Chris Westcott

Director

Chris is a Visiting Senior Research Fellow at the Policy Institute, Kings College London, specialising in open source intelligence, and a Member of the British Council’s Digital Advisory Group. His other activities include being a Trustee at The Science Council and acting as a supervisor for visiting international journalism fellows at the Reuters Institute, part of Oxford University's Department of Politics and International Relations.

From 2003 to April 2015 Chris was the Director of BBC Monitoring, responsible for more than 400 staff operating from bases in 10 countries, analysing and supplying open source news, information and insight collected from media around the world. Providing distinctive and authoritative coverage of political, social, security, military and economic news, BBC Monitoring supplies the BBC, the Foreign Office, Ministry of Defence, Cabinet Office and intelligence agencies; and sells its expertise commercially to governments, academia, NGOs and businesses.

Chris joined the BBC as a member of the World Service's Science Unit, reaching the role of Executive Producer, producing, editing and reporting for radio and TV on science, technology, health and medicine. In 1992 he was selected as the first person with a science background to be a producer for the BBC Radio 4 current affairs programme ‘Analysis’.

He led the development of BBC World Service’s digital media portfolio from the start, founding the World Service New Media department in 1995 and joining the BBC World Service Board in 2000. He was responsible for a sequence of major investments spanning online and mobile news services in 44 languages, including the BBC’s first 24 hour news services in Arabic and Chinese (1999) and Russian and Spanish (2001). His awards include a Webby ("The Internet’s highest honour" – New York Times) for World Service Online and multiple BAFTAs as the World Service lead for BBC News Online, from its launch in 1997 to 2003.

Prior to his BBC career Chris was a research scientist at the UK Atomic Energy Authority’s labs at Harwell. It was while at Harwell that he was awarded a British Science Association Media Fellowship, which eventually led to him joining the BBC.

Chris holds an MA in Metallurgy and Materials Science from the University of Oxford and a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Southampton.  He is a member of the common room at Green Templeton College, Oxford.