Melissa Leach is the Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS). She co-founded and co-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. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and was awarded a CBE in 2017 for services to social science.
A social anthropologist and geographer, 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.
External Advisory Roles
- Strategic Coherence of ODA Research (SCOR) Board, Independent Member
- International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-food)
- Medical Research Council Global Health Group
- ESRC International Development Advisory Group
- Stockholm Environment Institute Science Council
- Future Earth Science Committee, Vice Chair, 2012 – 2017
- Lead social scientist, UK and WHO Ebola scientific advisory committees, 2014-15.
- Lead author, UN Women World Survey on the Role of Women in Economic Development, 2014