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National Defence

Helena Carreiras

Minister of National Defence

Period in office: 2022-03-30 until 2024-04-02
Helena Carreiras Helena Carreiras


Helena Carreiras was born in Portalegre in 1965. 

She graduated in Sociology from ISCTE in 1987, and then took a master’s degree in 1994. In 2004 she got a PhD in Political and Social Science from the European University Institute in Florence and wrote a thesis on gender integration policies in the Armed Forces in NATO countries.

She was Associate Professor with tenure at ISCTE – Lisbon University Institute (ISCTE-IUL) in the fields of Sociology, Public Policy, Security and Defence, and Social Research Methodology, as well as researcher for the Sociology Research and Studies Centre (CIES-IUL). In 1999 she was visiting researcher at the Department on Women Studies at Berkley University, California, and in 2013 she was visiting professor at the Government department at Georgetown University in Washington DC. 

At ISCTE- IUL she was in charge of the Public Policy PhD programme and set up several curriculum units and teaching programmes relating to security and defence, namely the postgraduate degrees in Crisis Communication and Management, and Public Security and Defence Policy (ISCTE-IUL/IDN). 

Throughout her career, she’s had several leadership roles. From 2010 to 2012 she was deputy director of the National Defence Institute and from 2016 to 2019 she headed the ISCTE-IUL School of Sociology and Public Policy. She was also deputy director of the CIES - Sociology Research and Studies Centre (2015) and the IPPS – Institute for Public and Social Policy (2018/2019). She has been the Director of the National Defence Institute since 2019.

She actively takes part in scientific and professional associations and held the post of Vice-Chair of the Portuguese Sociology Association (1994-1996) and the Research Committee on Armed Forces and Conflict Resolution of the International Sociology Association (2014/...), member of the European Sociology Association (2009/2013) and chair of the ERGOMAS-European Research Group on Military and Society (2017-2019). 

She was member of the Military Higher Education Board (2011-2012), the General Board of the of ISCTE-Lisbon University Institute (2017-2019) and the Military University Institute’s General Board (2017/2020). Her main focus of interest and research are the Armed Forces and society, public security and defence policy, gender sociology and social science epistemology. She has undertaken extensive research on the relations between the Armed Forces and society and has particularly focused on the subject of female integration in military institutions. 

She is the author or organiser of 14 books, 48 chapters in books and 27 articles in specialist reviews.