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School of Social and Political Science: Staff profiles


James Smith

James Smith
Professor James Smith
Vice Principal International; Professor of African and Development Studies
4.02 Chrystal Macmillan Building 15a George Square Edinburgh UK EH8 9LD
+44 (0)131 650 4321
Research Interests
African development, Science, technology and development, Global health policy, Neglected Zoonotic and Tropical Diseases, anthropology of development

Office Hours

By appointment only. 


Vice Principal International. Professor of African and Development Studies.  


1995 MA (Hons) Geography and Environmental Science (University of Dundee)

1998 MSc Geography and Development (University of the Witwatersrand)

2001 PhD Environment and Development (University of the Witwatersrand) 


I was appointed Vice Principal International on 1 November 2014, having held a personal chair of African and Development Studies since 2010. I have previously served as a director of the Centre of African Studies, the Innogen Centre and the Global Development Academy (where I was also Assistant Principal between 2011-14). I have previously held academic appointments at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg (1997-2002) and worked with Oxfam Southern Africa (2001-03). I hold visiting professorships in Development Policy and Practice at the Open University and in the Department of Geography, Environmental Management and Energy Studies at the University of Johannesburg.

I have held several advisory positions. I have been an advisor on DfID's Research Into Use programme and am currently a senior advisor to the ESRC-DfID Joint Scheme for Research on International Development and a trustee at the international NGO, Practical Action and of their publishing arm, Practical Action Publishing. I have experience working with donors, development agencies and NGOs including DfID, IDRC, CIDA, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research, the World Bank, the Food and Agriculture Organization, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, Oxfam and the New Partnership for Africa's Development.