Fellow, Professor Julie Williams CBE FLSW, appointed to be Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales

A Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales, Professor Julie Williams CBE FLSW, has been appointed by the First Minister for Wales Carwyn Jones as the next Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales.


The Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales (CSAW) is responsible for providing independent and top quality scientific advice to the First Minister and his administration across a broad spectrum of topics to support decision and policy making.

 Julie Williams is Professor of Neuropsychological Genetics and Dean of Research at Cardiff University School of Medicine. 

Announcing her appointment, First Minister, Carwyn Jones said:

 “Professor Julie Williams is an outstanding research scientist and her contribution to Alzheimer’s research is recognised worldwide. She is also an able communicator and is an excellent choice as Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales. I am delighted that one of our leading Professors from a Welsh University will hold this position at a time when the role of science in society and the economy is growing in importance. I am confident that she will take us to the next level in terms of our ambition to create a strong and vibrant science base in Wales.”

Professor Williams is one of the UK’s leading figures in Alzheimer’s research and plays a key role in Cardiff University Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics as Head of the Neurodegeneration section.  Her research focuses on identifying and understanding genes which increase the risk of developing complex psychological and neurodegenerative disorders.

 The Society’s President, Sir John Cadogan, said:

“In appointing as its next Chief Scientific Adviser a world-leading Welsh scientist, and an active researcher who is operating at the frontiers of dementia research, the Welsh Government has made a wise choice.  I have no doubt that Professor Williams will make a considerable contribution to the development of science policy in Wales.  I am delighted for her, and on behalf of everyone at the Learned Society of Wales, I wish her every success in her new role.”

 Julie Williams said:

“I am honoured and delighted to have been offered this great opportunity to help shape, develop and champion the role that science plays in our society here in Wales and especially to follow in the footsteps of Professor John Harries who did so much work to support science and scientific research in Wales. 

“The Welsh Government has already proved it takes science seriously and is prepared to construct strategies which take us in new directions and I want to play my part in helping that continue.

 “Wales has some outstanding scientists working at the cutting-edge of research. Part of my role as Chief Scientific Adviser, will be to build on this strength and expand scientific excellence in Wales. The Sêr Cymru initiative provides a real opportunity to achieve this by supporting and attracting world-class scientists and by establishing new National Research Networks, in priority areas of science and engineering.

“One aspect of my new role which is particularly close to my heart is the need to ensure every child in Wales knows the great opportunities which exist for them within the field of science and that science can be great fun.

“I know a lot of hard work lies ahead but Wales and the Welsh Government have already proved we are prepared to lead the way.”


Professor Williams takes up her post in September, on a three year secondment, working for three and a half days a week.  She succeeds another Fellow of the Society, Professor John Harries FInstP FRMetS FLSW, who retired earlier this year and who was responsible for developing the Science for Wales strategy, the Sêr Cymru Research Chairs programme, and a number of other initiatives to increase Wales’s science capabilities.  Professor Williams will build on this, placing a particular emphasis on enhancing the provision of scientific advice in Welsh Government decision making across all its business areas.


Related links

Office of the Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales

Cardiff University School of Medicine Research

Cardiff University MRC Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetics & Genomics