Campus and Community

Professor Zita Martins appointed advisor to the President of the Portuguese Republic

The Técnico alumna and professor will take up her duties as advisor on Science, Innovation and Digital Transition.

Zita Martins, Técnico professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering (DEQ) and researcher at Centro de Química Estrutural (CQE), was invited to be part of the new group of advisors to the President of the Portuguese Republic. Professor Zita Martins has been invited by the President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa and will take up her duties as advisor on Science, Innovation and Digital Transition.

“It is a great honour to have been invited by His Excellency the President of the Portuguese Republic, to serve my country as an advisor on Science, Innovation and Digital Transition. I accepted this new challenge in my life with a true spirit of service”, says professor Zita Martins.

Professor Zita Martins has a 5-years undergraduate degree in Chemistry, and a PhD from Leiden University. She was an Invited Scientist at NASA Goddard (2005 and 2006), and an Invited Professor at the University of Nice-Sophia Antipolis, France (2012). In 2009, she was awarded by the Royal Society with a University Research Fellowship worth 1 million pounds, having remained at Imperial College London (United Kingdom) from 2007 to 2017.

In 2015 she was appointed Oficial da Ordem Militar de Sant’Iago da Espada by Portugal’s head of State for exceptional and outstanding merits in science.

Professor Zita Martins is an associate professor at DEQ and a researcher at CQE and she has been actively involved in several space missions, including ARIEL from ESA, Hayabusa2 from the Japanese Space Agency (JAXA), Comet Interceptor from ESA, and two projects (OREOcube and EXOcube) from ESA. In 2019, she was appointed Co-Director of the MIT-Portugal Program.

Professor Zita Martins is also a Committee member of the Astrobiology Society of Britain, the Portuguese representative of the Executive Committee of the European Astrobiology Network Association (EANA), member of the Life Sciences Working Group of the European Space Agency (ESA), member of the Solar System and Exploration Working Group of ESA, and member of the European Space Sciences Committee (ESSC).

The Técnico alumna is an active science communicator and she was selected by the BBC as an Expert Woman Scientist – “BBC’s Expert Women”. She had her portrait sketched for the Royal Society exhibit about successful women in science.

At 41, the Técnico professor takes on a new challenge in her professional life.

According to Expresso newspaper, the President of the Portuguese Republic has 62% women and 38% men in his team, this second term. Professor Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa was re-elected President of the Portuguese Republic on 24th January (60.67%), and will take office for a second term on 9th March.