take part in our University’s development. The Consulting Council issues opinions on the Target Agreement, the HES-SO development strategy and budget forecasts. It also weighs in on general issues affecting HES-SO and our schools.  

Employee Council

The Employee Council represents the interests of our teaching and research staff. It gives opinions on an advisory basis on issues related to the staff regulations. The Employee Council also meets regularly with employer representatives to discuss provisions concerning the HES-SO hierarchy and job duties.

Participatory councils for each faculty

Each faculty has a participatory council that supports the faculty’s development. They give opinions on an advisory basis on issues related to their faculty’s rules and regulations, study plans and development initiatives.

Independent bodies

Inter-Parliamentary Commission

The Inter-Parliamentary Commission is our School’s political governance body. It has 49 members (seven from each partner canton) and monitors our results and our progress in achieving our strategic objectives. It also reviews the accounts of the Rectorate and our schools, as well as our annual budget and multi-year financial plans.

Strategy Committee

The Strategy Committee is an HES-SO advisory body. It consists of figures from many different academic, business and cultural circles, whose skills and background reflect the range of topics studied within HES-SO. The Strategy Committee makes recommendations on our University’s general policies and strategy orientation. Its members (who come from outside HES-SO) are encouraged to discuss their ideas and experience with the heads of our various entities. The Committee helps to make sure our University develops in a dynamic, concerted manner, through open dialogue with stakeholders from all segments of society.