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Director of the ESI, Professor Jane Wills

Director of the ESI

Director of the ESI

“Given the obvious impact of climate change, environmental degradation, and the global health emergency caused by the coronavirus, there is an urgent need to ramp up our research efforts, and to build the broadest possible coalition to people able and willing to act for positive change.

For all the wrong reasons it is a very exciting time to be taking up a leadership role at the Environment and Sustainability Institute; there is a great deal to be done.”

View my academic profile.

Jane joined the campus in October 2017, moving from Queen Mary, University of London.

She is Professor of Geography at the Centre for Geography and Environmental Science (CGES) and the Environment and Sustainability Institute (ESI) at the University of Exeter in Cornwall, UK.

Her research interests focus on questions of geo-political-economy, the living wage, community organising and localism, and she has recently been exploring public engagement in sustainability policy and practice. She has published widely and her recent books include Global Cities at Work (Pluto, 2000) and Locating localism: Statecraft, citizenship and democracy (Policy Press, 2016). Her latest book is an edited volume, The power of pragmatism: Knowledge production and social inquiry (Manchester University Press 2020).

Please contact Jane with ESI related enquires at or contact Amrita Sharma (PA) at or telephone +44 (0)1326 259424

 Associate ESI Directors

Caitlin DeSilvey

Associate Director for Transdisciplinary Research

Markus Mueller

Associate Director for Education and Engagement

Past ESI Directors


Juliet Osborne

ESI Director 2017 - 2020

Kevin Gaston

ESI Director 2010 - 2017