Maria Helena Nazaré trained as a physicist, graduating in 1972 from the University of Lisbon, and obtained her PhD from King’s College London in 1978. In 1986, she took up leadership of the research group in Spectroscopy of Semiconductors in the Department of Physics at the University of Aveiro. She was Head of Department between 1978 and 1980 and again between 1988 and 1990, Vice-President of the Scientific Council from 1990 to 1991 and Vice- Rector of the University of Aveiro, a position held until 1998.
She was Rector of the University of Aveiro from 2002 to 2010, Chair of the Portuguese Rectors’ Conference Committee for research and knowledge transfer, and a member of the Research Policy Working Group of the European University Association (EUA).
As a member of the expert pool of EUA’s Institutional Evaluation Programme since 2004, she has participated in the evaluation of universities in Spain, Turkey, Palestine, Slovenia and Kazakhstan. She was appointed Vice-President of EUA in 2009 and elected as President in April 2011.
She formally became President in March 2012. She has also participated in OECD-led evaluations in Catalonia and Lombardy and ENQA evaluations in Galicia and Finland. Currently she is a member of the Portuguese National Education Council and Chair of its Higher Education Commission, Member of the Administration Board of Portugal Telecom, President of the Advisory Board of Fundação Galp Energia and President of the Portuguese Physics Society.