Photo of Melissa Leach, IDS Director

Melissa Leach - Director

Directorate and Development Office
T: +44 (0)1273 915674
E: m.leach@ids.ac.uk

CV

Administrator:
Vanessa Borrino

Google Scholar URL:
goo.gl/wsFvO3

Melissa Leach is the Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. She founded and directed the ESRC STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre from 2006 to 2014, with its pioneering pathways approach to innovation, sustainability and development issues.

A geographer and social anthropologist, her interdisciplinary, policy-engaged research in Africa and beyond links environment, agriculture, health, technology and gender, with particular interests in knowledge, power and the politics of science and policy processes.

She is vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth; a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-food); and was lead author of UN Women’s World Survey on the Role of Women in Economic Development 2014. She co-founded the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform and was lead social scientist in the UK and WHO Ebola scientific advisory committees during 2014-15.

IDS researchers argue that there is an urgent need to look beyond the immediate, on-the-ground concerns of disease control and containment to consider the bigger and broader questions about international development.

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The STEPS Centre is an interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub, funded by the Economic and Social Research Council. It aims to develop a new approach to understanding, action and communication on sustainability and development.

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The next World Social Science Report due to be published in 2016 will focus on the critical contemporary issues of inequalities and justice.

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The aim of the Rapid Response Briefings (RRB) series is to support governments and development agencies in responding quickly to rapidly emerging phenomena and unexpected global events and understanding the impact they may have on development policy, practice and outcomes.

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A STEPS-led consortium of researchers aiming to advance understanding of the connections between disease and environment in Africa, focusing on animal-to-human disease transmission..

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Vaccines for children are currently high on international policy, aid and funding agendas, as a major promised means to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Yet major challenges have emerged in ensuring effective coverage and dealing with public anxieties.

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Vaccines for children are currently high on international policy, aid and funding agendas, as a major promised means to meet the Millennium Development Goals. Yet major challenges have emerged in ensuring effective coverage and dealing with public anxieties.

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IDS publications on international development research

Engaging ‘Communities’: Anthropological Insights from the West African Ebola Epidemic’

Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B (forthcoming)
This is the cover to IDS Bulletin 47.6, 'Engaged Excellence'.

Engaged Excellence

IDS Bulletin 47.6 (2016)

Who defines what good quality research is? How, why and who should we co-construct knowledge with? What counts as impact? How do we build enduring partnerships? The articles in this IDS Bulletin aim to answer these questions based on IDS’ approach of ‘engaged excellence’. More details

Development Frames 001 front cover

Reframing Development in a Dynamic Global Era

IDS Development Frames 001 (2016)

Half a decade on from IDS' founding, the words of renowned economist and first IDS Director Dudley Seers from his IDS Communication ‘The Meaning of Development’ still ring true. Every era's ‘international development’ community should grapple with its definitions. Today, we face interconnected challenges which look set to intensify into the future. More details

IDS publications on international development research

Zoonotic Disease: Who Gets Sick, and Why? Explorations from Africa

Critical Public Health 27.1 (2016)

Global risks of zoonotic disease are high on policy agendas. Increasingly, Africa is seen as a ‘hotspot’, with likely disease spillovers from animals to humans. This paper explores the social dynamics of disease exposure, demonstrating how risks are not generalised, but are related to occupation, gender, class and other dimensions of social difference. More details

Thematic Expertise:
Accelerating Sustainability; Agriculture; Citizenship; Climate Change; Environment; Gender; Governance; Health; Ebola; Zoonoses; HIV; Politics and Power; Reducing Inequalities; Science and Society; Sustainable Development Goals.

Related Programmes and Centres:
Policy Anticipation Response and Evaluation; STEPS.

Geographic Expertise:
Latin America and the Caribbean; Sub Saharan Africa; United Kingdom.