Image of Alex Shankland

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.



Lessons from Brazil for the global response to COVID-19

Epidemics and pandemics expose existing health inequities and all too often intensify them. Patterns of morbidity and mortality may disproportionately affect vulnerable groups such as residents of informal settlements, homeless people, indigenous communities and the elderly, as well as...

25 March 2020


Journal Article

Introduction: the Accountability Politics of Reducing Health Inequalities. Learning from Brazil and Mozambique

Novos Estudos CEBRAP;vol.38 no.2

Inequality is a key political issue of our times. It has political consequences, fuelling conflict and raising legitimacy challenges for regimes around the world, in democratic and non‑demo‑ cratic settings alike. At the centre of these challenges is the question of accountability: who can...

1 May 2019

Alex Shankland’s recent work