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New director for national research unit

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The University of Stirling, Glasgow Caledonian University and the Chief Scientist Office of the Scottish Government Health Directorates are delighted to announce the appointment of Professor Brian Williams as Director of a national research unit.

The Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions (NMAHP) Research Unit has internationally recognised programmes of work addressing key issues relevant to NHSScotland and the care of its patients. 

Prof Williams is currently Director of the Social Dimensions of Health Institute (SDHI) and Reader in Behavioural Science within the Division of Clinical & Population Sciences & Education, University of Dundee.

As an applied behavioural scientist and health services researcher, he brings a wealth of experience to further develop the Unit’s work and has an excellent research reputation.

Speaking about his appointment he said: “I am really excited to be joining the Unit at this stage in its development. It offers a unique opportunity to lead research which aims to inform health care practice across Scotland and beyond.”

Ros Moore, Chief Nursing Officer for Scotland, welcomed the news: “This Unit is one of only five supported by Government and offers a unique focus on the largest professional group in the service. In just 15 years it has established a growing reputation and Brian brings ideal skills and experience to make their work outstanding.”

Prof Williams is currently a member of the Health Services and Public Health Research Committee at the Chief Scientist Office. Previously he worked as an academic employed within the NHS in both Wales and Scotland, involved in service evaluation within the NHS.  He has had responsibilities for co-ordinating and improving the quantity and quality of health services research across NHS regions and therefore has a central interest in capacity and capability building for health services research among nurses, midwives and allied health professionals.

Prof Williams has an international reputation in the areas of both patient satisfaction with services, and patients’ health and illness behaviours across a range of conditions including cancer, asthma and cystic fibrosis.  Over the past two years he has laid the foundation for a highly innovative programme of research examining the role and importance of patient’s mental images of their illness and the ways these affect their fears, concerns, behaviours and illness outcomes.  The applied nature of his work and his key concern for developing ways of improving patients’ experiences and outcomes means that his appointment will contribute greatly to the Unit’s aim of improving the health of the people of Scotland.

Notes for Editors

The Nursing, Midwifery and Allied Health Professions Research Unit is core funded by the Scottish Government to carry out high quality research into direct patient care. It has bases at the University of Stirling and at Glasgow Caledonian University. See

The Chief Scientist Office (CSO) of the Scottish Government Health Directorates has responsibility for encouraging and supporting research into health and health care needs in Scotland. As part of its remit, CSO supports several specialist research units to provide national centres of excellence in topics with particular importance to NHSScotland. The NMAHP Research Unit is one of five such Units, others are: Health Services Research Unit and Health Economics Research Unit (both at the University of Aberdeen), the Institute of Hearing Research – Scottish Section (jointly with the Medical Research Council) and Social and Public Health Sciences Research Unit (also jointly with the Medical Research Council), both at the University of Glasgow.

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