The Professor of Neuropsychological Genetics will be responsible for providing scientific advice to the First Minister and his administration across a broad spectrum of topics to support decision and policy making.
Professor Williams, who also holds the post of Dean of Research at Cardiff University’s School of Medicine, will take over from Professor John Harries who retired earlier this year.
Professor 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.
“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.
“I am also very grateful to Cardiff University for allowing me to continue the research into the genetic causes of Alzheimer’s Disease with the excellent team we have in place.
“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.”
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… 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 is the NCMH’s Specialist in Neurodegenerative Disorders.
Professor Williams’ research focuses on identifying and understanding genes which increase the risk of developing complex psychological and neurodegenerative disorders.
NCMH Director Professor Nick Craddock said “Professor Williams has made a phenomenal contribution to the work of the NCMH, and know that she will be just as valuable to the Welsh Government in her new role. We are extremely proud of our colleague’s appointment to this prestigious post, and wish her every success.”
Professor Williams will take up her post in September, on a three year secondmen