IDS Director appointed CBE in Queen’s Birthday Honours List

16 June 2017

Director of the Institute of Development Studies, Professor Melissa Leach, has been appointed as a CBE for services to Social Science, in the Queen’s Birthday 2017 Honours List.  This major honour is conferred by the Queen and on the advice of Government in recognition of significant achievements in science and medicine, charitable work, business, sport and public service.

Jonathan Kydd testimonial to Melissa receiving CBE

Professor Leach’s CBE recognises her distinguished contribution to the social science discipline.  Examples include the co-founding and directing the ESRC STEPS Centre, with its pioneering pathways approach to innovation, sustainability and development issues and her leadership of the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform (ERAP) and the related Ebola: lessons for development initiatives, which last year won the prestigious Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) Outstanding International Impact Prize for their rapid and effective response to the Ebola epidemic. She was also the lead social scientist in the UK and WHO Ebola scientific advisory committees during 2014-15.

Jonathan Kydd, Chair of the IDS Board said:

“This truly is a well-deserved recognition of the huge contribution that Melissa has made both to the Institute in her long career here as a research leader and Director, and to the wider social science, international development and higher education sectors here in the UK and globally.

Not only has Melissa conceived and shaped intellectual agendas around development, but she has worked tirelessly to ensure that they have very tangible and concrete real–world impacts in improving people’s lives.  A prime example of this is her work on ebola where she brought much needed intellectual and practical leadership to bear on ending the crisis as well as improve preparedness for future outbreaks.”

Professor Leach has also made a significant contribution in her international role as vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth, an international research platform to advance Global Sustainability Science; was lead author of the UN Women’s World Survey on the Role of Women in Economic Development 2014 and co-director of the World Social Science Report 2016 ‘Challenging Inequalities: Pathways to a Just World’.  She was also recently appointed to the expert advisory board to support the UK’s Department of Health Global AMR Innovation Fund.  In addition, she is author or editor of over fifteen books and dozens of research papers, and in 1996, her co-authored book Misreading the African Landscape received the Amaury Talbot Prize from the Royal Anthropological Institute for the best book in African Anthropology. 

In response to her appointment, Professor Leach said:

This honour is testimony to IDS, the Institute that has nurtured my career and which I've been privileged to lead for the last three years, as well as to the many colleagues and teams I have worked with here and around the world. I'm deeply grateful for their support, engagement and passion as we continue to work together to bring social science perspectives to real world challenges”.