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Doctor Rafael Mestre

Dr Rafael Mestre

 PhD, MSc, BSc
New Frontiers Fellow

Research interests

  • Responsible Research and Innovation of emergent technologies
  • Multimodal machine learning and Natural Language Processing
  • Computational social science

More research

Accepting applications from PhD students.


Address: B60, West Highfield Campus, 104-118 Burgess Road, SO17 1TW (View in Google Maps)


Dr Mestre joined the University of Southampton in 2021 and is currently a New Frontiers Fellow in Machine Learning at the School of Electronics and Computer Science of the University of Southampton. Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the 'Rebooting Democracy' project at the Politics and International Relations Department. He's now the PI of the ESRC New Investigator award "A framework for research governance and application of bio-hybrid robotics", where he researches social, ethical and policy implications of emergent technologies using mixed research methods. 

His research is interdisciplinary and lies at the interface of computer science and political science. Much of his research efforts are focused on computational social science (and argumentation mining in particular) using multimodal machine learning methods (text-as-data, image-as-data, audio-as-data). He also studies digital tools for deliberation applied to democratic innovations; the ethics, social implications and governance of emergent technologies like natural language processing (NLP) and bio-hybrid robots; and the application of machine learning in digital humanities. He's a member of the steering committee of the Centre for Democratic Futures (CDF), an Associate at the Digital Humanities (DH) hub of the University and a member of the Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS).

In the past, during his PhD defended in November 2020, he researched at the Institute for Bioengineering of Catalonia (IBEC) in the development of bio-hybrid robotics and nanorobotics, at the interface of fields like tissue engineering, biomedicine, material science, computer science, physics, 3D-bioprinting, robotics and computer vision. He published his research in journals like Science Robotics, Advanced Materials Technologies or Biofabrication, he submitted a patent and collaborated with private companies. 

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