Prof Richard A Williams is a graduate of Imperial College and has held posts at University of Manchester (UMIST), Exeter (Camborne School of Mines) and as Pro-vice Chancellor at the University of Leeds (2005–2011) and University of Birmingham (2011–2015). He is a Fellow and Vice President of the Royal Academy of Engineering (UK), a Fellow of the Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (Australia), and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh.
He has worked extensively in establishing new educational and research collaborations in the Middle East, Africa, Singapore, Malaysia and China. He is a visiting professor at the Chinese Academy of Sciences (Beijing); Tianjin University of Finance and Economics, and at Southeast University (Nanjing). He is a trustee of the Carnegie Trust for the Universities of Scotland; an advisory board member of the Lloyds Register Foundation; Lloyds Register 100A1 Ambassador; a member of the Converge Challenge Strategic Advisory Board, and chair of the Scottish Institute for Enterprise.