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Michelle H. Williams


Curriculum Vitae




Michelle Williams



 Agro Food Park 48, 8200 Aarhus N, Denmark

   + 45 25 17 00 49       


Sex: Female | Nationality British / New Zealand



1988            PhD (University Sydney, Australia)

1984            B Hort Sci (Hons I, Lincoln University, NZ)

Years as a 100% Scientific Researcher:                                18                                      (1984 - 2003)

Years as a 100% Leader:                                                     17                                      (2003 - )



Michelle is a research leader and innovator in quality food systems. Her own research expertise is in plant-based foods, and she has led research teams within sustainable food production, food chemistry and processing, validated biofunctionality and health attributes of food, through to the sensory and consumer focused research.
She has gained a strong international research background from 18 years’ experience in Australia, America, New Zealand & Denmark. She has had 17 years’ experience as a leader of research initiatives and as a leader of human and capital resources. Michelle has experience in initiating, coordinating & leading large interdisciplinary and internationally based research consortium within sustainable production of food.
Michelle has a strength in building motivated, successful and competitive research teams and she has a focus on mentoring early career researchers. She has considerable experience in strategic leadership through being Head of Department of Food Science with up to 150 staff and students, where she also holds significant financial accountabilities for both projects and Department finances. Michelle has excellent communication skills and is often asked to present and represent food related issues in industry-based networks, and at national and international levels.



Professional appointments:

2011 -            Head of Department, Department of Food Science, Aarhus University, Denmark

2008 - 2011    Research Leader, Department of Horticulture, Aarhus University, Denmark

2005 - 2008    Group Leader Quality Systems, The Horticultural and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, NZ

2003 - 2005    Team Leader Quality Systems, The Horticultural and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, NZ

2000 - 2003    Senior Scientist, The Horticultural and Food Research Institute of New Zealand, NZ

1994 - 2000    Senior Scientist, Department of Ornamentals, Danish Institute of Agricultural Sciences, Denmark

1992 - 1994    Postdoc, Department of Environmental Horticulture. University of Florida, USA

1991 - 1992    Postdoc, Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation, North Ryde, Australia

1989 - 1991    Postdoc, Commonwealth Scientific Industrial Research Organisation, Adelaide, Australia

1988 - 1989    Postdoc, Department of Biological Sciences, Stanford University, USA

1984 - 1988    PhD student, Department of Horticulture, University of Sydney, Australia



Experience in Leadership (2011 - ): 

  • Member of Faculty Leadership, Board member on 3 Aarhus University Interdisciplinary Centers
  • Experience as Head of Department leading up to 150 academic staff
  • Responsible for strategy, reporting, recruitment, investments, capability development, working environment, education portfolio
  • Department Chair of Health and Safety Committee, Chair of Institute Forum, Chair of Local Collaboration Committee, Chair of Department Leadership Team
  • Steering Committee member on behalf of AU on several nationally funded project consortium
  • Economic accountability, forecasting and delivery for Department economy of up to 13 M Euro per year
  • Accountable for mentoring and partnering senior staff and leaders
  • Responsible for effective resolution of staff issues/conflicts/performance/remuneration
  • Active at both Faculty and University level in food related initiatives, coordination, staff diversity and human resource issues
  • 2019 completed Department relocation: 8 year project to relocate Department from 2 regional sites to a new building at the leading food innovation ecosystem; Agro Food Park
  • Actively involved in international recruiting of permanent staff and talent layer
  • Setting standards for delivery and reporting to meet stakeholder expectations
  • Actively contributed to science reviews, strategic pathway, enterprise model and leadership framework



Research Leadership (2011 - ):

2020 -            Coordinator of FOODHAY; Food & Health Open Innovation Laboratory; 14 M Euro

2016 – 2019   Coordinator EU H2020 Thematic Network: EUFRUIT at 2 M Euro, 21 Partners, 17 country participants

2014 –           Chair / Board Member / DK representative on the European Fruit Research Institutes Network (EUFRIN)

2014 -            Steering Committee Arla Foods Dairy Health and Nutrition Excellence Center

2014 - 2018    Steering Committee Danish Food Network

2013 - 2018    Member Food Council Central Denmark Region (CDR)

2012 - 2017    Steering Committee Health Vision Central Denmark Region (CDR)

2012 –           Chair of Aarhus University (AU) FOOD PLATFORM

2010 – 2013   Project Leader of Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, (FERV) Organic RDD Project: FruitGrowth: 1 M Euro. Danish project across 3 Universities, industry consultants and growers.

2009 - 2013    Project Leader of Interreg IVB North Sea Region: ClimaFruit at 6 M Euro. Transnational project with 5 participating countries.

2009 - 2012    Project Leader of Danish Food Industry Agency (DFFE): Sustainable future for Danish apples, pears & strawberries at 3.5 M Euro. Danish project across 4 Universities and 8 industry partners.



Member of National and International Industry consortium (2011 - ): 

2020 - 2023    EIT food Supervisory Board Member

2019-             Member of Business Region Aarhus Partnership

2018-             Member of EIT-food CLC NE's Partnership

2018-             AU representative on Danish Council for Healthy Food

2014-             Steering Committee Arla and AU Strategic Framework Agreement

2014 -            Steering Committee Arla Food for Health Centre

2014 - 2018    Steering Committee Danish Food Network

2013 - 2018    Member Food Council Central Denmark Region (CDR)

2012 - 2017    Steering Committee Health Vision Central Denmark Region (CDR)



Linguistic skills:

                         English (mother tongue)

                      Danish (written and verbal fluent)