I am Director of Strategic Development at the Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, here at UEA. I have worked as Chief Scientist at the Department of Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (DEFRA); Chief Scientific Advisor and Director for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development at the World Bank; Associate Director for Environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President in the White House; and Director of the Science Division and Chief Scientist for the Office of Mission to Planet Earth at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). I am also Sir Louis Matheson Distinguished Visiting Professor at Monash Sustainability Institute.

In parallel to my formal positions I have chaired, co-chaired or directed national and international scientific, technical and economic assessments of stratospheric ozone depletion, biodiversity and ecosystems, climate change, and agricultural science and technology, including as Director of the International Assessment of Agricultural Science & Technology for Development, co-chair of the Board of Directors of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, co-chair of several International Scientific Assessments of Stratospheric Ozone, Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) which received the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007, Chair of IPCC Working Group II, Chair of the Global Environment Facility (GEF)’s Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel, Chair of the United Nations Environment Programme/World Meteorological Organization (UNEP-WMO), and Chair of UNEP’s Global Biodiversity Assessment. I have testified to the U.S. Congress on numerous occasions regarding global environmental issues.

I received my Ph.D. in Chemistry from London University in 1973. I have received many national and international awards and prizes for my contributions to science, including the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility (1993) and for International Scientific Cooperation (2008), and the insignia of Honorary Companion of St. Michael and St. George from the British Government (2003), and the Asashi Blue Planet Prize (2010). I was also recognized by the Rolling Stone magazine as one of 25 movers and shakers for the environment. I received a knighthood in 2012.

Key Research Interests

Significant Publications

  • Watson, R.T. (2001) Climate Change 2001: Synthesis Report. Third Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, Cambridge University Press, 408pp.
  • Watson, R.T., Patz, J., Gubler, D.J., Parson, E.A. and Vincent, J.H. (2005) Environmental health implications of global climate change. Journal of Environmental Monitoring 7(9), 834-843. DOI: 10.1039/b504683a
  • Watson, R.T. (2005) Turning science into policy: challenges and experiences from the science-policy interface. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B - Biological Sciences 360(1454), 471-477. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2004.1601
  • Watson, R.T. and Haeberli, W. (2004) Environmental threats, mitigation strategies and high-mountain areas. Ambio 33(13), 2-10.