Dr Luisa Enria


Assistant Professor

15-17 Tavistock Place
United Kingdom

My work applies approaches from political anthropology to studying community experiences of epidemic preparedness and response and humanitarian emergency interventions. I am also interested in the integration of social science perspectives in biomedical interventions and scientific research, and in particular the tensions and possibilities of interdisciplinary collaborations. I currently hold a UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship for a project titled "Crisis of Confidence: the Politics of Evidence and (Mis)Trust in Epidemic Preparedness and Response".

From 2016-20 I was a Lecturer in International Development at the University of Bath, where I also held an ESRC Fellowship for a project titled 'States of Emergency: Citizenship in Crisis in Sierra Leone'. In 2015-16 I worked as a Research Fellow at LSHTM based in Kambia, Northern Sierra Leone, working in the Ebola Vaccine Trials (EBOVAC) and carrying out ethnographic research on community experiences of the Ebola outbreak and its associated response, a project I continue to be involved in. In 2015 I completed a DPhil (PhD) from the University of Oxford, where my thesis explored the relationship between unemployment and political violence in post-war Sierra Leone, based on field research with young men and women in Freetown. This is now published as a book by James Currey titled "The Politics of Work in a Post-Conflict State: Youth, Labour and Violence in Sierra Leone " (2018)


Department of Global Health and Development
Faculty of Public Health and Policy


Vaccine Centre
Health in Humanitarian Crises Centre


I teach on the Principles of Social Research, Conflict & Health and Medical Anthropology Modules

I welcome enquiries from prospective PhD students


My current research projects include

- UKRI FLF: exploring the everday negotiations over evidence and between types of knowledge and disciplines across the different spaces that make up epidemic preparedness and response, from global policy-making to field interventions.

- EBOVAC: I support the social science research component of the Ebola vaccine trials taking place in Kambia, Sierra Leone. Our research includes community experiences and perspectives of the trial, community-based epidemic preparedness and legacies of biomedical research 

- AVID: I lead the Sierra Leone country case study for the Anthropology of Vaccine Deployment, focusing on the political economy of vaccine deployment and epidemic preparedness at District and National Level

- CHW-led research: I am the research lead on two connected projects to train Community Health Workers in Sierra Leone in social science methods to carry out research in their communities on vaccine hesitancy and more recently experiences of COVID-19 and associated response measures

- COVID-19 perception surveys: I am involved in a UK-based survey on experiences of the pandemic, and an adaptation of the survey for the Sierra Leonean context

- COVID-19 in Palestine: ELRHA-funded project on pandemic response measures in  Gaza

Research Area
Clinical trials
Global Health
Qualitative methods
Development studies
Political science
Social Sciences
Disease and Health Conditions
Infectious disease
Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTDs)
Sierra Leone
Sub-Saharan Africa (developing only)

Selected Publications

States of Feeling
Andreetta S; Enria L; Jarroux P; Verheul S
The Cambridge Journal of Anthropology
Negotiating the Role of Anthropological Evidence in Medical Research during Health Emergencies
Enria L; Lees S
Anthropology in Action: Journal for Applied Anthropology in Policy and Practice
Human preparedness: Relational infrastructures and medical countermeasures in Sierra Leone.
Lee SJ; Vernooij E; Enria L; Kelly AH; Rogers J; Ansumana R; Bangura MH; Lees S; Street A
Global public health
Family Planning in the Sierra Leone Ebola Outbreak: Women's Proximal and Distal Reasoning.
McKay G; Enria L; Nam SL; Fofanah M; Conteh SG; Lees S
Studies in family planning
Attributing public ignorance in vaccination narratives.
Vanderslott S; Enria L; Bowmer A; Kamara A; Lees S
Social science & medicine (1982)
Bringing the social into vaccination research: Community-led ethnography and trust-building in immunization programs in Sierra Leone.
Enria L; Bangura JS; Kanu HM; Kalokoh JA; Timbo AD; Kamara M; Fofanah M; Kamara AN; Kamara AI; Kamara MM
PloS one
Key social science priorities for long-term COVID-19 response.
Lees S; Sariola S; Schmidt-Sane M; Enria L; Tan K-A; Aedo A; Peeters Grietens K; Kaawa-Mafigiri D; COVID-19 Clinical Research Coalition Social Science Working Grou
BMJ Global Health
Three Acts of Resistance during the 2014–16 West Africa Ebola Epidemic
Marcis FL; Enria L; Abramowitz S; Saez A-M; Faye SLB
Journal of Humanitarian Affairs
The Politics of Work in a Post-Conflict State: Youth, Labour & Violence in Sierra Leone
Enria L
\"We are the heroes because we are ready to die for this country\": Participants' decision-making and grounded ethics in an Ebola vaccine clinical trial.
Tengbeh AF; Enria L; Smout E; Mooney T; Callaghan M; Ishola D; Leigh B; Watson-Jones D; Greenwood B; Larson H
Social science & medicine (1982)
'I must stand like a man': masculinity in crisis in post-war Sierra Leone'
Enria L
Masculinities Under Neoliberalism
Power, fairness and trust: understanding and engaging with vaccine trial participants and communities in the setting up the EBOVAC-Salone vaccine trial in Sierra Leone.
Enria L; Lees S; Smout E; Mooney T; Tengbeh AF; Leigh B; Greenwood B; Watson-Jones D; Larson H
BMC public health
See more Publications