Dear Students:
I am glad to welcome you as you enter the University School for Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia is the latest initiative that concurs to make the “Pavia System” a unique educational environment in Italy characterized by a prestigious, one thousand year old University, by University Colleges with merit-based admission and by a biomedical research network including three clinical research centers (IRCCS).

Not many environments, in Europe and worldwide, can compare with the “Pavia System” that can be ranked among the best international educational structures, thanks to the day by day contribution of the dedication and enthusiasm of the personnel of our School.

In his address, the Vice-Rector Prof. Andrea Moro will illustrate our mission and the spirit that informs our commitment towards our students. For my part, I will briefly report on the important innovations introduced in the last few years of activity of the School.

Through a complex process, IUSS has further strengthened its connection with the University of Pavia by signing, in July 2014, a convention aimed at promoting new teaching and research initiatives and a re-evaluation of the scientific activities of the School.

In this context, in September 2014, a federative agreement with the School of Advanced Studies “Sant’Anna” of Pisa was signed. This agreement is aimed at the integration between the two Schools in matters such as teaching, research and management of resources.

The federation between the two Schools is undoubtedly an important higher education realization, devoted to the most gifted and praiseworthy candidates. At present, it enrolls 500 students in standard courses and 400 doctorate students.

Within this framework, the unifying research approach of IUSS focuses on the core role of the human being and of his relation with environment and society. This theme develops along two lines, the first one emphasizing interdisciplinary investigations in approaching biological, psychological, rational and ethical issues. This concept moves from a broad appreciation of the role that can be played by cognitive sciences (in particular, neuro-cognitive sciences) social sciences and human sciences for the study of individuals and society. The ontological role of language in human thinking and behavior is also emphasized. Human behavior is marked by an interaction with one’s own environment, its modification and a complex dialectic relationship with it. Hence an emphasis on the relation between technologies, risk dimension and uncertainty implications.

This dialectic and integrated approach presently informs the two scientific research areas of the School: that of cognitive, social and behavioral sciences and that of uncertainty treatment and risk assessment.

The reassessment of the School’s objectives has been implemented in recent years through the transition from an Advanced School based on the presence of prestigious teachers giving their outstanding contribution to teaching, to the promotion of merit and excellence in Standard Courses, and to an Advanced School shaped as a Research University in which pre- and post-degree teaching integrates with, and is fed by, innovative interdisciplinary and international research.

In this environment, rich in stimuli, challenges and opportunities, we offer you Standard Courses, Master Courses and Research Doctorates. And it is from here that I wish to express my hope that your experience at IUSS may further stimulate the curiosity and talent you have already shown and be the first steps of a successful professional career.

I wish you all the best in your work on behalf of the entire IUSS community.

Michele Di Francesco
Rector of the University School for Advanced Studies IUSS Pavia


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IUSS - Istituto Universitario di Studi Superiori di Pavia
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