Professor Charlotte Williams

Professor of Inorganic Chemistry

Charlotte Williams is a Professor of Inorganic Chemistry at the University of Oxford. Her research interests are in polymerization catalysis, polymer chemistry and nanoparticle synthesis.

She investigates how to use renewable resources to make polymers, with a particular emphasis on polyesters and polycarbonates. Her work includes catalysts enabling carbon dioxide copolymerization, lactone ring-opening polymerization and selective catalysis from monomer mixtures (switch catalysis). In 2011, Charlotte founded econic technologies which is commercializing catalysts to transform CO2 into products (

From 2003-2016, she was on the faculty at Imperial College London and during that time served as the head of the materials chemistry research section. Earlier in her career, she was a postdoctoral researcher at Cambridge University (2002-2003), working with Andrew Holmes and Richard Friend (Organometallic polymers for electronics), and at the University of Minnesota (2001-2002) working with Bill Tolman and Marc Hillmyer (zinc catalysts for lactide polymerization). She obtained her BSc and PhD from Imperial College London, working with Vernon Gibson and Nick Long on ethene polymerization catalysis.

Charlotte’s work has been recognised by recent prizes from DECHEMA (Otto Roelen Medal, 2018), The UK Catalysis Hub (Sir John Meurig Thomas Medal, 2017) and the Royal Society of Chemistry (Corday Morgan Medal, 2016).

In February 2020, Professor Williams gave the public lecture 'Future options for making plastics more sustainable' at the Oxford Martin School.