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Ilina Singh


Professor of Neuroscience & Society

  • Co-Director: Wellcome Trust Centre for Ethics and the Humanities
  • Distinguished Research Fellow: Oxford Uehiro Centre

Research on the social and ethical dimensions of research and innovation in neuroscience and psychiatry



Team Members

Kaelene Mistretta: NEUROSEC Research Manager

Dr Alexandra Almeida: NEUROSEC Research Manager (maternity cover)

Becci Curtis, Research Administrator

Paolo Corsico: Research Assistant

Gulamabbas Lakha: NEUROSEC DPhil


Global Initiative in Neuropsychiatric GenEthics (NeuroGenE) (in collaboration with the Stanley Centre, Broad Institute of Harvard and MIT)

Dr Camillia KongSenior Researcher; Director of Research Strategy

Kiran Manku, Research Assistant

Mehret Efrem: Research Assistant (as of January 2018)


Becoming Good: Early Intervention and Moral Development in Child Psychiatry (BeGOOD) Wellcome Trust Investigator Award

Dr Rodolfo Maggio: BeGOOD Postdoctoral Fellow; Mothers: Early Intervention Ethics

Dr Gabriela Pavarini: BeGOOD Postdoctoral Fellow: Citizens: Early Intervention Ethics

Jessica Lorimer: BeGOOD Research Assistant; Psychosis: Early Intervention Ethics and Citizens: EIE

Arianna Manzini: Wellcome Trust DPhil; Citizens: Early Intervention Ethics

Rose Mortimer: Wellcome Trust DPhil; Mothers: Early Intervention Ethics


Real world outcomes across the Alzheimer’s Disease spectrum for better care: Multi-modal data access platform (ROADMAP) EU IMI2

Dr Alex McKeown: Postdoctoral Researcher


NIHR Biomedical Research Centre: Oxford Health BRC (NEUROSEC-affiliated project)

Sandra Regan: PPI Coordinator



I hold a doctorate in human development and psychology from Harvard University; over the past decade I have added to these foundations through extensive work in bioethics and in sociology. I bring this interdisciplinary perspective to my current research through an approach known as empirical ethics.

My research focuses on the social and ethical dimensions of innovations in neuroscience, psychiatry and related areas. In the therapeutic realm, I am particularly interested in translational impacts for children and families. My outlook is local and global, with an emphasis on connecting contextual, empirical investigations with ethical analysis and policy deliberations (empirical ethics). I believe that good neuroscience ethics requires a firm grip on the science and the ethics, and that respect for patients and understanding of context make for good and relevant neuro-ethical contributions.

Much of my work reflects a longstanding commitment to bringing the first person experiences of children and young people into ethical evaluation, clinical decision-making and policy-making. To do this, colleagues and I develop and study innovative methods of data collection and data presentation using a range of approaches, including qualitative and quantitative methods, mobile technologies, video and virtual reality.

My team is supported in part by a Senior Investigator Award from the Wellcome Trust for a project entitled: Becoming Good: Early Intervention and Moral Development in Child Psychiatry, 2015-2020. This project follows on from a Wellcome Trust university award for VOICES: Voices on Identity, Childhood, Ethics & Stimulants: Children join the debate. See: VOICES publications and videos have had impacts on clinical training and communication in the UK and around the world. In related work on ‘smart drugs’ and cognitive enhancement, we have influenced national health and policy deliberations in the UK, Europe and the United States (see and Singh et al, PLOS ONE). 

I have contributed to various scientific and policy groups, including the UK National Institutes of Clinical Excellence (NICE), US National Institutes of Mental Health (NIMH) and the Nuffield Council on Bioethics. I am co-chair of the Ethics Advisory Board for the EU-AIMS project on autism treatments ( and an expert advisor for the National Autism Project (



My team’s location within Oxford Psychiatry and Neuroscience is a key strength of our programme, allowing us to develop work that is integrated with world-leading, cutting edge research and clinical development in psychiatry and neuroscience. We also maintain an important independence, grounded in cross-appointment to the Oxford Uehiro Centre in Philosophy and concrete affiliations with the Oxford Ethox Centre in the Nuffield Department of Population Health.

The range and scale of ethics and societal foresight needs in psychiatry and neuroscience are extensive and exciting. We work with colleagues across Oxford and beyond who have relevant ethics and social science expertise for specific projects, and we build collaborative, multi-disciplinary teams that represent genuine, critically engaged and reflexive integration of science, ethics and society.

We are involved in developing ethics research and guidance for a range of scientific and clinical studies in Oxford Psychiatry and Neuroscience, including projects in forensic psychiatry, bi-polar disorder, psychosis, anorexia nervosa and global child development. We also provide ethics advice and foresight analysis to projects involving ‘big neuro’ and personalised mental health. 



BREAKING NEWS.  In 2017 we will launch the new Wellcome Centre for Ethics, Innovation and Globalisation in Medicine (PIs: Prof Michael Parker - Director; Prof Mark Harrison, Prof Julian Savulescu, Prof Ilina Singh).  The Centre is an exciting new interdisciplinary venture in ethics, science and the humanities, supported by a major grant from the Wellcome Trust. We will post jobs and opportunities here, and on a dedicated Centre website, to come.


Our multidisciplinary projects inform each other, such that researchers on our team have an opportunity to build knowledge and to exchange expertise across the range of projects and disciplines.

This integrative and responsive, yet critically reflexive perspective informs the development of a teaching and ethics advising programme in Psy-Ethics, building on current strengths across Oxford (for example, in the Oxford Ethox Centre and in the Department of Philosophy) and the Oxford NHS Trust. In collaboration with Oxford colleagues working on Public Patient Interaction (PPI), we will also be developing Society and Ethics Foresight projects, capitalizing on our co-location with Psychiatry and Neuroscience to anticipate and evaluate the societal impacts of translation-near interventions and innovations.


I welcome approaches from potential postdocs who have demonstrated excellence in prior work. Although internal resources for postdoc projects can be considered, in almost all cases potential fellows will need to apply for funding or bring their own funding. 


I can provide supervision for MSc or DPhil (PhD) projects in the following areas. Most projects will need to have an empirical basis (we use both quantitative and qualitative methods). Where appropriate, projects will be co-supervised with colleagues who bring relevant expertise. Approaches from scientists are very welcome:

  • Ethical and/or social dimensions of child mental health, particularly ADHD, Autism and Psychosis
  • Social and/or ethical dimensions of child development; esp early intervention, moral development
  • Neuroenhancement
  • Social and/or ethical dimensions of neuroscience technology innovation
  • Clinical decision-making and communication in the context of children and families
  • Patient engagement/involvement in the context of science, industry, health, society
  • Global mental health
Direct Entry Research Degrees