Ersilia Vaudo holds a degree in physics from Università La Sapienza in Rome, and worked at the Department of Cosmology on experiments for the measurement of the anisotropy of the cosmic background radiation. She has been awarded with the Amelia Earhart Fellowship from Zonta International Foundation in recognition of distinctive merit in Astrophysics studies. She is currently the European Space Agency (ESA) Chief Diversity Officer.
During her long career at ESA she held several positions i.a. in international relations, elaboration of high-level strategies, preparation of decisions at Member States’ ministerial meetings, and supported the creation of the European Space Policy Institute in Vienna. She participated to the formulation of the first ESA Exploration programme, worked as coordinator of Science and Human Spaceflight activities and had the responsibility as Executive Secretary of the Science and Technology Advisory Group on Exploration in charge of selecting experiments for exploration missions, including ExoMars. She worked four years at the ESA Washington Office ensuring relations with NASA and with US stakeholders and Canada.
As ESA Chief Diversity Officer, she fosters the values of diversity and inclusiveness, encouraging as well the interest of girls/ women in STEM studies and careers in the space sector.
Ersilia Vaudo was Member of the Board of Directors of Women in Aerospace USA, and she is currently member of the International Women’s Forum, of the Women’s Forum Daring Circle of Women in STEM, and of Women in Aerospace – Europe, and is one of the #100esperte list of Fondazione Bracco.
In 2019 she was nominated for the European Diversity Awards in the “Head of Diversity of the Year” category and in 2020 ESA received the prestigious “Excellence in 3G Diversity Award” from the International Astronautical Federation for its achievements in fostering diversity in the space sector.
In February 2020 she has been nominated as an expert of the Italian Ministry for Equal Opportunities and Family to coordinate the working group for the promotion of a higher presence of women in STEM fields and mathematics in particular.
Since April 2020, she has been part of the “12 Women for a New Renaissance” Taskforce established by the Italian Minister for Equal Opportunities and Family, where she has contributed to the formulation of proposals concerning “Research, STEM, and skill development”.