Political scientist focused on aid effectiveness, corruption, and natural resources, using political economy and political ecology approaches. Williams' PhD is from the Department of Development Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. The thesis combined ethnographic fieldwork in Central Sulawesi and Jakarta with satellite and survey data, to produce a political ecology of REDD+ in Indonesia since 2010.
He has published in the peer-reviewed outlets: The Journal of Development Studies, Energy Policy, Environmental Impact Assessment Review, Annual Review of Environment and Resources, and Energy Research and Social Science. He has co-edited two books, both with Edward Elgar Publishing, titled Corruption, Natural Resources and Development: From Resource Curse to Political Ecology and Corruption, Grabbing and Development: Real-World Challenges.
Williams' research interests revolve around the uneven politics of natural resource-driven economic development, particularly corruption, neoliberal environmentalism, hypercapitalist growth, indigenous peoples rights, green energy transitions and inequality. Geographically, his focus is on Indonesia and Southeast Asia.
Williams has served as project lead at CMI for longer-term commissioned research projects from Norad and USAID, as well as shorter reviews and evaluations. He is also co-coordinator of U4's thematic portfolio on Corruption and Anti-Corruption Efforts in Natural Resources and Energy Sectors.