Richard Watts qualified from Oxford University Medical School in 1982. He undertook general medical training at the Whittington Hospital, London. In 1988, he was appointed research fellow in the Department of Rheumatology University College London where he undertook research and wrote his doctoral thesis on the idiotypic specificity of human monoclonal anti-DNA antibodies. In 1990, he was appointed Senior Registrar at Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge and The Norfolk and Norwich Hospital. He was appointed a consultant Rheumatologist at Ipswich Hospital in 1994. In 2005, he was appointed Clinical Senior Lecturer in Norwich Medical School and in 2011 a Visiting Professor at University Campus Suffolk.

Dr Watts has been programme director for Rheumatology Training in the East of England Deanery and subsequently chair of the training committee. He has been an examiner for the Royal College of Physicians since 1999. He has been a Trustee of the British Society for Rheumatology and Chair of the organizing committee of the annual scientific meeting. He was editor in chief of Rheumatology between 2002 and 2008. He is editor of the Oxford Textbook of Rheumatology.

He is a medical advisor to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society (NRAS) and has been a clinical advisor to Arthritis Research Campaign (now Arthritis Research UK).

He was a member of the Scientific Committee of European League Against Rheumatism between 2008 and 2012.