Professor Charlotte Watts

Professor Charlotte Watts is the Chief Scientific Adviser and Director for Research and Evidence in the UK Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO). She is seconded from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine (LSHTM), where she is Professor of Social and Mathematical Epidemiology.

As Chief Scientific Advisor and Director in FCDO Charlotte provides scientific advice to the Foreign Secretary, Ministers, the Permanent Under-Secretary and Executive Committee, including on COVID-19, emergencies and science policy. She heads the Research and Evidence Directorate and leads FCDO’s Research and Development investments to generate new solutions, rigorous evidence and technologies to help deliver the UK’s development and diplomacy priorities. As a Chief Scientific Advisor in the UK Government, Professor Watts supports the Government Chief Scientific Advisor and Chief Medical Officer, to provide scientific advice across Whitehall.

Charlotte originally trained as a mathematician, with a PhD in Theoretical Mathematics from the University of Warwick. She became interested in global health whilst conducting post-doctoral research on the epidemiology of HIV at the University of Oxford. Moving to LSHTM in 1994, she founded the Social and Mathematical Epidemiology Group, building up a multi-disciplinary team that uses mathematical, epidemiological and economic research to assess the impact of current and new HIV prevention technologies, and to evaluate interventions that tackle the determinants of HIV risk.

Charlotte is a global expert in violence prevention. She was Senior Technical Advisor to the WHO 10 country population surveys on women’s health and domestic violence; founded the Gender, Violence and Health Centre at LSHTM. She has Chaired the Technical Working Group to assess the Global Burden of intimate violence and was lead editor of the 2014 Lancet Series on Violence Against Women and Health.

Charlotte has over 200 peer review academic publications, commentaries and book chapters. She is a Fellow of the Academy of Medical Sciences and Foreign Associate Member of the US National Academy of Medicine. In 2019 she was made a Companion of the Most Distinguished Order of St Michael and St George in the Queen’s birthday honours, for her services to domestic violence prevention, and in 2020 was awarded the Sir Edwin Chadwick medal by LSHTM, for her contributions to the prevention of violence against women. Charlotte is committed to using science and evidence to achieve impact, and in 2019 was included in Apolitical ‘The World’s 100 Most Influential People in Gender Policy’.

Last updated: 7 April 2022

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