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Melissa Leach

Director

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
Google Scholar
http://goo.gl/wsFvO3

Research

Programme

European Engagement Initiative

The European Engagement Initiative provides research focus on the universal development challenges that have a global dimension within a region undergoing geopolitical change. It recognises that now the UK is out of the European Union it is even more important for IDS to engage with partners,...

Programme

IDS China Centre

The IDS China Centre, part of the IDS International Initiatives, provides research focus on a country transforming global geopolitics due to its strategic importance, role in the global south and its commitment to development. It recognises that tackling universal challenges such as climate...

Project

Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform

SSHAP (the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform) focuses on the social dimensions of emergency responses related to health, conflict, or the environment by exploring the political economy, community engagement and cultural logics, social difference, and vulnerabilities of those...

Opinions

Publications

Journal Article

Epidemics and the Military: Responding to COVID-19 in Uganda

The UN Security Council’s response to Ebola in 2014 legitimised militarised responses. It also influenced re-sponses to COVID-19 in some African countries. Yet, little is known about the day-to-day impacts for ordinary citizens of mobilising armies for epidemic control. Drawing on 18 months...

Melissa Parker
Melissa Parker & 8 others

26 October 2022

Journal Article

Solar Geoengineering: The Case for an International Non-use Agreement

Perspectives

Solar geoengineering is gaining prominence in climate change debates as an issue worth studying; for some it is even a potential future policy option. We argue here against this increasing normalization of solar geoengineering as a speculative part of the climate policy portfolio. We contend,...

Melissa Leach
Melissa Leach & 15 others

14 January 2022

Melissa Leach’s recent work