Melissa Leach is Director of the Institute of Development Studies (IDS) at the University of Sussex. She co-founded and co-directed the STEPS (Social, Technological and Environmental Pathways to Sustainability) Centre from 2006 to 2014. A social anthropologist, she has served as vice-chair of the Science Committee of Future Earth from 2012 to 2017, lead author of the World Social Science Report 2016 on Challenging Inequalities, and a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems (IPES-Food). 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. She holds a PhD in social anthropology from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London.