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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.


Dr Mestre joined the University of Southampton in 2021 and is currently a New Frontiers Fellow at the School of Electronics and Computer Science of the University of Southampton and a Turing Fellow at the Alan Turing Institute. He's the PI of the ESRC New Investigator award "Biohybrid Futures: A framework for research governance and application of bio-hybrid robotics", where he researches social, ethical and policy implications of emergent technologies like biohybrid robotics using mixed research methods. He's also the PI of the RAI UK International Partnership grant RAI4MH: Exploring Fairness and Bias of Multimodal Natural Language Processing for Mental Health in collaboration with Northeastern University (US). 

His research is interdisciplinary and focuses on the responsible development and socio-technical evaluation of emerging technologies, at the interface of disciplines like computer science, science and technology studies 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 is co-director of the Centre for Democratic Futures (CDF), Ethics & Governance lead at the Centre for Robotics, Associate at the Digital Humanities (DH) hub of the University and a member of the Institute for Life Sciences (IfLS).

Prior to this, he was a postdoctoral Research Fellow in the 'Rebooting Democracy' project at the Politics and International Relations Department. 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.