Italian ‘Cavalier’ honoured for unique international collaboration
18 April 2007
A unique collaboration between the Universities of Bristol and Naples has resulted in Mario Di Bernardo being awarded the title of ‘Cavaliere della Repubblica’.
Dr Di Bernardo’s work in particular has crossed the traditional boundaries between applied mathematics and control engineering. He is particularly known for his work on the dynamics of non-smooth events such as impact, switching or friction. He is a co-author of a major book on this topic to be published by Springer Verlag later this year. He is a member of the Board of Governors of the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society, one of the largest Societies of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.
Dr Di Bernardo has been at Bristol since registering as a PhD student in 1995, moving to lecturer in 1997 and reader in 2002. In 2001, Dr Di Bernardo took the decision to also try to establish a foothold at the University of Naples. This was at a time when new academic posts were frozen in Italy, but by sustaining an unusually high teaching load in both countries Dr Di Bernardo eventually achieved joint affiliation in both universities. He has used this to great advantage to obtain EU funding under framework 5 and 6 and to run international research schools in Italy and in Bristol. There is a regular exchange of PhD students between the two universities and Dr Di Bernardo has also supervised students with funding from both Fiat and Jaguar cars.
‘Returning to Naples was not easy,’ said Dr Di Bernado. ‘At first I had to accept a position less prestigious and less rewarding than the one I have in Bristol. I decided to go back to teach and do research in Naples because I believe there are many talents among the Italian students and a huge potential to be released.’
Dr David Muir Wood, Dean of Engineering, added: ‘We always knew Mario was a star and it is nice to see that the Italian president has also been convinced!’