Will Watson gained his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Leeds in 1980. He joined the BP Research Centre at Sunbury-on-Thames and spent 5½ years working as a research chemist on a variety of topics, including catalytic dewaxing, residue upgrading, synthesis of novel oxygenates for use as gasoline supplements, surfactants for use as gasoline detergent additives, and nonlinear optical compounds.
In 1986, he joined Lancaster Synthesis. During the next 7 years he was responsible for laboratory-scale production and process research and development to support Lancaster's catalogue, semi-bulk, and custom synthesis businesses. In 1993, he was appointed to the position of technical director, responsible for all production (laboratory and pilot-plant scale), process R&D, engineering, and quality control. He helped set up and operate the Lancaster Laboratories near Chennai, India, and had technical responsibility for the former PCR laboratories in Gainesville, FL.
Watson joined Scientific Update in Mayfield, East Sussex, UK, as the technical director in May 2000. He has revised and rewritten the “Chemical Development and Scale-Up in the Fine Chemical and Pharmaceutical Industries” course and gives this course regularly around the world. He has been instrumental in setting up and developing new courses, such as “Interfacing Chemistry with Patents” and “Making and Using Fluoroorganic Molecules”. He is also involved in an advisory capacity in setting up conferences and in running events. He is active in the consultancy side of the business and sits on the scientific advisory boards of several companies.