Professor Terry Williams

Director of the Risk Institute


01482 347591

Terry worked in operational research (OR) for nine years, developing project risk management for major defence projects.

He joined Strathclyde University, becoming Professor and Department Head, where he worked in research and consultancy, modelling project behaviour and supporting $1.5bn+ post-project claims.

Terry became Management School Director at Southampton University, then Dean of Hull University Business School in 2011 before recently stepping down to set up the Risk Institute.

He has 80 journal articles (h-index 42), and a number of books to his name. He is an accredited project-manager, has edited a leading academic journal, was on the REF panel, and holds various fellowships.


Research Interests

  • Project management

  • Risk management

  • Operational research

  • Business and management

Research groups

  • Known internationally for research into how to model the behaviour of major projects, both within the practitioner and academic communities

  • Project Management Institute networks, including member of the PMI Academic Member Advisory Group and holder of a number of international research grants

  • IRNOP network

  • Project X theme leader (Infrastructure and Projects Authority)

  • Committee of Professors in Operational Research (previously Treasurer)

  • Previously joint editor of the Journal of the Operational Research Society

  • Holder of various research grants, including as a member of the team awarded a multi-million pound science and innovation contract from the EPSRC and as co-investigator on a £2 million plus multi-disciplinary EPSRC project on Modelling Complexity for the Real World

  • REF panel member


Williams T M, 'Assessing and Moving on from the Dominant Project Management Discourse in the Light of Project Overruns', IEEE Transactions in Engineering Management 52, 4, pp 497-508 (2005)

Williams T M and Samset K, 'Issues in Front-End Decision-Making on Projects', Project Management Journal, 41, 2, pp 38-49 (2010)

Ackermann F, Eden C, Williams T and Howick S, 'Systemic Risk Assessment: a Case Study', Journal of the Operational Research Society, 58 (1), pp 39-51 (2007)

Howick S, Eden C, Ackermann F and Williams T, 'Building Confidence in Models for Multiple Audiences: the Modelling Cascade', European Journal of Operational Research, 186, pp 1068–1083 (2008)

Williams T M, 'How Do Organisations Learn Lessons from Projects – and Do They?', IEEE Transactions in Engineering Management 55, 2, pp 248-266 (2008)

Full list


Research PhDs

  • Project Management

  • Risk Management

Completed PhDs 

Involved in supervising around 20 PhDs. For example

  • T O'Leary, Managing Business Change Projects: a Social Practice Perspective, University of Southampton (2010)

Most recently

  • F Alsahly, Handling Change Requests in Construction of Large Building Projects in Saudi Arabia, University of Hull (2017)

Current PhD supervisions 

  • Moosa Al-Hanshi

Second supervision including

  • Abdullah Alomran

  • Jon Huddlestone

  • Stefi McMaster

Professional highlights

Academic qualifications

  • MA (Oxon) in Mathematics

  • MSc (Birmingham) in Operational Research

  • PhD (Birmingham)

External roles

  • Theme leader in Treasury/Cabinet Office 'Project X'

  • Panel member for REF 2014

  • Member of Project Management Institute Academic Member Advisory Group

  • Previously joint editor of the Journal of the Operational Research Society

  • Fellow of the Institute of Mathematics and its Applications, a Chartered Mathematician, a Fellow of the OR Society and a certified Project Manager (PMP)