New leadership for the ESRC STEPS Centre

A new leadership team has been announced at the Ian_Scoones200ESRC STEPS Centre today. The two founding Co-Directors, Prof. Ian Scoones and Prof. Andy Stirling remain at the helm of STEPS, with Prof. Scoones (right) taking over as Director and Prof. Stirling retaining his Co-Director role. This follows the appointment of the former Director, Prof. Melissa Leach, as Director at the Institute of Development Studies (IDS).

Prof. Scoones is an agricultural ecologist by original training and has worked on science, policy and politics in the context of land, agricultural and rural development, especially in Africa. Prof. Stirling is an interdisciplinary researcher on issues of science and uncertainty, technology and democracy, innovation and power.

In addition, three existing Centre members have newly created Deputy Director roles, providing support to the direction and strategic development of the Centre in specific areas:  Julia Day is Deputy Director and Head of Communications, Dr. Adrian Ely is Deputy Director and Head of Impact and Engagement and Dr. David Ockwell is Deputy Director, Research. STEPS Centre Co-ordinator Harriet Dudley takes up the new role of Centre Manager.

Prof. Scoones commented: “The STEPS Centre goes from strength to strength, and the challenges of sustainability and social justice we address through our research, training and policy engagement are becoming more and more important. In the coming years we will be developing the STEPS Global Consortium, linking long-term partners across the world, to tackle these challenges. The work of the STEPS Centre can make a major difference, and I am delighted that the new leadership team is ready to make this happen”.

Prof. Leach said: “Although I’m sad to be leaving a formal directorial role in STEPS, the Centre will be in excellent hands with our new leadership team, who are well set to take it to the next level. There are many exciting plans afoot. Meanwhile, my new IDS Director position will allow me to stay engaged with STEPS ideas, and to find new ways to support the Centre as it moves ahead into the future.”

The new STEPS Centre leadership arrangements coincide with a new chair for the Centre’s International Advisory Committee. Mike Hulme, Professor of Climate and Culture at King’s College London, has taken over the role from Judi Wakhungu, Cabinet Secretary (Minister) for Environment, Water and Natural Resources of Kenya.

The STEPS Centre is a major interdisciplinary global research and policy engagement hub combining development with science and technology studies. With a network of partners in Asia, Africa, Latin America, Europe and North America it looks at how pathways to sustainability – linking environmental integrity with social justice – can be built in today’s complex, dynamic world. STEPS is based at the Institute of Development Studies and SPRU Science and Technology Policy Research, at the University of Sussex and funded by the UK Economic and Social Research Council.