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Dr Heather Williams is a Lecturer in the Defence Studies Department and Centre for Science and Security Studies (CSSS). She is an Associate Fellow at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), a Senior Associate Fellow at the European Leadership Network and serves on the Wilton Park Advisory Council. She serves on the boards of the Nonproliferation Review and the UK Project on Nuclear Issues (PONI). From 2018-2019, Dr Williams served as Specialist Advisor to the House of Lords International Relations Committee inquiry into the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and Disarmament.

Heather is also an adjunct Research Staff Member in the Strategy, Forces, and Resources Division of the Institute for Defense Analyses in Alexandria, Virginia, where she has worked since 2008 on U.S. nuclear policy. Until January 2015, Heather was a Research Fellow on Nuclear Weapons Policy at Chatham House and led research on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Humanitarian Impacts of Nuclear Weapons Initiative. She has a PhD from the Department of War Studies at King's College London, a BA in International Relations and Russian Studies from Boston University, and an MA in Security Policy Studies from The George Washington University.


  • History and theories of arms control
  • Impact of emerging technologies on deterrence and arms control
  • Social media and conflict escalation
  • Nuclear disarmament and the nuclear order
  • Trust-building in international relations

Dr Williams' research falls under three main strands: the future of arms control, disarmament and global nuclear order, and the impact of social media on international security.

Working within the Centre for Science and Security Studies, her research explores opportunities for trust-building across a wide array of security issues, and strives to produce policy-relevant outputs.

Her research is supported by the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office, MacArthur Foundation, Carnegie Corporation of New York, U.S. Department of Defense, and U.S. Department of Energy.


Dr Williams is willing to supervise students with a dissertation proposal on topics relating to arms control, emerging technology, deterrence, US-Russia relations, and NATO.


Asymmetric Arms Control and Strategic Stability: Options for Limiting Hypersonic Glide Vehicles,’ Journal of Strategic Studies.

A nuclear babel: narratives around the Treaty on the Prohibition of Nuclear Weapons,’ The Nonproliferation Review.

Strategic Stability, Uncertainty, and the Future of Arms Control,’Survival.


Remaining Relevant: Why the NPT Must Address New Emerging Technologies

Escalating by Tweet: Managing the New Nuclear Diplomacy

Further details

See Heather's research profile