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Dr. Philip S. Watson is an Associate Professor with the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology with the University of Idaho in Moscow, Idaho.  Phil is a teaching and research faculty member and is jointly appointed in the Bioregional Planning Graduate Program and affiliated with the Environmental Science Graduate Program.  Phil is a natural resource and regional development economist whose research focuses on the role of natural resources in the economic health of communities and evidence based economic development planning.  He has worked with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, National Park Service, National Forest Service and the Bureau of Land Management, and possesses a quantitative background in Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) modeling, input-output analysis, benefit-cost analysis and spatial econometrics. 

While on sabbatical from the University of Idaho the summer of 2015, Phil partnered with the Alward Institute for Collaborative Science.  The Alward Institute is honored to have Dr. Watson permanently serving as the Alward Institute Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council and also on the Institute’s Board of Directors.  Phil works out of the Alward Institute's Pullman, Washington office.

Professional Preparation

  • Taylor University; Upland, IN; Environmental Biology; B.S., 1998
  • Colorado State University; Fort Collins, CO; Agricultural Development; M. Ag., 2002   
  • Colorado State University; Fort Collins, CO; Resource Economics; Ph.D., 2006


  • 2014-present: Associate Professor, University of Idaho
  • 2008-2014: Assistant Professor, University of Idaho
  • 2006-2008: Regional and Natural Resource Economist, National Marine Fisheries, NOAA, Northwest Fisheries Science Center
  • 2005-2006: Regional Economist, U.S. Forest Service, Planning and Analysis Group
  • 2002-2006: Graduate Research Assistant, Regional Economic Development, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Colorado State University
  • 2002: Lecturer (Principals of Genetics), Department of Soil and Crop Science, Colorado State University
  • 2000-2002: Graduate Research Assistant, Specialty Crops Program, Department of Soil and Crop Science, Colorado State University
  • 1998-2000: Tropical Agricultural and International Development Intern, Educational Concerns for Hunger Organization, Fort Myers, FL

Synergistic Activities

  • Research Contractor with the National Marine Fisheries/Northwest Fisheries Science Center to investigate the role of marine resource use in the economic sustainability of coastal communities.
  • Member of the USDA Rural Communities, Rural Labor Markets and Public Policy research group.
  • Member of the USDA Experiment Station Committee on Organization and Policy (ESCOP) Social Science Subcommittee which makes policy recommendations to the USDA regarding social science research and outreach.
  • Developed a downloadable professions program to calculate economic contributions and dependency.