I lead an academic group researching innovations in service delivery, patient outcomes, and therapeutic interventions. I have led multi-centre pragmatic trials, used linked data from large data sets and undertaken quasi-experimental studies. As both a provider of routinely collected data as a consultant gastroenterologist, and a user for data linkage studies I have become concerned about both the quality and breadth of clinical data that is currently available for research and other purposes. In 2002 I founded a Health Informatics unit at the Royal College of Physicians where I explored these data quality issues relating to hospital patient records and episode statistics and led a programme of work to define evidence and consensus based standards for the clinical structure and content of patient records. These are now embedded in national policy, and currently being implemented. My work is now focused on improving clinical data provenance to enable the detailed phenotyping of common disorders, and thus facilitate the widespread application of precision medicine.

I am an honorary consultant gastroenterologist, Abertawe Bro Morgannwg University Health Board. I was the founding president of the Welsh Association for Gastroenterology from 2005-2008, and chair of the Society of Physicians in wales from 2011-2013. I led the establishment of Swansea University Postgraduate Medical School.

Areas of Expertise

  • patient recorded outcomes
  • service delivery
  • randomised controlled trials
  • health informatics


  1. Roberts, S., John, A., Brown, J., Napier, D., Lyons, R., Williams, J. Early and late mortality following unscheduled admissions for severe liver disease across England and Wales Alimentary Pharmacology & Therapeutics 49 10 1334 1345
  2. Roberts, S., Brown, T., Thorne, K., Lyons, R., Akbari, A., Napier, D., Brown, J., Williams, J., Thorne, K., Roberts, S., Akbari, A., Williams, J., Lyons, R. Weekend admission and mortality for gastrointestinal disorders across England and Wales British Journal of Surgery 104 12 1723 1734
  3. Roberts, S., John, A., Kandalama, U., Williams, J., Lyons, R., Lloyd, K., Roberts, S., Williams, J., Lyons, R., John, A. Suicide following acute admissions for physical illnesses across England and Wales Psychological Medicine 1 14
  4. Williams, J., Alam, M., Alrubaiy, L., Arnott, I., Clement, C., Cohen, D., Gordon, J., Hawthorne, A., Hilton, M., Hutchings, H., Jawhari, A., Longo, M., Mansfield, J., Morgan, J., Rapport, F., Seagrove, A., Sebastian, S., Shaw, I., Travis, S., Watkins, A., Alam, F. Infliximab versus ciclosporin for steroid-resistant acute severe ulcerative colitis (CONSTRUCT): a mixed methods, open-label, pragmatic randomised trial The Lancet Gastroenterology & Hepatology 1 1 15 24
  5. Williams, J., Alam, F., Alrubaiy, L., Clement, C., Cohen, D., Grey, M., Hilton, M., Hutchings, H., Longo, M., Morgan, J., Rapport, F., Seagrove, A., Watkins, A., Alam, F. Comparison Of iNfliximab and ciclosporin in STeroid Resistant Ulcerative Colitis: pragmatic randomised Trial and economic evaluation (CONSTRUCT) Health Technology Assessment 20 44 1 320

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  • ELIJAH: Electronic Linkage for Inflammatory bowel disease to deliver Joint Access to Health-reports (awarded 2019)

    Other supervisor: Prof John Williams
    Other supervisor: Prof Hayley Hutchings

Recent Research Grants as lead applicant

2008-2014     Comparison of infliximab and ciclosporin in steroid-resistant ulcerative colitis (CONSTRUCT) NIHR HTS Programme £2,774,635

2010-2013     Clinical Documentation Standards NHS CfH £753,000

2010               Thinking out of the box: new technology perspectives in health care. Bridging the Gaps EPSRC, £2,300

2010-2011     Electronic Linkage to deliver Joint Access to Health records- (ELIJAH). The Health Foundation, £74,336

2007-2009     Can routine data support national audit? Health Foundation £80,000

2007-2008     Development of admission record standards NHS CfH £300,000

2004-2007     Development and evaluation of an Information Laboratory (iLab) Department of Health and Welsh Assembly Government £320,000

2004-2005     The burden of disease and the organisation and delivery of services for GI and liver disorders: a review of the evidence. BSG £60,000

2004-2006     Evaluating innovations in delivery and organisation of gastroenterology services (ENIGMA). NIHR SDO Programme £750,000

2003-2006     the modernisations of social care services: a study of the effectiveness of the National strategy for Carers in meeting carer needs DH £102,504

2001-2004     Endoscopy undertaken by nurses: A Multi-institutional Nurse Endoscopy Trial (MINUET) HTA programme £764,000

Recent Research Grants as co-applicant

2016-2019     IASO: A phase II randomised placebo controlled trial of Interleukin 1 blockade in Acute Severe Colitis NIHR EME Programme £1,297,531

2013-2014     Review of digestive health in Europe. United European Gastroenterology (UEG) £199,956

2012-2017     Farr Centre for the Improvement of Population Health through E-health Research (CIPHER) Medical Research Council £4,373,292

2011-2014     Prognostic factors and outcomes for medical emergency admissions. Wellcome Trust £286,957

2010-2013     E-Health industries innovation Centre for Wales. Knowledge Transfer & Collaborative Industrial Research. Welsh Government £446,002

2008-2015     CHI+MED: Computer-Human Interaction research for the design and safe use of interactive Medical devices. EPRSC £1,515,961

2008-2010     Grand Challenges if IT in healthcare: working information driven healthcare system. EPSRC £212,695

2006-2009     Health information research Unit. Wales Office or R & D (WORD) £631,474

External Responsibilities

Director, Health Informatics Unit, Royal College of Physicians

Member, Building a Digital workforce Programme Board, NHS England, 2016-present

Member, Strategic Clinical Reference Group (SCRG) to the NHS England National Information Board (NIB) 2014-present

Member, Foulkes Foundation Awards Committee 2010-present

Member, Faculty of Clinical Informatics Steering Group 2015-present 

Career History

2002-2007     Director, Wales Office of Research & Development for Health & Social Care, Welsh Assembly Government, a post in which I established a research network in Wales (CRC Cymru), commissioned the Welsh Health information Research Unit & SAIL databank, and secured sufficient R & D budget to enable Wales to participate as full member of Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research

1988-2002     Founding Director, School of Postgraduate Studies in Medical and Health Care, Iechyd Morgannwg Health Authority and University of Wales Swansea. I established a Postgraduate Medical School, which became a Clinical School of Medicine in 2002, when a graduate entry medical degree course was established

1968-1988     Royal Navy medical Officer, retiring in the rank of Surgeon Commander

1983-1988     Professor of Naval Medicine, Consultant Physician and Gastroenterologist, Royal Naval Hospital, Haslar, Gosport. Hon Consultant Gastroenterologist, Portsmouth AHA (T)

1979-1983     Consultant Physician, RN Hospital, Plymouth

1970-1979     general professional and higher medical training in London, Portsmouth, Plymouth and Reading

1970               Qualified in Medicine from Cambridge University, following clinical training at St Thomas’ Hospital

Honours and Awards

  • Awarded Erroll Eldridge Prize for research in Royal Navy 1976
  • Awarded Queens Jubilee Medal 1977
  • Elected to the Order of St John of Jerusalem (Serving Brother) 1981
  • Awarded South Atlantic Campaign Medal with Rosette 1982
  • Awarded Honorary Chair in Medicine, University of Wales 1994-2001
  • Awarded NHs Clinical Excellence Award (Platinum) 2004
  • Elected Fellow American Gastroenterological Association 2007
  • Elected Fellow higher Education Academy (FHEA) 2007
  • BSG Endoscopy Foundation Lecturer 2009
  • Elected Honorary Member BSG 2013
  • Appointed NISCHR Senior Faculty Member 2013
  • Appointed CBE for services to medicine 2014