Robert Watson

University of East Anglia

Current Position
Director of Strategic Development.

Professor Sir Robert T. Watson is former UK DEFRA Chief Scientist and former Chief Scientist and Director for Environmentally and Socially Sustainable Development (ESSD) at the World Bank. He is currently Vice Chair of IPBES - Intergovernmental Panel on Biodiversity Ecosystem Services and Chair of the Future Earth Engagement Committee.
Prior to joining the World Bank, Professor Watson was Associate Director for Environment in the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President in the White House. Prior to joining the Clinton White House, Professor Watson was Director of the Science Division and Chief Scientist for the Office of Mission to Planet Earth at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA).

Role at Council
Headquarters: Directorship

Research Interests
Professor Watson has played a key role in the negotiation of global environment conventions and the evolution of the Global Environment Facility (GEF). He is currently Co-chair of: the International Assessment of Agricultural Science & Technology for Development, the Board of Directors of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. and the International Scientific Assessment of Stratospheric Ozone. From 1997 to 2002, he was Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and from 1991 to 1994, he served as Chairman of the GEF's Scientific and Technical Advisory Panel. And he was Chair or Co-Chair of a number of international scientific assessments, including the IPCC Working Group II, the United Nations Environment Programme/World Meteorological Organization (UNEP-WMO), and UNEP's Global Biodiversity Assessment. Professor Watson has testified to the U.S. Congress on numerous occasions regarding global environmental issues. Professor Watson received his Ph.D. in Chemistry from London University in 1973. He has received many national and international awards and prizes for his contributions to science, including the American Association for the Advancement of Sciences Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility in 1993 and the insignia of Honorary Companion of St. Michael and St. George from the British Government on December 10, 2003.

Contact information


Phone: +44 (0)1603 593900

Postal Address
School of Environmental Sciences ZICER University of East Anglia Norwich Norfolk NR4 7TJ United Kingdom

Further information