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Prof Norman Williams
Surgical & Interventional Trials Unit (SITU)
Division of Surgery & Interventional Science
Charles Bell House, 43 – 45 Foley Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 7679 9280
Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 9290
  • Professorial Research Fellow
  • Department of Targeted Intervention
  • Div of Surgery & Interventional Sci
  • Faculty of Medical Sciences

My entire research career has been funded by short-term grant funding. This means that much of my time is taken up in exploring new ideas, developing and writing grant applications, and seeing the results through to publication ideally in a high-profile journal. This aspect of the work has become more important in the past five or six years, corresponding to me taking on more senior responsibilities.

A common theme in my research career is running clinical trials to help answer questions is many aspects of medicine, including fetal growth, nutrition, cardiovascular disease, breast cancer, etc. I am able to contribute a depth of knowledge gained from many years of experience, together with a breadth of understanding gained from working with experts in a vast array of disciplines. I can combine this with a long-term view that is necessary to run a successful randomised controlled trial, together with a short-term requirement to generate sufficient income to sustain the Surgical & Interventional Trials Unit.

Research Summary

My research career started in 1982, when for eight years I was employed as a Research Officer in a research institute based in a busy maternity hospital (Queen Charlotte's Hospital, London). I was employed as a member of a team of five studying the role of zinc in human fetal development. This work formed the basis of a part-time PhD, and included a randomised controlled trial that I ran and analysed..

From 1990 to 1998 I was employed though a grant from a private foundation (Howard Foundation, Cambridge) and led a team of five through a variety of clinical studies designed to investigate the roles of natural antioxidants and environmental risk factors in health and disease (principally coronary artery disease).  Some of the work had commercial implications, which led to the participation in several radio interviews, press releases, and patents.


Since arriving in UCL in 1998 I have been responsible for the co-ordination of phase III breast cancer trials run in collaboration with industry, and a translational research study.  I have been appointed as a member of international steering committees, a data monitoring committee, and several smaller groups.  Additional responsibilities include development of new trials, writing grant applications and IRAS submissions, management and oversight of adherence to research governance, provision of expertise in trial management including long-term follow-up, initiating and performing other research activities, training, staff management and development, writing publications and presenting data at scientific meetings and seminars, refereeing manuscripts and grant applications.


The portfolio of studies has recently expanded to include prostate cancer, hepato-pancreatico-biliary disease and liver transplantation. The theme is generally “surgeon led” clinical studies.

Teaching Summary

Teacher on the Research Methodology course (for a variety of MSc and BSc students) run by Dr Catherine Pendegrass of the Centre for Biomedical Engineering.


Teacher on the TARGIT Academy international multidisciplinary specialist training course held at the Royal Free Hospital. Course directors are Professor Mo Keshtgar (London) and Professor Frederik Wenz (Mannheim).


Teacher on the medical student selected component course called ”The Joseph Bell School of Observation, Medical Detection and Diagnostic Precision” run by Professor Malone-Lee of the Division of Medicine.
2013 Deputy Director Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery UCL, United Kingdom
01-JUN-2010 – 2013 Senior Research Associate Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery UCL, United Kingdom
2006 – 01-JUN-2010 Senior Clinical Project Manager Clinical Trials Group, Division of Surgery UCL, United Kingdom
1999 – 2006 Senior Clinical Trial Co-ordinator Cancer Trials Centre, Division of Medicine UCL, United Kingdom
01-SEP-1998 – 1999 Clinical Trial Co-ordinator Cancer Trials Centre, Division of Medicine UCL, United Kingdom
1990 – 1998 Clinical Research Scientist Pathology Department Papworth Hospital, Cambridge, United Kingdom
1982 – 1990 Research Officer   Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, United Kingdom
Academic Background
2009   Chartered Scientist  
1992   Doctor of Philosophy University of London
1981   Bachelor of Science (Honours) University of London
    Bachelor Birkbeck College
2016   Graduate Certificate Birkbeck College
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