He was appointed by UEA in the spring and takes up his post on August 1. As well as being Professor of Environmental Sciences in the 5** School of Environmental Sciences, he will help to shape the strategic direction of the national Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research, whose headquarters are at UEA.
Later in the year he will also become chief scientific adviser for the Department for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs.
Professor Trevor Davies, Pro-Vice-Chancellor at the University of East Anglia said he was delighted at the appointment.
"Bob Watson is an acknowledged world expert on climate change, biodiversity and sustainability. His appointment as Defra's chief scientist reflects his unparalleled expertise in so many of the environmental challenges faced by the UK and the world," he said.
"This is an exciting and challenging dual role for Bob - as both UEA Professor of Environmental Sciences and playing a key role in science policy at Defra. It is a role for which he is uniquely qualified and UEA looks forward to supporting him during his secondment to Defra."
British-born and educated at Queen Mary College, London, he has lived and worked for many years in the US, in senior roles at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy and at NASA before joining the World Bank. He has had huge international experience in leading international environmental assessments on all of the major global concerns of the last two decades - ozone depletion, climate change, ecosystem change and agriculture and development - and the School of Environmental Sciences is delighted that he will be bringing that experience to UEA.
Professor Watson said he was looking forward to taking up his position at the University of East Anglia: "I am excited at the opportunity of returning to the UK after 34 years in the US to be working at the UEA - a truly world-class university and with the Tyndall Centre - a leader in climate science."The opportunity to internationally promote the research at UEA and the
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