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Personal profile


Dr Barbara Barbosa Neves (PhD, FRSA) is an award-winning sociologist of technology and ageing. She is an internationally recognised expert on loneliness, social isolation, and socio-digital inequalities among older people. 

Her expertise has been acknowledged via appointments to key committees (e.g., elected board member of the International Sociological Association – ISA/RC06 – since 2010), prestigious prizes, visiting positions (UK, Norway, Belgium), and speaking invitations. She has delivered over 32 invited keynotes and 73 talks across five continents.

Barbara studies lived experiences of loneliness and exclusion among older Australians living in aged care facilities and alone. Her research also explores the role of AI, VR, and robotics for social connectedness in later life. This work has been used to improve technology for frail older people and to inform care practices and policy in Canada, Portugal, and Australia.

Her studies on loneliness and technology have received awards and honours in North America, Japan, Europe (UK, Belgium, Portugal), and Australia. In 2022, she was named a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (UK). In 2019, she was named by the ABC and University of Sydney among the ABC Top 5 Humanities and Social Science Scholars in Australia. In 2019, she was honoured with the annual Jacques Leclercq Chair at the University of Louvain, Belgium.

Barbara has been awarded competitive funding from the European Union, Medical Research Future Fund (MRFF, NHMRC, Australia), Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC), Networks of Centres of Excellence of Canada (NCE), Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Australian Dept. of Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australian Dept. of Veterans' Affairs, among others. She has also secured several industry funding from aged care and technology organisations. 

Barbara has a background in sociology and human-computer interaction (computer science). Prior to moving to Australia, she was an Associate Director at the Technologies for Aging Gracefully Lab, Department of Computer Science, University of Toronto, Canada. She moved to the University of Melbourne in 2016 and to Monash University in 2019. 

She has published widely in top-tier journals/outlets in Social and Computer Sciences, including Sociology, New Media & Society, Journal of Mixed Methods Research, The Gerontologist, The Sociological Review, Information Communication & Society, International Journal of Social Robotics, CHI, CSCW, PLOS One.

Barbara is a regular media commentator on loneliness, ageing, and technology. Her work has been featured in media outlets in Australia, North America, Europe, Latin America & Asia. She has contributed to ABC, CBC, SBS, Channel 7, The Guardian, TVO, The Age, The Sydney Morning Herald, TVO, RTP, among others. She has penned over 10 op-eds, including for the ABC and The Conversation – for example: I spent five years speaking with people in nursing homes. This is what I learnt about loneliness and 'I tell everyone I love being on my own, but I hate it’: what older Australians want you to know about loneliness.

She was recently featured in the SBS documentary ‘What does Australia really think about old people?’, where she covered loneliness and ageism.

Further information can be found on her website

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Development Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 3 - Good Health and Well-being
  • SDG 10 - Reduced Inequalities
  • SDG 16 - Peace, Justice and Strong Institutions

External positions

Editorial Board, Sociology (Journal)

Apr 2022 → …

Associate Editor, Journal of Family Studies

2019 → …

Affiliated Researcher, AGE-WELL, Canada’s technology and aging network

2016 → …

Elected Board Member, International Sociological Association

2010 → …

Research area keywords

  • Sociology of Technology
  • Ageing
  • Loneliness
  • Human-Computer Interaction
  • Social isolation
  • Social Inequalities
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Digital Technologies
  • Emerging technologies
  • Social Connection
  • Co-Design
  • Participatory research
  • Mixed methods research
  • Virtual Reality
  • Emotions
  • Ageism
  • Aged Care


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or