Personal profile

Research interests

Dr Jessica Espey is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Geographic Sciences. Jessica's research is focused on the international governance of sustainable development, with a particular focus on the scientific and data-based advisory systems that guide international policymaking. She teaches the MSc in Global Development and Environment and other modules across the department including geographies of colonialism and urban resilience.

In 2022 Jessica completed her PhD which focused on the use of science within multilateral policy-making, with a particular focus on the 2012-2015 UN Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) negotiations.

She has more than 16 years professional experience working in international development, within think-tanks, charities and the United Nations. From 2014-2020 she was a Director of the UN Sustainable Development Solutions Network and prior to that she served as an Adviser to President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf of Liberia.

She has written extensively on the governance of sustainable development, with a particularly focus on monitoring, accountability and data systems. Much of her policy work is available via She has further interests in and published work on urbanisation and horizonal and vertical inequalities. 

Education/Academic qualification

MSc Political Economy of Development, University of London, SOAS

BA Hons Modern History, University of Oxford

External positions

Senior Adviser, Open Data Watch

31 Jan 2001 → …

Senior Adviser to UNSDSN, UNSDSN

31 Jan 2001 → …


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