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Professor Melissa Leach FBA

Anthropology, geography; global development and social change; issues of inequality, gender, environmental sustainability, health and infectious disease in Africa and beyond; interfaces between social science, science and policy
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About this Fellow

Professor Leach is currently Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. 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 was lead author of UN Women’s World Survey on the Role of Women in Economic Development 2014, and of the World Social Science Report 2016 on 'Challenging Inequalities'. She co-founded the Ebola Response Anthropology Platform and was lead social scientist in the UK and WHO Ebola scientific advisory committees during 2014-15.

Professor Leach is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-food), the Strategic Coherence of ODA Research (SCOR) Board, the ESRC International Development Advisory Group (EIDEG) and the MRC Global Health Group.





Current post

  • Director, Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex

Past Appointments

  • Vice-chair, Science Committee of Future Earth, 2012 - 2017

Other Anthropology and Geography Fellows

Professor Robert Layton

Social evolution & social change in hunter-gatherer & peasant societies; the anthropology & archaeology of art; indigenous rights

Professor Miles Ogborn

Historical geography of trade & empire; seventeenth & eighteenth centuries; India; Caribbean; communication in speech, script & print

Professor Denise Pumain

Comparative analysis of the evolution of cities & systems of cities in different parts of the world; dynamic modelling of complex systems in social sciences; geographical theory.