Rita L. Sousa Department of Mechanical and Materials Engineering

Assistant Professor - Department of Mechanical & Materials Engineering, Mechanical & Materials Engineering Program
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Phone number:  +971 2 810 9357

Dr. Rita Sousa received her degree in Civil and Environmental Engineering from the Technical University of Lisbon, her Master of Science degree from the Ecole Nationale des Ponts et Chausees, Paris, and her Doctorate of Philosophy from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, specializing in Geotechnical and Geo-environmental Engineering.
Dr. Sousa’s doctoral dissertation was conducted under the direction of Prof. Herbert Einstein and illustrated the methodologies she developed that allow one to identify sources of geotechnical risks during underground construction, and perform quantitative risk analysis to identify optimal construction strategies thereby rationalizing the decision making processes. She also developed systematic ways to formally incorporate information quantitatively into the risk assessment procedure.
In 2010, Dr. Sousa joined the MIT staff as a post-doctoral associate. Her research focused on developing decision analytical tools to assess the economic feasibility of Enhanced Geothermal Systems. This research forms part of the United States Department of Energy Geothermal Technologies Program.

Prior to her enrollment at at MIT, Dr. Sousa worked for several years as a consultant for the Lisbon Metro in Portugal. Dr. Sousa has and continues to work as a consultant for private practices in the United States, Europe, and the Middle East.  

Advisor to current Masdar Institute students:

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Research interests

  • Decision making under uncertainty
  • Geotechnical risk assessment
  • Uncertainty quantification
  • Stochastic modeling
  • Bayesian analysis
  • Bayesian networks
  • Enhanced Geothermal Systems
  • Underground construction


  • IVANOVA, V. ; SOUSA, R.; MURRIHY,B; EINSTEIN, H.H.  (2014) Mathematical Algorithm Development and Parametric Studies with the GEOFRAC Three-Dimensional Stochastic Model of Natural Rock Fracture Systems. Computers and Geosciences (in press)
  • SOUSA, R.L;  EINSTEIN, H.H. (2011). Risk analysis during tunnel construction using Bayesian Networks: Porto Metro case study. Tunnelling and Underground Space Technology, volume 27, January 2012, pages 86-100
  • HE, M.; SOUSA, L.R.; SOUSA, R.L.; GOMES, A.; VARGAS, E.; ZHANG N. (2011). Risk Assessment of CO2 injection processes and storage in carboniferous formations: a review. Journal of Rock Mechanics and Geotechnical Engineering, 3 (1): 39-56
  • EINSTEIN, H.H. SOUSA, R (2007). Warning System for Natural Threats, Georisk:  Volume 1, Issue 1, 2007, pages 3 – 20