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Cymraeg

Professor Julie Williams appointed Chief Scientific Adviser to the Welsh Government

02 August 2013

The First Minister Carwyn Jones and Economy, Science and Transport Minister Edwina Hart today ( Friday 2nd August) announced that Professor Julie Williams CBE has been appointed as the new Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales.

Merthyr-born Professor Williams, currently Professor of Neuropsychological Genetics and Dean of Research at the School of Medicine at Cardiff University, was appointed following an open competition. She is an eminent academic in the field of Alzheimer’s research

The Chief Scientific Adviser for Wales (CSAW) is responsible for the provision of 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 in different contexts.

Professor Williams will take up her post in September, on a three year secondment, working for three and a half days a week. She takes over from Professor John Harries who retired earlier this year and was responsible for developing the Science for Wales strategy and introducing a number of initiatives to increase Wales’ science capabilities.

Prof. Williams will build on this base, placing a particular emphasis on enhancing the provision of scientific advice in Welsh Government decision making across all its business areas.

The First Minister said: "Professor Julie Williams is an outstanding research scientist and her contribution to Alzheimer’s research is recognised world wide. 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."

Minister for the Economy, Science & Transport, Edwina Hart, said, "The role of the Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government is an important one, particularly given the Government’s stated commitment to research, development and innovation and its importance for jobs and growth in Wales.

"I am delighted that Professor Williams has accepted the post - she is a great role model for women in science and particularly well placed to fulfil the role of Chief Scientific Adviser. Her networks of national and international scientists will be crucial in opening the doors for Wales.

"These are exciting times for science in Wales and Professor Williams will play a key role in co-ordinating and delivering the commitments in our Science for Wales strategy that includes the National Research Networks and Sêr Cymru (Stars Wales).

"The £50m Ser Cymru flagship science initiative is designed to attract and select outstanding science professors from across the world to work in Wales with the aim of winning more competed for science research funding. In June we announced that Prof Yves Barde, a world-leading neurobiologist, will join Cardiff School of Biosciences through the Sêr Cymru science initiative, taking up the position of Sêr Cymru Research Chair in Neurobiology and we anticipate further announcements shortly."

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.  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 am also very grateful to Cardiff University for allowing me to continue the research into the genetic causes of Alzheimers 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."

-Ends-

 

Notes for Editors

Professor Julie Williams was born in Merthyr Tydfil and studied psychology at Cardiff University.

She is a Dean of Research at the School of Medicine, Cardiff University and her contribution to Alzheimer’s disease research was recognized nationally when she was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (C.B.E.) in the Queens Jubilee Birthday Honours list 2012.

Professor Julie Williams is one of the UK's leading figures in Alzheimer's research and plays a key role in the Medical Research Council (MRC) Centre on Neuropsychiatric Genetics and Genomics as Head of the Neurodegeneration section.

Professor Williams' research focuses on identifying and understanding genes which increase the risk of developing complex psychological and neurodegenerative disorders and brings to the Research Institute extensive research expertise in Alzheimer’s disease, developmental dyslexia and psychotic disorders.

Having initially worked in the field of Schizophrenia research, her research has moved to Alzheimer’s disease, which remains her main research interest to date. Among her most important work is the discovery of susceptibility genes for Alzheimer’s disease – findings highlighted by Time Magazine as among the top 10 medical breakthroughs of 2009.

Professor Williams’ previous research has also focused on the molecular genetics of developmental dyslexia (DD) resulting in funding from the Wellcome Trust, the Health Foundation and the Medical Research Council to support sample collection and genotyping. Her work on a susceptibility gene for DD was highlighted by the journal Science as one of the major discoveries of 2005.

Professor Williams was instrumental in establishing a Biostatistics/Bioinformatics Unit in Cardiff and is a former Chief Scientific adviser to the Alzheimer’s Research Trust, UK.


Yr Athro Julie Williams yn cael ei phenodi’n Brif Gynghorydd Gwyddonol Llywodraeth Cymru

Heddiw, cyhoeddodd Carwyn Jones, Prif Weinidog Cymru, ac Edwina Hart, Gweinidog yr Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth, mai’r Athro Julie Williams CBE yw Prif Gynghorydd Gwyddonol newydd Cymru.

Penodwyd yr Athro Williams, a aned ym Merthyr, ar ôl cystadleuaeth agored. Ar hyn o bryd, mae’n Athro Geneteg Niwroseicolegol ac yn Ddeon Ymchwil yn Ysgol Feddygaeth Prifysgol Caerdydd ac mae hefyd yn academydd amlwg ym maes ymchwil i glefyd Alzheimer.

Prif Gynghorydd Gwyddonol Cymru sy’n gyfrifol am roi cyngor gwyddonol annibynnol, o ansawdd uchel i Brif Weinidog Cymru a’i weinyddiaeth, a hynny ar draws amrywiaeth eang o bynciau, er mwyn eu helpu i wneud penderfyniadau a llunio polisïau mewn cyd-destunau gwahanol.

Bydd yr Athro Williams yn dechrau yn ei swydd ym mis Medi, ar secondiad tair blynedd, gan weithio tri diwrnod a hanner yr wythnos. Mae’n cymryd yr awenau oddi wrth yr Athro John Harries a ymddeolodd yn gynharach eleni ac a oedd yn gyfrifol am ddatblygu’r strategaeth Gwyddoniaeth i Gymru ac am gyflwyno nifer o fentrau  i wella gallu Cymru ym maes gwyddoniaeth.  

Bydd yr Athro Williams yn adeiladu ar y sylfaen hon, gan roi pwyslais arbennig ar wella’r broses o roi cyngor gwyddonol i Lywodraeth Cymru wrth iddi fynd ati i wneud penderfyniadau ar draws ei holl feysydd busnes.

Dywedodd y Prif Weinidog: "Mae’r Athro Julie Williams yn wyddonydd ymchwil nodedig ac mae ei chyfraniad i ymchwil ar glefyd Alzheimer yn cael ei gydnabod ledled y byd. Mae ganddi hefyd y gallu i gyfathrebu ac mae’n ddewis gwych fel Prif Gynghorydd Gwyddonol Cymru.

"Dw i’n falch iawn mai un o’n hathrawon mwyaf blaenllaw o Brifysgol yng Nghymru fydd yn dal y swydd hon ar adeg pan fo gan wyddoniaeth ran gynyddol bwysig i’w chwarae yn ein cymdeithas a’n heconomi. Dw i’n ffyddiog y bydd hi’n ein symud ymlaen i’r lefel nesaf o ran ein huchelgais i greu sylfaen wyddoniaeth gref a ffyniannus yng Nghymru."  

Dywedodd Edwina Hart, Gweinidog yr Economi, Gwyddoniaeth a Thrafnidiaeth:

"Mae swydd Prif Gynghorydd Gwyddonol y Llywodraeth yn un bwysig, yn enwedig o gofio ymrwymiad y Llywodraeth i ymchwil, datblygu ac arloesi, a’u pwysigrwydd i swyddi a thwf yng Nghymru.    

"Dw i’n hynod falch bod yr Athro Williams wedi derbyn y swydd – mae’n esiampl wych i fenywod ym maes gwyddoniaeth ac mae mewn sefyllfa arbennig o dda i ymgymryd â gwaith Prif Gynghorydd Gwyddonol. Mae’r rhwydweithiau o wyddonwyr sydd ganddi yn genedlaethol ac yn rhyngwladol yn hollbwysig o ran agor drysau i Gymru.

"Mae’n adeg gyffrous i wyddoniaeth yng Nghymru a bydd yr Athro Williams yn chwarae rhan allweddol wrth gydgysylltu a gwireddu’r ymrwymiadau yn y strategaeth Gwyddoniaeth i Gymru, sy’n cynnwys y Rhwydweithiau Ymchwil Cenedlaethol a Sêr Cymru.

"Menter wyddoniaeth flaenllaw yw Sêr Cymru, sy’n werth £50 miliwn. Ei diben yw denu a dewis athrawon coleg mawr eu bri ym maes gwyddoniaeth i ddod i Gymru o bedwar ban byd gyda’r nod o sicrhau ein bod yn dod i’r brig mewn cystadlaethau i ennill mwy o gyllid ar gyfer ymchwil wyddonol. Cyhoeddwyd ym mis Mehefin y byddai’r Athro Yves Barde, un o niwrofiolegwyr mwyaf blaenllaw’r byd, yn ymuno ag Ysgol Biowyddorau Caerdydd drwy fenter wyddoniaeth Sêr Cymru, gan gymryd swydd Cadair Ymchwil Sêr Cymru mewn Niwrofioleg. Rydyn ni’n rhagweld y byddwn ni’n gwneud rhagor o gyhoeddiadau cyn bo hir."

Dywedodd yr Athro Williams: "Mae’n fraint ac yn anrhydedd cael cynnig y cyfle gwych hwn i helpu i siapio, datblygu a hyrwyddo’r rôl mae gwyddoniaeth yn ei chwarae yn ein cymdeithas yma yng Nghymru. Mae’n fraint arbennig cael dilyn yn ôl traed yr Athro John Harries, a wnaeth cymaint o waith i gefnogi gwyddoniaeth ac ymchwil wyddonol yng Nghymru. Mae Llywodraeth Cymru wedi profi eisoes ei bod yn cymryd gwyddoniaeth o ddifrif a’i bod yn barod i lunio strategaethau sy’n ein tywys i gyfeiriadau newydd, a dw i am chwarae fy rhan i, gan helpu i sicrhau bod y gwaith hwnnw’n parhau.

"Mae gan Gymru wyddonwyr ardderchog sydd ar flaen y gad ym maes ymchwil. Rhan o ’ngwaith i fel Prif Swyddog Meddygol fydd adeiladu ar y cryfder hwnnw a sicrhau mwy o ragoriaeth wyddonol yng Nghymru. Mae menter Sêr Cymru yn gyfle gwych i gyrraedd y nod yn hynny o beth, drwy gefnogi a denu gwyddonwyr o’r radd flaenaf a thrwy sefydlu Rhwydweithiau Ymchwil Cenedlaethol newydd yn y meysydd sy’n cael blaenoriaeth, sef gwyddoniaeth a pheirianneg.

"Un agwedd ar fy swydd newydd sy’n arbennig o agos at fy nghalon yw’r angen i sicrhau bod holl blant Cymru yn gwybod am y cyfleoedd gwych sydd ar gael iddyn nhw ym maes gwyddoniaeth, a bod gwyddoniaeth yn gallu bod yn hwyl. Dw i hefyd yn ddiolchgar iawn i Brifysgol Caerdydd am ganiatáu i fi, ar y cyd â'r tîm gwych sydd gennym, barhau â’r ymchwil i’r ffactorau genetig sy’n gallu achosi clefyd Alzheimer.

"Gwn fod llawer o waith caled o’m blaen ond mae Cymru, a Llywodraeth Cymru, wedi profi eisoes ein bod yn barod i arwain y ffordd."

-Diwedd-