Born in Milan in 1960, I studied Economics and Social Sciences at Bocconi University in Milan (1979-1985), with a dissertation on the political economy of full employment supervised by Professor Giuliano Urbani. I then worked for several years in the private sector and policy research institutes. I started my PhD in 1992 at the University of Florence , and spent 14 months of my doctoral training at the University of Warwick under the supervision of Jeremy Richardson, thanks to a ‘human capital mobility’ grant of the European Commission. I wish to thank my Italian maestri, Bruno Dente, Leonardo Morlino and Gloria Regonini, who had faith in a rather mature PhD student and taught me theoretical policy analysis and comparative politics. Jeremy Richardson had a unique impact on the early stages of my career in the UK. I learned from Jeremy essential virtues such as passion, professionalism, integrity and dedication to research. Jeremy is another key person who had faith in me: he put me in the chair of the Warwick workshop on policy analysis in 1994-1994 and made me interact with outstanding political scientists, at that time all at Jeremy's court, i.e., the European Public Policy Institute. They were Laura Cram, Alison Harcourt , Geoff Dudley, Mike O'Neill, Nick Robinson, and Daniel Wincott. At Warwick, I also learned about research design and comparative public policy from another outstanding professional, Wyn Grant. Wyn also re-kindled my passion for football - something I had neglected for too long during the PhD years.
In 1995 I joined the Department of European Studies at Bradford University, where I was promoted senior lecturer in 1998 and chair in public policy in 2000. Bradford’s European Studies Department was an exciting place to be in the second part of the 1990s. We were rated 5 in the 1996 RAE (Research Assessment Exercise) and 5* in 2001. Bradford was a unique place in those years. We had a 5-star department entirely dedicated to European Studies, with the strongest MA on European Studies in the country. Academic research was genuinely exciting. Ken Dyson, Kevin Feathersone , Dimitris Papadimitriou and Roberto Espindola became my core intellectual partners. In the meantime I edited a book on Europeanisation with Kevin, gave papers at the research seminar that Roberto organises every year at Bradford, and cooperated with Ken on several projects on the Euro and domestic politics. Today, Ken and I cooperate in the Intune project led by the University of Siena in Italy.
In 1997-1998 I was Jean Monnet fellow at the European University Institute, Florence. During the academic year 1999-2000, I was official visiting fellow at Nuffield College, Oxford and ‘invited professor’ at Sciences-Po, Paris, under the aegis of their Chaire Européenne.
In 2002-2003 I co-directed the European Forum Programme of the European University Institute. My co-directors were GianDomenico Majone and Claus-Dieter Ehlermann - two real leaders in the profession, and two exquisite gentlemen. With them in the driving seat, I enjoyed leading a team of post-doctoral fellows coming from political science, law, and economics. I returned to Bradford in July 2003 and was awarded a Jean Monnet Chair in EU Policy Analysis by the European Commission. In 2003-2004 I directed the Centre for European Studies at Bradford.