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Alex Shankland

Research Fellow

Alex Shankland is a social scientist who has worked for more than two decades on health systems, indigenous and minority health, civil society, accountability, political representation and local governance, particularly in Brazil and Mozambique. He is currently co-leader of the IDS Power and Popular Politics research cluster. His current research interests centre on theories and practices of democratic representation, accountability and citizen-state engagement, with particular reference to the political strategies of indigenous peoples and other marginalised minorities engaging with health and development policies, and to the role of unruly politics in a context of closing civil society space.

Alex is currently Principal Investigator of the ESRC/DFID funded project Vozes Desiguais / Unequal Voices: the Politics of Accountability for Health Equity in Brazil and Mozambique and co-convenes the Accountability for Health Equity Programme. In addition to ongoing research on the health system in Mozambique, Alex has worked extensively on Mozambican social accountability and democratic governance initiatives, including Diálogo, the Citizen Engagement Programme (CEP), and several projects under the Action for Empowerment and Accountability (A4EA) research programme.

Alex has also worked extensively on the roles of Brazil and other rising powers in reshaping international development cooperation, and co-founded the IDS Rising Powers in International Development research programme, which is now being taken forward with colleagues from across the University of Sussex campus under the umbrella of the Centre for Rising Powers and Global Development.

An experienced manager of international and interdisciplinary research and consultancy programmes, prior to completing his DPhil Alex was IDS Research Manager for the DFID-funded Development Research Centre on Citizenship, Participation and Accountability and Coordinator of the IDS-led consortium responsible for the redesign of Brazil’s health system for indigenous peoples. Before coming to IDS he worked extensively as a journalist, NGO project and programme manager, independent researcher and social development consultant, mainly in South America (especially Brazilian Amazonia) and Southern Africa.



Rising Powers in International Development Programme

The Rising Powers in International Development programme is developing an evidence-base around the role of rising powers (including the BRICS countries) in development and will be producing practical policy guidance on effective approaches for engaging with them.




Equity and Inclusion in Health Programming

SDC-IDS Collaboration on Poverty, Politics and Participatory Methodologies Briefing Note 6

Equity and inclusion are key issues for the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (SDC), given its strong commitment to the Agenda 2030 principle of “leaving no one behind” and to achieving Universal Health Coverage. However, efforts to guarantee equity and inclusion face not only...

1 August 2018

Alex Shankland’s recent work


Health and Nutrition

The Health and Nutrition Cluster pursues programmes of research and policy engagement on health systems, nutrition and understandings of zoonotic diseases. The focus is on bringing a critical social science perspective to how people, especially the poor, address their health and...