Dr Tara Mahfoud

Department of Sociology
Dr Tara Mahfoud
  • Email

  • Telephone

    +44 (0) 1206 872663

  • Location

    5A.336, Colchester Campus

  • Academic support hours

    by appointment



Tara Mahfoud is a Lecturer in the Department of Sociology. Before joining the University of Essex, Tara was a Research Associate in the Department of Global Health and Social Medicine at King’s College London, and a Visiting Research Fellow in the Science, Technology and Society programme at Harvard University. Trained in sociology and anthropology, her work explores the intersections between science, technology and medicine. She conducts multi-sited qualitative research on the cultural, social, and political contexts and implications of developments in the neurosciences, primarily in Europe.


  • PhD King's College London,

  • MA School of Oriental and African Studies,

  • BA American University of Beirut,

Research and professional activities

Research interests

Science and Technology Studies

Open to supervise

Neuroscience and Society

Open to supervise

Dual Use

Open to supervise

Responsible Research and Innovation

Open to supervise

Medical Anthropology

Open to supervise

Conferences and presentations

Between Open Science and Security: Mitigating Dual-Use in European Digital Neuroscience Infrastructure.

Making Europe through Infrastructures of (in)security Workshop, Vienna, Austria, 13/11/2020

Formal and Informal Infrastructures of Collaboration in the EU’s Human Brain Project.

EASST/4S 2020 Conference, 20/8/2020

Formal and Informal Infrastructures of Collaboration in the EU’s Human Brain Project.

International Workshop, From multidisciplinary collaborations to interdisciplinary communities., London, United Kingdom, 16/1/2020

The Biological Imitation Game; Or the sublime similarity of brain simulation.

Invited presentation, Seminar, Neurological Imaginaries Seminar Series, Toronto, Canada, 8/11/2019

Blue Skies and Glimmering Stars: Visions of the Human Brain Project.

Invited presentation, Seminar, Fellows Meeting, Cambridge, United States, 22/10/2019

Agonistic Friendship in Interdisciplinary Engagements.

Conference, Science in Public, Manchester, United Kingdom, 10/7/2019

On Friendship: Reflections on Reflexivity in Responsible Research and Innovation.

Conference, Science in Public, Cardiff, United Kingdom, 19/12/2018

“Data Communities: the politics of unification and integration in European neuroscience.

Conference, 117th Annual Meeting, San Jose, United States, 16/11/2018

Big Data and Machine Learning for Neuro-Diagnostics: Opportunities and Challenges for Clinical Translation"

Conference, Science, Technology and Innovation Studies: Critical Inquiries in Theory and Practice, Manchester, United Kingdom, 9/9/2018

Visions of Unification and Integration: an ethnography of the European Human Brain Project.

Conference, European Association for the Study of Science and Technology, Lancaster, United Kingdom, 26/7/2018

A-Model: Simulation, Neuroinformatics, and Classification in the Neurosciences.

Invited presentation, Workshop, Laboratories of health: human and non-human subjects, London, United Kingdom, 1/6/2018

On Oliver Sacks’s Awakenings as Ethnography.

Invited presentation, Workshop, Neurovision, London, United Kingdom, 1/5/2018

The complex and conflicted ethics of collaboration.

Keynote presentation, Conference, Transdisciplinary Research Linking Neuroscience, Brain Medicine and Computer Science., Vienna, Austria, 9/2/2017

For model’s sake! Curation, Integration, and Strategic Data Collection in the European Human Brain Project

Conference, 115th Annual Meeting, Minneapolis, United States, 16/11/2016

Blue Seas and Glimmering Stars: Visions of the Human Brain Project.

Workshop, Research, Reverie & The Wandering Imagination., Cambridge, United Kingdom, 6/9/2016

Spurious Categories: A study of data-model symbiosis in the Human Brain Project

Conference, Lives and Deaths of Data, Barcelona, Spain, 2/9/2016

Belief, Time and ‘Big Neuroscience’: Negotiating what to model in the European Human Brain Project

Workshop, Vital Brains: The Making and Use of Models in Neuroscience, Berlin, Germany, 7/4/2016

Teaching and supervision

Current teaching responsibilities

  • The Sociological Imagination (SC111)

  • Psychiatry and Mental Illness (SC326)


Journal articles (4)

Mahfoud, T., (2021). Visions of Unification and Integration: Building Brains and Communities in the European Human Brain Project. New Media and Society. 23 (2), 322-343

Datta Burton, S., Mahfoud, T., Aicardi, C. and Rose, N., (2021). Clinical translation of computational brain models: understanding the salience of trust in clinician-researcher relationships.. Interdisciplinary Science Reviews. 46 (1-2), 138-157

Mahfoud, T., Aicardi, C., Datta, S. and Rose, N., (2018). The Limits of Dual Use. Issues in Science and Technology. 34 (4)

Mahfoud, T., (2014). Extending the mind: a review of ethnographies of neuroscience practice. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience. 8

Books (1)

Mahfoud, T., McLean, S. and Rose, N., (2017). Vital Models The Making and Use of Models in the Brain Sciences. Academic Press. 0128125586. 9780128125588

Conferences (1)

Datta Burton, S., Aicardi, C., Mahfoud, T. and Rose, N., (2018). Understanding Interstate Competitiveness and International Security in European Dual-Use Research

Reports and Papers (3)

Mahfoud, T., Aicardi, C., Bitsch, L., Datta Burton, S., Evers, K., Farisco, M., Rose, N., Rosemann, A., Salles, A., Stahl, B. and Ulnicane, I., (2021). Opinion on Trust and Transparency in Artificial Intelligence.

Aicardi, C., Datta Burton, S., Mahfoud, T. and Rose, N., (2019). Machine Learning and Big Data for Neuro-Diagnostics: Opportunities and Challenges for Clinical Translation

Aicardi, C., Bitsch, L., Bådum, NB., Datta, S., Evers, K., Farisco, M., Fothergill, T., Giordano, J., Harris, E., Jørgensen, ML., Klüver, L., Mahfoud, T., Rainey, S., Riisgaard, K., Rose, N., Salles, A., Stahl, B. and Ulnicane, I., (2018). Opinion on ‘Responsible Dual Use’: Political, Security, Intelligence and Military Research of Concern in Neuroscience and Neurotechnology

Other (5)

Fletcher, JR., Cavaliere, G., Ermansons, G., Fonseca, S., Green, C., Mahfoud, T., Maun, E., McLean, S., Wynne Bannister, E. and Tinker, A., (2020).Capacity building in practice: how involving early career researchers in research awards can contribute to their development. Social Research Practice(9),Social Research Association

Mahfoud, T., Bowen, S., Ermansons, G., McLean, S. and Quinton, P., (2020).Memory / Habit / Addiction: Workshop Report by the Neuroscience and Society Network,Somatosphere

Pokorny, J., De Meyer, K., Haueis, P., Mahfoud, T. and McLean, S., (2018).The Mercurial Life of Drugs: Psychedelics as models, risk factors, and treatments for mental disorders. Somatosphere

Mahfoud, T., (2017).Malignant: How Cancer Becomes Us / a conversation with Lochlann Jain. Somatosphere

Mahfoud, T. and McLean, S., (2015).Towards Neuro-Social Science: The Politics and Pragmatics of Collaboration.. Somatosphere

+44 (0) 1206 872663


5A.336, Colchester Campus

Academic support hours:

by appointment