Oliver Watson

Senior Policy Advisor at Defra

Senior Policy Advisor, DEFRA
CAPE Policy Fellow

Oli is a policy professional currently working within agri-food chain policy on the regulatory reform of genetic technologies. In the immediate term this is looking at the regulation of new genetic technologies like gene editing and the environmental release of gene edited organisms. As this is a high-profile, technical, and sensitive area it is a timely and important opportunity to explore policy questions in this area and strengthen science-policy linkages in this area.

Oli also aims to facilitate knowledge exchange, provision of external expertise and policy join-up across the department. He primarily does this by facilitating talks with external experts, organising events and site visits with policy teams across Defra. As such, he is interested in learning more about emerging areas of research, innovation or thinking that might be of interest to Defra policy, particularly on agri-food.

Fellowship Objectives.
• Promote the importance of academic engagement and research across Defra and in climate change adaptation policy across government. 
• Question and explore some of the most critical barriers to climate change adaptation policy making, enhancing our understanding as policy professionals so that we can help shape the future direction of climate adaptation decision making.  
• Build a stronger network within the academic community to collaborate with on policy issues, inform future research and explore the potential of joint projects or events.