Press Releases

Uni Scientist appointed Royal Society Research Fellow – University of Reading

Release Date : 13 November 2009

Dr Paul Williams

Dr Paul Williams from the University of Reading's renowned Department of Meteorology, is to explore how state-of-the-art climate models can be improved after been appointed as a Royal Society University Research Fellow.

The Royal Society is the UK's national academy of science. Their University Research Fellowship scheme aims to provide outstanding scientists, who have the potential to become leaders in their chosen fields, with the opportunity to build an independent research career.

The prospect of significant climate change resulting from anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions presents a major contemporary challenge. In October Dr Williams began work on 'Improving predictive climate models through stochastic parameterization'. Paul's five-year year project will improve state-of-the-art climate models by applying novel techniques that have proven very successful in the field of weather forecasting.

Dr Williams, who will be based in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science within the University, said: "Climate models are the main scientific tool used for predicting climate, but compared to observations they exhibit large systematic errors and insufficient natural variability across a broad range of timescales. There is an urgent need for the models to be improved, in order to reduce uncertainty in predictions of the future climate.

"Climate change is one of the most important challenges of our time. I have chosen to work in climate modelling because I find it fascinating that the secrets of our future climate are locked away in 200-year-old equations from classical physics. I am delighted to be receiving this accolade from the Royal Society, and I look forward to unlocking some of the secrets of our climate in the coming years."

The Royal Society University Research Fellow Scheme is extremely competitive. Fellows are expected to be strong candidates for permanent posts in universities at the end of their fellowships.

Dr Williams is also an associate of The Walker Institute for Climate System Research. Established by the University of Reading in 2006, the Institute draws together a number of internationally renowned climate system research groups and centres, with expertise across a wide range of core disciplines central to climate system science.


For all University of Reading media enquiries please contact James Barr, Press Officer tel. 0118 378 7115 or email

The Royal Society, the UK's national academy of science, has announced the appointment of 38 new University Research Fellows (URFs) for 2009. The scientists took up their new posts at institutions across the UK in October.

The newly appointed URFs are working on a wide variety of projects including the search for life on Mars; determining the chemical conditions during the formation and early evolution of our Solar System; predicting the evolution of the influenza virus; improving current methods of climate modelling to help scientists better understand climate change; and the design of novel materials for the efficient storage of gases such as carbon dioxide and hydrogen.

  • The University of Reading is rated as one of the top 200 universities in the world (THE-QS World Rankings 2009).


  • The University of Reading is one of the UK's top research-intensive universities. The University is ranked in the top 20 UK higher education institutions in securing research council grants worth nearly £10 million from EPSRC, ESRC, MRC, NERC, AHRC and BBSRC. In the RAE 2008, over 87% of the university's research was deemed to be of international standing. Areas of particular research strength recognised include meteorology and climate change, typography and graphic design, archaeology, philosophy, food biosciences, construction management, real estate and planning, as well as law.


  • Standards of teaching are excellent - the University scored highly in the National Student Survey 2009. 87% of Reading students responding to the survey stated they were satisfied with the quality of their course.


  • The University is estimated to contribute £600 million to the local economy annually.


  • University of Reading is a member of the 1994 Group of 19 leading research-intensive universities. The Group was established in 1994 to promote excellence in university research and teaching. Each member undertakes diverse and high-quality research, while ensuring excellent levels of teaching and student experience.


  • The Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading is internationally renowned for its excellent teaching and research in atmospheric, oceanic and climate science. Established in 1965, it is the only UK university which offers a full range of undergraduate and postgraduate courses in meteorology.


  • In 2006 Meteorology at Reading was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education. In the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, 75% of the Department's research was graded as world leading or internationally excellent.


Search Form

Main navigation