Piero Martinoli has been President of the Università della Svizzera italiana (USI) from 2006 until 2016. In this role, he fostered initiatives to develop supercomputing and computational sciences in Ticino and at a national level, and managed the project that lead to the establishment of a Faculty of Biomedical Sciences at USI. Martinoli studied at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology of Zurich (ETH Zurich) where he earned a degree in physics and later a doctorate degree with an experimental-theoretical thesis on the proximity effect of superconductor-normal metal contacts exposed to a magnetic field. As visiting associate professor, he worked in the United States for one of the most prestigious research centres in the study of physics and matter: the Ames Laboratory of Iowa State University. Thanks to the research conducted overseas, he obtained professorship at the ETH Zurich and a chair in experimental physics at the University of Neuchâtel. In the latter, he developed an intense research programme (supported by the Swiss National Science Foundation, the European Union, and the European Scientific Foundation) on two-dimensional superconducting systems. The work resulted in over 120 publications in prestigious international journals. During his two sabbaticals, Piero Martinoli was visiting scientist at the IBM Research Lab in Zurich and visiting professor at the University of Geneva. He was president of the Division II of the Swiss National Science Foundation and recently he was appointed individual member of the Swiss Academy of Engineering Sciences.