Sir Robert Watson FRS

Robert ‘Bob’ Watson is a physical chemist specialising in environmental science issues and a leading authority on the science of climate change and loss of biodiversity due to human activity, and the implications for human well-being. His research on halogen and hydroxyl free-radical reactions significantly informed models of how chlorofluorocarbons and other manmade chemicals deplete the Earth’s ozone layer.

Bob’s career spans research and advisory roles, including key roles with NASA, as a science policy adviser to US President Bill Clinton and at the World Bank. For the UK government, Bob was Chief Scientific Adviser to the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. Bob is presently a professor emeritus at the University of East Anglia, UK.  He was Chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change from 1997 to 2002, and the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services from 2015-2019.  Most recently, Bob co-chaired the UNEP report, Making Peace with Nature, and is currently co-chairing UNEP’s Global Environmental Outlook-7, and the UNEP Frontiers report on protein-based and cultivated livestock products.

Bob’s many accolades include the 1993 AAAS Award for Scientific Freedom and Responsibility, the insignia of Honorary Companion of St. Michael and St. George in 2003, and the 2010 Asashi Blue Planet Prize. He was knighted in 2012 for his service to government.

Subject groups

  • Earth and environmental sciences

    Atmospheric chemistry, Climate sciences


  • Blue Planet Prize

    No citation available for this award.

Sir Robert Watson FRS
Elected 2011