Professor Melissa Leach is the Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) based at the University of Sussex. She founded and 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.
A geographer and social anthropologist, 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.
She is vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth; a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-food); and was lead author of UN Women's World Survey on the Role of Women in Economic Development 2014. 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.