Dr Simon Manda


I joined POLIS in 2021 as Lecturer in International Development.

This followed one year (2020 – 2021) as a Visiting Research with Oregon State University – Cascades, Bend, Oregon (USA). I worked on a project funded by the National Science Foundation whose centrality pointed to adaptation possibilities for individuals, neighbourhoods and communities who are faced with repetitive flooding. The project specifically focused on the policy options for communities who wish to relocate together. 

Prior to this I was Lecturer for ten years at the University of Zambia (UNZA) in the Department of Development Studies, joining as a Teaching Assistant and becoming a Lecturer. I also took on the role of Postgraduate Coordinator. 

I have had Non-Visiting Fellowship Appointments at the Centre for Trade and Development (CTPD) in Zambia and the Pan African Scientific Research Council. Prior to this I visited Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University (USA) as a Mandela Washington Fellow.  


  • Co-Director - Centre for Global Development

Research interests

I have a core research interest in the political economy of ‘land grabs:’ how do large-scale agricultural investments play out in different contexts, and what do these mean for local communities?

I have research interests in sustainable development goals, including agri-food systems and value chains, livelihoods, food security and nutrition and gender. I also have an interest in natural resource governance (land and water), energy transitions, climate adaptation and environmental sustainability as applied to African agriculture and food systems. My research also touches on flood disasters, disaster anthropology, climate adaptation and energy transitions. 

My research tends to take a critical reflective practice approach to identifying local and rural problems. I have worked primarily on Zambia but have knowledge of sub-Saharan Africa. 

Research Students 

  • Ndashe Kapulu: Soya transitions and implications on nutrition and agri-food systems in Zambia.
  • Apresian Stanislaus: The Political Economy of Climate Change Adaptation: Indonesia in the post-Paris Agreement Era.
  • Patricia Tshomba: Exploring African women's agency in land access in urban agriculture: the case of urban female farmers in Kinshasa (D.R.Congo).
  • Mary-Magdalen Osei-Wusu: The recurrent flood hazard: a neglected dimension of security in africa? A Case Study of Ghana’s 2015 Flood-fire Incident.
  • Rizqui Bachtiar: The Paradox of decentralisation in Indonesia.


<h4>Research projects</h4> <p>Any research projects I'm currently working on will be listed below. Our list of all <a href="https://essl.leeds.ac.uk/dir/research-projects">research projects</a> allows you to view and search the full list of projects in the faculty.</p>


  • PhD Environment and Development, University of Leeds
  • MA Global Development, University of Leeds
  • BA Development Studies, University of Zambia

Professional memberships

  • Member of Development Studies Association
  • Elected Member of the African Studies Association of the UK

Research groups and institutes

  • Centre for Global Development

Current postgraduate researchers

<h4>Postgraduate research opportunities</h4> <p>The school welcomes enquiries from motivated and qualified applicants from all around the world who are interested in PhD study. Our <a href="https://phd.leeds.ac.uk">research opportunities</a> allow you to search for projects and scholarships.</p>