Melissa Leach is 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 (www.steps-centre.org) from 2006 – 2014. As a social anthropologist she has carried out long-term ethnographic fieldwork in West Africa while engaging with scientific, policy and public discourses and debates around health, sustainability and development. She has led numerous interdisciplinary, policy-engaged research programmes in Africa and beyond. Amongst external roles, she was vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth 2012 – 2017, lead author of the 2016 World Social Science Report 2016 on Challenging Inequalities and the UN Women’s World Survey on the Role of Women in Economic Development 2014 and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food). She was the lead social scientist in the UK/WHO responses to the 2014-16 Ebola outbreak and co-led the award-winning Ebola Response Anthropology Platform. She is now working on COVID-19 as co-lead of the Social Science in Humanitarian Action Platform and the Wellcome Trust-funded Pandemic Preparedness Project. She is a Fellow of the British Academy and in 2017 was awarded a CBE for Services to Social Science.