Rita BentoI moved to London in February 1987. The early plan was that I would work as a structural designer in an engineering firm while my husband would go for a six month visit scholarship at Imperial. Meanwhile, I got pregnant and, although we decided to stick to our going to London, where my older son was born a few weeks after arrival, I had to change plans professionally. I decided to wait for about six months before resuming work. Having been closer to Imperial, I came across with the then about to be launched MSc in Earthquake Engineering and decided to apply for a grant and enrol.

I undertook the first MSc in Earthquake Engineering in 1987-1988 after which I went back to Lisbon and got a position at Instituto Superior Técnico, in 1988. My MSc at Imperial provided me with a deep understanding of earthquake engineering and inspired my interest in this research field for the rest of my academic life.

In 2016, I accepted an invitation to become an External Adviser Examiner to the Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering of Imperial College for the MSc in Earthquake Engineering and the MSc in Structural Steel Design programmes. This was an amazing return to a place to whom I owe a lot and where I feel at home.

Short CV

Rita Bento is currently Associate Professor with Habilitation at the Department of Civil Engineering, Architecture and Geo-resources of Instituto Superior Técnico (IST), University of de Lisbon, Portugal. She holds a PhD in Civil Engineering /Structures from IST and a master's degree in Earthquake Engineering at Imperial College, London.

She teaches earthquake engineering, structural behavior, dynamic of structures and strength of materials. With a strong background and more fundamental work on the fields of earthquake engineering and structural dynamics, her main present research interests rely on the assessment of buildings against earthquake actions. She has worked in great depth in various areas related to the assessment and protection of cultural heritage, seismic vulnerability assessment of old masonry, mixed-masonry reinforced concrete and reinforced concrete structures; she has also produced relevant work in strengthening and repair of structures, structural testing and nonlinear modelling.

Rita is the Director of the Analysis and Mitigation of Risks in Infrastructures PhD program of IST (//infrarisk.tecnico.ulisboa.pt).

Since 2016 she is External Adviser Examiner to the Department Civil and Environmental Engineering of Imperial College for the MSc in Earthquake Engineering and the MSc in Structural Steel Design.

Rita Bento has coordinated and participated in several national and international research projects while supervising more than 50 Master or PhD studies in the field of seismic design, assessment and retrofitting of reinforced concrete, steel and masonry structures. She has co-authored over 150 publications in international peer reviewed scientific journals, books and conference proceedings.