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Chief Scientific Adviser

Professor Robert Watson has been the Chief Scientific Adviser for the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) since September 2007. He ultimately is responsible for the broad range of science that falls under Defra's remit. His main role is to provide ministers with the best possible scientific advice and build on existing measures to ensure that science and technology are used to inform policy. He also supports the UK Government’s scientific work on minimising the effects of climate change and improving sustainability by promoting consistency across Defra and working together with other Government departments.

Robert Watson was previously at the World Bank where he was the Chief Scientist and Senior Advisor for Sustainable Development. He has also held senior positions at NASA and, more recently, at the White House, where he was responsible for ensuring that science underpinned policy making.

The Role and Objectives of the CSA

The Role

The CSA's objectives are to:

  • Provide Ministerial advice
  • Ensure quality and fit-for-purpose science
  • Engage with stakeholders;
  • Raise the profile of Defra science, especially importance of science for sustainability.

This mandate complements Defra's vision for science to achieve:

  • Public trust of Defra on scientific issues, and
  • The respect of the science community.

Page last modified: 14 April 2007
Page published: 5 October 2007