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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

Dr Alexandra Almeida: NEUROSEC Research Manager 

Ieva Vitolina, Research Administrator

Laura Epton, Participation and Public Engagement Manager 

Gulamabbas Lakha, DPhil Student

Global Initiative in Neuropsychiatric GenEthics (NeuroGenE)

Dr Rosemary Musesengwa: Senior Researcher in Mental Health Ethics 

Kiran Manku, Research Assistant

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

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

Paolo Corsico: Research Assistant

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

Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities

David Lyreskog: Researcher in Mental Health Ethics (part-funded by a Wellcome Trust Enrichment Award)

Dr Sapfo Ligno: Postdoctoral Researcher in Collaboration Ethics (part-funded by the Oxford Health BRC)

MRC Data Pathfinder for Mental Health

Dr Alex McKeown: Postdoctoral Researcher

Dr Miranda Mourby: Researcher in Law (consultant from HeLEX Centre ) 


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

BRC website

Claire Murray: PPI Manager



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 and digital games.

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

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, working across other key centres for excellence in ethics in Oxford. As of 2018, NEUROSEC is proud to have close association with the Wellcome Centre for Ethics and Humanities, of which I am a Co-Director.

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. 


Key publications

Recent publications

More publications


BREAKING NEWS.  The new Wellcome Centre for Ethics and the Humanities has its official launch on June 18th, 2018.  See  

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. 


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.


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 developmentSocial and/or ethical dimensions of neuroscience technology innovation
  • Patient engagement/involvement in the context of science, industry, health, society
  • Global mental health