Charlotte Watts is Chief Scientific Adviser and Director for Research and Evidence at the UK Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). She is seconded from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, where she is Professor of Social and Mathematical Epidemiology. Professor Watts is the most senior scientist in FCDO, with responsibility for providing scientific advice to the Foreign Secretary, Ministers, the Permanent Under-Secretary and Executive Committee, including during the COVID-19 pandemic and other emergencies. She heads the Research and Evidence Directorate, which brings together leadership of FCDO’s expert geopolitical and development advisors, FCDO’s significant research and technology development investments, and jointly oversees (with the Department of Science, Innovation and Technology) the UK’s overseas science and innovation diplomatic network. Between 2015 and 2020 she was Chief Scientific Adviser at the Department for International Development (DFID). In her academic career Professor Watts has made important contributions in infectious disease epidemiology, HIV prevention, and violence research, including showing that domestic violence is preventable.
Watts was elected an Honorary Fellow of Exeter College in 2023.