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Person

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

The Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform aims to establish networks of social scientists with regional and subject expertise to rapidly provide insight, analysis and advice, tailored to demand and in accessible forms, to better design and implement the social and communication...

Opinions

Publications

Brief

Covid-19: Key Considerations for a Public Health Response

Briefing;

The Covid-19 pandemic is more than a health crisis. Its long-term economic and societal effects may well outweigh its initial public health impact. It is therefore essential that responses are socially sensitive and attuned to mitigating these secondary effects.

Image of Melissa Leach
Melissa Leach & 4 others

8 September 2020

Journal Article

Food Politics and Development

World Development Vol 134

Food has become both a pivotal topic in development and a lens through which to integrate and address a range of contemporary global challenges. This review article addresses in particular the interrelationship between food and sustainable, equitable development, arguing that this is...

Image of Melissa Leach
Melissa Leach & 5 others

17 June 2020

Melissa Leach’s recent work