Nora (N.C.) Engel



Personal statement:

I am associate professor at the Department of Health, Ethics & Society (HES) and a core team member of the Global Health master's programme. 

My research focuses on innovation dynamics in global health challenges (such as tuberculosis) and on the sociology of diagnostics and innovations at the point-of-care in India and South Africa. I obtained my PhD degree at UNU-Merit, United Nations University and University of Maastricht with a Science and Technology Studies (STS) informed analysis of innovation in tuberculosis control efforts in India. From September 2006 until April 2011 I was a PhD fellow in UNU-Merit´s PhD Programme on Innovation Studies and Development.I have a background in Media and Communication Sciences, Psychology and Art History from the University of Zurich as well as Humboldt University and Freie University in Berlin.

Main research projects:

In 2014 I have been awarded a VENI grant (personal innovational research incentives scheme) from the Dutch Science Foundation (NWO) titled ‘Fighting global infectious diseases locally’. As part of this project I will be studying innovation processes of point-of-care diagnostics (mainly for TB and HIV) and the role that social science insights play therein. The aim of this project is to examine how innovators of point-of-care diagnostics and delivery programs incorporate local settings and how social science notions of ‘attuning-to-local-contexts’ mediate global health innovations.

Prior to that I conducted a collaborative research project with Prof. Madhukar Pai (McGill University) on barriers to point-of-care testing in India and South Africa, funded by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. In this project we examined diagnostic practices across different points of care and by a variety of actors in collaboration with colleagues at the Institute of Public Health (Bangalore, India) and the University of Cape Town (South Africa).

For my PhD project titled "Tuberculosis in India: A case of innovation and control" I researched innovation dynamics in organizational, strategic, technological and service delivery aspects of public Tuberculosis control in India. The extensive qualitative fieldwork in India is based on in-depth interviews with key stakeholders, documentary research and visits to various sites.


All my teaching takes place within the master of Global Health. I am currently on research break but usually teach the following:

  • Coordinator and tutor in the module “Governing Health in a Global Context”
  • Tutor in “Foundations 1 & 2”
  • Coordinator and tutor in the elective track “Implementing Innovations”
  • Supervisor master theses



Engel, N., (2015) Tuberculosis in India: A case of innovation and control. Delhi: Orient BlackSwan Ltd.

Engel, N., Van  Hoyweghen, I., & Krumeich, A. (Eds.). (2014). Making global health care innovation work: Standardization and localization. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.


Book Chapters

Engel, N. (2014). Multi-drug-resistant Tuberculosis. In: David McQueen (Ed.), Oxford Bibliographies in Public Health. New York: Oxford University Press,

Van Alphen, I. A. S., Engel, N., & Vaz, M. (2014). Local perspectives on universal bioethics: A qualitative study on informed consent in South India. In N. Engel, I. Van  Hoyweghen & A. Krumeich (Eds.), Making global health care innovation work: Standardization and localization (pp. 41-61). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Zvonareva, O., & Engel, N. (2014). Payments in clinical research: Views and experiences of participants in South Africa. In N. Engel, I. Van  Hoyweghen & A. Krumeich (Eds.), Making global health care innovation work: Standardization and localization (pp. 63-79). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Nguyen Thi Mai, P., & Engel, N. (2014). Community health workers in a community-based tuberculosis program: Linking different social worlds. In N. Engel, I. Van  Hoyweghen & A. Krumeich (Eds.), Making global health care innovation work: Standardization and localization (pp. 81-96). New York: Palgrave Macmillan.

Engel, N. & M. Pai. (2014). Tuberculosis, Drug-Resistant. In: B.S. Steel (ed.), Science and Politics: An A to Z Guide to Issues and Controversies. Sage/CQ Press. pp: 509-513.

Engel, N. (2008). University Patenting and its Effects: An Assessment for Developing Countries. In: C. Sri Krishna (ed.), Technology Transfer: Intellectual Property Rights. Hyderabad, India: Amicus Books, The Icfai University Press, pp. 127-142. 



Engel, N., & Pai, M. (2013). Tuberculosis diagnostics: Why we need more qualitative research. Journal of Epidemiology and Global Health, doi:10.1016/j.jegh.2013.04.002.

Montgomery, C. M., Kingori, P., Sariola, S., & Engel, N. (2017). Guest editorial to special issue: Critique and Complicity: STS and Global Health. Science & Technology Studies, 30(3), 2-12. doi: 



Engel, N., Yellapa, V., Pant Pai, N., & Pai, M. (2017). Diagnosing at Point of Care in South India: Coordination work and frictions. Science & Technology Studies, 30(3), 54-72. doi: (part of the special issue STS and Global Health: Critique and complicity)

Engel, N., Davids, M., Blankvoort, N., Dheda, K., Pant Pai, N., & Pai, M. (2017). Making HIV testing work at the point of care in South Africa: a qualitative study of diagnostic practices. BMC Health Services Research, 17(1), 408. doi:10.1186/s12913-017-2353-6

Yellapa, V., Devadasan, N., Krumeich, A., Pant Pai, N., Vadnais, C., Pai, M., & Engel, N. (2017). How patients navigate the diagnostic ecosystem in a fragmented health system: a qualitative study from India. Global Health Action, 10(1), 1350452. doi:10.1080/16549716.2017.1350452

Macintyre, K,  M. I. Bakker, S. Bergson, R. Bhavaraju, V. Bond, J. Chikovore, C. Colvin, G. M. Craig, A. L. Cremers, A. Daftary, N. Engel, N. Ferris France, E. Jaramillo, M. Kimerling, A. Kipp, S. Krishnaratne, C. Mergenthaler, M. Ngicho, L. Redwood, E. J. J. Rood, N. Sommerland, A. Stangl, A. van Rie, W. van Brakel, E. Wouters, A. Zwerling, Mitchell E. M. H. (2017). Defining the research agenda to measure and reduce tuberculosis stigmas. The International Journal of Tuberculosis and Lung Disease, 21(11), S87-S96. doi:10.5588/ijtld.17.0151

Craig, G. M., Daftary, A., Engel, N., O'Driscoll, S., & Ioannaki, A. (2016). Tuberculosis stigma as a social determinant of health: a systematic mapping review of research in low incidence countries. Int J Infect Dis(56), 90-100. doi:10.1016/j.ijid.2016.10.011

Pai, N. P., Smallwood, M., Gulati, D., Lapczak, N., Musten, A., Gaydos, C., Johnsont, C., Steben, M., Wong, T., Engel, N., & J. Kim (2017). What do Key Stakeholders Think About HIV Self-Testing in Canada? Results from a Cross-Sectional Survey. [journal article]. AIDS and Behavior, 1-10.

Engel, N., Wachter, K., Pai, M., Gallarda, J., Boehme, C., Celentano, I., & R. Weintraub (2016). Addressing the challenges of diagnostics demand and supply: insights from an online global health discussion platform. BMJ Global Health, 1(4).


Zvonareva O., Engel N., Kutishenko N., Horstman K. (2016) (Re)configuring research value: International commercial clinical trials in the Russian  Federation. BioSocieties, doi:10.1057/biosoc.2016.11 

Engel, N., Ganesh, G., Patil, M., Yellappa, V., Vadnais, C., Pant Pai, N., M. Pai (2015). "Point-of-care testing in India: missed opportunities to realize the true potential of point-of-care testing programs." BMC Health Services Research 15(1): 550.

Engel, N., Ganesh, G., Patil, M., Yellappa, V., Pant Pai, N., Vadnais, C., et al. (2015). Barriers to Point-of-Care Testing in India: Results from Qualitative Research across Different Settings, Users and Major Diseases. PLoS ONE, 10(8), e0135112.

Engel, N., Davids, M., Blankvoort, N., Pai, N. P., Dheda, K., & Pai, M. (2015). Compounding diagnostic delays: a qualitative study of point-of-care testing in South Africa. Tropical Medicine & International Health, 20(4), 493-500.

Davids, M., et al. Dheda, K., Pant Pai, N., Cogill, D., Pai, M., Engel, N. (2015). "A Survey on Use of Rapid Tests and Tuberculosis Diagnostic Practices by Primary Health Care Providers in South Africa: Implications for the Development of New Point-of-Care Tests." PLoS ONE 10(10): e0141453.

Pai, N. P., Wilkinson, S., Deli-Houssein, R., Vijh, R., Vadnais, C., Behlim, T., Steben, M., Engel, N., Wong, T. (2015). "Barriers to Implementation of Rapid and Point-of-Care Tests for Human Immunodeficiency Virus Infection: Findings From a Systematic Review (1996-2014)." Point Care 14(3): 81-87.

Zvonareva, O., Engel, N., Martsevich, S., de Wert, G., & Horstman, K. (2015). International clinical trials, cardiovascular disease and treatment options in the Russian Federation: Research and treatment in practice. Social Science & Medicine, 128(0), 255-262.

Engel, N., & Pant Pai, N. (2014). Qualitative research on point-of-care testing strategies and programs for HIV. Expert Review of Molecular Diagnostics, 1-5. doi: 10.1586/14737159.2015.960518

Engel, N. & Lente, H. van (2014). Organizational Innovation and Control Practices: The Case of Public-Private Mix in Tuberculosis Control in India. Sociology of Health & Illness, 36 (6), 917-931. doi: 10.1111/1467-9566.12125 

Pant Pai, N., Behlim, T., Abrahams, L., Vadnais, C., Shivkumar, S., Pillay, S., Binder, A., Deli-Houssein, A., Engel, N., Joseph, L. & K. Dheda (2013). Will an Unsupervised Self-Testing Strategy for HIV Work in Health Care Workers of South Africa? A Cross Sectional Pilot Feasibility Study. PLoS ONE, 8(11), e79772.

Engel, N. & Zeiss, R. (2014). Situating Standards in Practices: Multi drug-resistant Tuberculosis Treatment in India. Science as Culture, 23 (2), 201-225. doi: 10.1080/09505431.2013.837875

Zvonareva, O., Engel, N., Ross, E., Berghmans, R., Dhai, A., & Krumeich, A. (2013). Engaging Diverse Social and Cultural Worlds: Perspectives on Benefits in International Clinical Research From South African Communities. Developing World Bioethics, doi:10.1111/dewb.12030.

Pai, N. P., Vadnais, C., Denkinger, C., Engel, N., & Pai, M. (2012). Point-of-Care Testing for Infectious Diseases: Diversity, Complexity, and Barriers in Low- And Middle-Income Countries. PLoS Med, 9(9), e1001306.

Engel, N. (2012). The making of a public health problem: multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in India, Health Policy and Planning, doi: 10.1093/heapol/czs069.  

Engel, N. & W. Bijker (2012). Innovating Tuberculosis Control in India, Economic & Political Weekly, 47(4): pp.111-118.

Engel, N. (2011). Local adaptation versus standardization? Treatment delivery for multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis in India, Medische Antropologie, 23 (1) pp.45-61,  

Engel, N., Kenneth, J., & Pai, M. (2012). TB diagnostics in India: creating an ecosystem for innovation. Expert Review Molecular Diagnostics, 12(1), 21-24.

Engel, N. (2012) New diagnostics for multi-drug resistant tuberculosis in India: Innovating control and controlling innovation. BioSocieties (1), pp. 50–71.


Professional Publications

Engel, N., J Kenneth & M Pai, 2011, TB diagnostics in India: from importation and imitation to innovation, Express Pharma,

Engel, N. & M. Pai, (2011). Challenges for Innovation in TB Diagnostics. Lessons from a recent conference in Bangalore, India. A guest blog for the Center for Global Health R&D Policy Assessment of the Results for Development Institute, 



2016 together with Salla Sariola: Session organized on Research as Development? Science and Technology Studies in Low-Income Settings, 15th Annual STS conference Graz 2016 – Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies, May 9-10, Graz.

2016: on Developing Point of Care Tests for Global Health, 15th Annual STS conference Graz 2016 – Critical Issues in Science and Technology Studies, May 9-10, Graz.

2016: on barriers to point of care testing in India and South Africa, UNESCO Chair in Technologies for Development: From Innovation to Social Impact, 2-4 May, EPFL, Lausanne.

2016: invited speaker on responsible innovation for global health, Worldwide University Network (WUN) workshop on Global Health, 2-7 April, Maastricht University.

2015: invited speaker on book discussion Science and Democracy, WTMC annual meeting, December 11, Amsterdam

2015: invited speaker to Brocher Symposium on Outsourcing the laboratory? (Point of Care) Diagnostic technologies and the rise of a testing paradigm in Global Health, September 15-16, Brocher Foundation Geneva.

2015: invited speaker on qualitative research on TB diagnostics & Barriers to Point-of-Care Diagnostics; Advanced Tuberculosis Diagnostics Research Course 2015, Montreal, July ,McGill University, Canada

2015: Invited Speaker on Innovating tuberculosis control in India; inaugural conference for the ERC project From International to Global: Knowledge, Diseases and the Postwar Government of Health, February 12-14, Paris.

2014: invited speaker on qualitative research on TB diagnostics & Barriers to Point-of-Care Diagnostics; Advanced Tuberculosis Diagnostics Research Course 2014, Montreal, July ,McGill University, Canada

2014: invited speaker on Innovating tuberculosis diagnostics for the point of care; ASA14, Association of Social Anthropologists UK, June 19-22, Edinburgh (invited by Ian Harper & Helen MacDonald)

2014: invited speaker to workshop on Diagnostics, Disease and Development, January 30, Edinburgh, organized by University Edinburgh, invited by Ian Harper

2013, invited speaker (in collaboration with Mamata Patil & Vijayashree) on preliminary results from ongoing research on Barriers to Point-of-Care Diagnostics; Meeting on target product profiles and TB diagnostics market analysis, Paris, October 31, McGill University & Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

 2013, invited speaker on Qualitative research on TB diagnostics & preliminary results from ongoing research on Barriers to Point-of-Care Diagnostics; Advanced Tuberculosis Diagnostics Research Course 2013, Montreal, July 8-12, McGill University, Canada


2013, invited speaker on Tuberculosis in India: A case of innovation and control; February 25, Seminar Series Institute of Public Health (IPH), Bangalore, India.

2012, on Innovating tuberculosis diagnostics: Tracing attempts from global to local sites; Annual Meeting 4S, EASST, October 17-20, Copenhagen.

2012, on Qualitative research on TB diagnostics; Advanced Tuberculosis Diagnostics Research Course 2012, Montreal, July 9-13, McGill University, Canada

2012 Invited lecture on TB in India - A case of innovation and control, 10.5.2012, clinical meeting Hinduja Hospital, Mumbai.  

2011 On The making of a global health challenge: MDR-TB in India, Annual Meeting 4S 11, Society for Social Studies of Science, November 2-5, Cleveland, Ohio. 

2011 Invited guest lecture on Tuberculosis in India & the construction of MDR-TB as a public problem, February 3, Global Health Master, Maastricht University, Maastricht 

2010 On Diagnostics for Multi-Drug Resistant Tuberculosis in India: Innovation and Control, Thirteenth Berlin Roundtables on Transnationality, Health Politics in an Interconnected World, Irmgard Coninx Foundation, December 1-5, Berlin 

2009 On Innovation in Tuberculosis control in India: The shift to new partnerships, Annual Meeting 4S 09, Society for Social Studies of Science, October 28-31, Hyatt Regency Crystal City, Washington DC 

2009 On Analyzing Innovation in Tuberculosis Control in India, Globelics, Dakar, Senegal, 6-8 Oct 

2009 Invited paper presentation, on the shift to new partnerships in TB control in India, Universal Access and Rational Therapy- A Dissemination Workshop on Tracing Pharmaceutical in South Asia (TPSA) project, organized by CHSJ, Centad, AIDAN and University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh, Scotland 

2009 On Reacting to MDR-TB in India, Seminar presentation at TI&S (Technology, Innovation and Society) seminar series at Eindhoven Centre for Innovation Studies (ECIS), Technische Universiteit Eindhoven, The Netherlands 

2009 On Reactions to MDR-TB in India, Sixth International Conference on Health Equity and Human Rights, organized by School of Social Sciences and International Studies, Pondicherry Univeristy, Puducherry, India 

2009 On Flexibility and innovation in response to emerging infectious diseases: Reactions to multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis in India, The 4th inter-congress of Indian National Confederation and Academy of Anthropologists, organized by Department of Anthropology University of Hyderabad, India


Health, Ethics and Society (Assistant professor)