Meryl J. Williams chairs the Board of Management and is President of the Policy Advisory Council of the Australian Center for International Agricultural Research.
From 2004-2005, she was the inaugural Executive Officer of the Future Harvest Alliance Office, supporting the 15 centres of the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) in establishing a formal alliance for collective action.
From 1994 to 2004, Dr Williams was Director General of the WorldFish Center, one of the CGIAR Centers. She concentrated the focus of the WorldFish on eradicating poverty, improving peopleâ€™s nutrition, and reducing pressure on the environment.
Dr Williams began her career in the Queensland government in 1977, responsible for biometrics in fisheries research and the analysis of catch and industry statistics. In the mid-1980s, she was the fisheries statistician focusing on tuna and billfish at the South Pacific Commission.
In 1986, she joined the Australian Department of Primary Industries and Energy (DPIE). Dr Williams established the Fisheries Resources Branch in DPIE to advise the Commonwealth and State governments on how better to manage their shared fisheries stocks at a time when many difficult decisions about resources needed to be made.
In 1990, she became executive director of the Bureau of Rural Resources that advised the Australian Government on the science of key agriculture, forestry, fisheries and quarantine issues.
In 1993, Dr Williams left Canberra to lead the Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS) in Townsville.
Dr Williams is currently a member of the Scientific Steering Committee of the Census of Marine Life, the Steering Committee of DIVERSITAS, the High Seas Marine Protected Areas Working Group.
In 2005, she was a member of the Core Group to assist the development of Australiaâ€™s White Paper on aid. She was elected a Fellow of the Academy of Science, Technology and Engineering in 1993 and awarded an Australian Centenary Medal in 2003.