Gender Balance and Diversity in Engineering

Zita Martins is an Astrobiologist, an Associate Professor at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST, Portugal), and the Co-Director of the MIT-Portugal Program.

She works in the field of Astrobiology and Cosmochemistry.

She has a 5-year undergraduate degree (Licenciatura) in Chemistry from IST (2002) and a PhD in Astrobiology from Leiden University (The Netherlands, 2007).

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 a Royal Society Research Fellowship worth 1 Million British Pounds, and she was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at Imperial College London (UK) until 2017.

Zita Martins has been actively involved in several space missions: she is a Co-Investigator of the OREOcube and EXOcube missions, a Member of the ARIEL space mission from ESA, a Member of the Japanese space mission Hayabusa2 from JAXA, and the only Portuguese scientist in the class-F space mission Comet Interceptor from ESA.

She has an active involvement with public outreach activities, including more than 100 international media interviews, and public talks at museums and Science festivals. She had the honour of having her portrait sketched (special commission) for the Royal Society exhibit about successful women in science.

She was selected by the BBC as an Expert Women Scientist, and as one of “100 Women in Science” by the Portuguese Agency of Science and Technology “Ciência Viva”.

In 2018 she received a Barbie Award 2018 on the International Girl Child Day for being an inspiration to girls.

In 2015 Zita Martins was appointed Oficial da Ordem Militar de Sant’Iago da Espada (OSE) by the President of Portugal.