Professor Melissa Leach

Executive Director at Cambridge Conservation Initiative (CCI)

Executive Director, Cambridge Conservation Initiative

Melissa Leach is the Executive Director of the Cambridge Conservation Initiative. Previously, she was 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, and pandemic preparedness and response.

  • In news articles

    Dr S T Lee Public Policy Lecture 2023: Beyond words: more-than-human communication paving the way for naturekind

    This year's Dr Seng Tee Lee Public Policy Lecture was delivered by social anthropologist and geographer Professor Melissa Leach. The lecture brought forth the concept of ‘naturekind’, directly challenging the conventional separation between human and non-human nature.

  • In news articles

    Science advice and government: Ebola

    For CSaP's Science and Policy Podcast, the Centre's Executive Director Dr Rob Doubleday was joined by Sir Oliver Letwin, a former Cabinet Minister, Professor Melissa Leach, Director of the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex, and Professor Dame Sally Davies, former Chief Medical Officer for England, to discuss how science advice was used by decision-makers during the Ebola Outbreak in 2014.