Our leadership

The Manchester Urban Institute is governed by an inter-disciplinary team of researchers to reflect the breadth of research done within it.

James Evans, Institute Director

Professor James Evans is the Director of the Manchester Urban Institute (MUI) where he leads the ‘Smart and Sustainable Cities’ research theme. He is Professor of Geography and former Head of the Department of Geography in the School of Environment, Education and Development (SEED). His research focuses on how cities learn to become smarter and more sustainable. He has published widely, with over 40 peer-reviewed papers and two authored books in the field, and his work on Urban Living Labs has been foundational across the social sciences. He led the University's involvement in Triangulum, a £25m Horizon 2020 project to establish smart districts across Europe, and the Manchester Urban Observatory, a £1m EPSRC funded initiative as part of the UKCRIC portfolio.

For more information about James, click here.

Contact: james.z.evans@manchester.ac.uk

Karen Lucas, Institute Deputy Director

Professor Karen Lucas is Deputy Director of MUI where she leads the ‘Transport and Mobilities’ research theme. She is Professor of Human Geography and Director of Research in the Department of Geography in SEED. Karen has 25+ years’ experience of delivering social research into practice in transport, employing a variety of mixed methods approaches to issues of mobility, accessibility and social justice. Karen is a world-leading expert on transport and social justice in the Global North and South and is currently devising a new integrated methodology for the social assessment of road projects for National Highways.

For more information about Karen, click here.

Contact: karen.lucas@manchester.ac.uk

Emma Tsoneva, Acting Research Manager

Emma started work as Institute Manager of the Manchester Urban Institute in August 2023. In addition to supporting Manchester urban scholars in elevating world-class research, Emma is helping develop MUI’s research and funding strategies as well as driving the institute’s stakeholder engagement. Emma is the point of contact for enquiries about the Institute.

Emma’s background is in university research administration. She has a particular interest in developing international projects and has coordinated the International Network for Transport and Accessibility in Low Income Communities since 2017. Emma has an MSc in Development Management (2022) from the Open University and has worked in both research and administrative capacities on several UK and European-based projects at Manchester and elsewhere.

Contact: emma.tsoneva@manchester.ac.uk

Leadership Team

The Manchester Urban Institute is governed by an inter-disciplinary team of researchers to reflect the breadth of research done through it: