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Photo of Prof Hywel Williams

Prof Hywel Williams

Professor of Environmental Data Science


Telephone: 01392 723777

Extension: (Streatham) 3777

Hywel is a computational scientist focused on challenges around sustainability and environmental change. He is a faculty member in Computer Science, and affiliated to the Institute for Data Science & Artificial Intelligence and the Global Systems Institute, at University of Exeter. He is a Visiting Fellow at Plymouth Marine Laboratory.

Hywel leads an active research group of postdoctoral fellows and PhD students, with diverse interests in environmental data science. He is Co-Director of the Joint Centre of Excellence in Environmental Intelligence, a collaborative research centre operated by University of Exeter and the UK Met Office. He is also Director of the UKRI CDT in Environmental Intelligence and leads the Environmental Intelligence Research Network at Exeter. He teaches courses and supervises student projects in data science applied to the environment, and has been programme lead for a number of postgraduate programmes in data science. He has published >80 research papers in leading outlets (see Google Scholar here). His research has received substantial funding from UKRI (EPSRC, ESRC, NERC), HEFCE, Leverhulme Trust, Children's Investment Facilitation Fund, as well as several commercial and philanthropic sponsors.

Hywel's research career has applied complex systems thinking and computational methods to problems in social sciences, environmental science, evolutionary ecology and artificial intelligence. His work has applied a range of methods including modelling, network analysis, natural language processing and machine learning. Hywel received his PhD in Complex Systems from University of Leeds in 2006. Since then he has worked in the departments of Environmental Science and Computer Science at University of East Anglia, before moving to University of Exeter in 2011 to work first in Biosciences (2011-2017) and then Computer Science (2017 - present). In 2019 he was promoted to Associate Professor in Data Science. In 2022, he was promoted to Professor in Environmental Data Science. Hywel was formerly a Fellow of the Alan Turing Institute and he has also launched a successful spinout company.

Current research interests focus primarily on the application of artificial intelligence techniques to environmental problems. Hywel is especially interested in applied research with real-world impact, engaging with a variety of industry and public sector partners in collaborative projects. If you are interested in working with Hywel on a research project, please get in touch.