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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 and centre

Europe international development research and mutual learning hub

As we enter the decade of delivery for the United Nations Global Goals for Sustainable Development (Global Goals), the transformative change that is needed to make progress against this ambitious framework will only be possible if there is a deeper collective recognition that this is a...

Programme and centre

China international development research and mutual learning hub

Transformational change requires equitable and sustainable partnerships that generate knowledge, action and leadership that is shaped by a range of perspectives. We are committed to promoting collaborations around research, learning and teaching through the establishment of international...

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

Opinion

UK Aid must remain evidence-based and focused on the poorest

The announcement that the UK Department for International Development (DFID) is to be merged with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO), although not a complete surprise, arrived with very little forewarning or the anticipated consultation through the Integrated Review. Taking this decision...

24 June 2020

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.

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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...

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Melissa Leach & 5 others

17 June 2020

Journal Article

Principles for Knowledge Co-production in Sustainability Research

Nature Sustainability

Research practice, funding agencies and global science organisations suggest that research aimed at addressing sustainability challenges is most effective when ‘co-produced’ by academics and non-academics. Co-production promises to address the complex nature of contemporary sustainability...

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Melissa Leach & 3 others

20 January 2020

Melissa Leach’s recent work