Our Team

The ESPA programme has different bodies which support  governance, management and science, policy and practice roles:

The Programme Executive Board (PEB) is responsible for the delivery and strategic direction of the programme, ensuring it achieves its stated objectives and meets the strategic needs of the funding partners (DFID, NERC and ESRC). The funding partners are the decision-making executives, with other members operating in an advisory capacity:

  • Steve Bass, International Institute for Environment and Development (Chair)
  • Simon Kerley, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Sophie Martin, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Alessandro Moscuzza, Department for International Development (DFID)

The Programme Management Unit (PMU) is responsible for the overall management, coordination and delivery of the programme on a day to day basis. The PMU consists of the Programme Management Group, the Secretariat, a business assurance role and the Directorate.

Programme Management Group

The Programme Management Group (PMG) includes members from the three funding partners, and makes decisions about ESPA’s management and operations on non-strategic matters. The PMG is accountable to the Programme Executive Board (PEB).

  • Dominique Butt, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
  • Mary Day, Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC)
  • Andew Leslie, Department for International Development (DFID)


The Secretariat is based at the Natural Environment Research Council, which is responsible for the management of the programme on behalf of the funding partners. This includes financial management, procurement and grant awarding, which are carried out according to the policies and procedures of the Research Councils and UK Shared Business Services Ltd (which supports the Research Councils’ activities). To contact the ESPA Sectretariat please email espa@nerc.ac.uk. For full contact details please visit the NERC website.

  • Beth Taylor, Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)

The Directorate is based at Research into Results Limited (University of Edinburgh) and is responsible for leading on the implementation of ESPA activities (except for the NERC grants awarding process), ensuring the coordination of all ESPA activities, and undertaking other activities which add value to the programme.

Please see the ESPA Directorate biographies for more information on all of the members of the team.

You can contact the Directorate through our contact page.

The International Programme Advisory Committee (I-PAC) provides independent advice, as required, in relation to strategic and technical aspects of the programme.

The current I-PAC members are:

  • Atiq Rahman, Bangladesh Centre for Advanced Studies (Co-Chair)
  • Katrina Brown, University of Exeter (Co-Chair)
  • Virgilio Viana, Fundação Amazonas Sustentável
  • Janet Ranganathan, World Resources Institute
  • John Adeoti, Nigerian Institute of Social and Economic Research
  • Christo Fabricus, Nelson Mandela University