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Person

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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

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

Learning from 2021 to achieve “equity everywhere” in 2022

There is no doubt that as the world tentatively looks towards 2022, we are at a crossroads. We are still in the midst of a global pandemic, with continued uncertainty. The global community will need to draw on local knowledge and evidence in a rapid and engaged way. This sits at the very core of...

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Melissa Leach & 7 others

27 December 2021

Opinion

Transforming lives in a year of challenge and change

This has been an extraordinary year for global development. The Covid-19 pandemic has continued to cause global disruption, transforming how people live and organisations function. The crisis revealed the scale of injustices in many areas and at many levels and, at IDS, reinforced the critical...

12 October 2021

Opinion

How has the Covid-19 pandemic affected global solidarity?

On the 5th July, IDS Director Melissa Leach participated in the opening plenary of the EADI conference: solidarity, peace and social justice. The following is a summary of her presentation on the lessons we have learned over the past year about practices of solidarity and global transformations....

9 July 2021

Publications

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,...

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Melissa Leach & 15 others

14 January 2022

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

Melissa Leach’s recent work