Professor Hywel Rhys Thomas CBE
Bevan Commission Member
Professor Hywel Thomas is a Professor of Civil Engineering, Founder Director of the Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC) and a UNESCO Professor in the Development of a Sustainable Geoenvironment at Cardiff University. He is also a Distinguished Research Professor at Swansea University and an Honorary Professor at Zhejiang University, China. Prior to these roles Professor Thomas was Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement at Cardiff University (2012 to 2018); Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation and Engagement and Internationalisation (2010 to 2012) and the Director of the School of Engineering, (2002 to 2010).
During the course of his academic career, he has produced more than 400 technical papers and reports and has lectured extensively both at home and abroad. He has worked extensively with the UN agencies, UNIDO, UNESCO and the IAEA.
Professor Thomas’ extensive personal research profile includes:
- Responsible for undertaking and coordinating research across a range of geoenvironmental problems, e.g. waste disposal, including high level nuclear waste and contaminant transfer in soil.
- Produced to date 428 publications, including one textbook, six edited books, 113 refereed journal papers, 128 refereed conference papers, 12 invited contributions/chapters in books, 150 technical reports and 18 other publications.
- Supervised over 80 research assistants and students.
- During academic career, attracted research funding in support of this work of approximately £28M.
- Organised and lectured on numerous specialist short courses and conferences, including the British Geotechnical Association’s Geoenvironmental Engineering Conference Series, initiated at Cardiff.
- Served on over 30 international conference organising committees.
- Presented almost 90 invited lectures in 21 countries, including 24 keynote/feature/theme/named lectures.
Professor Thomas’ elected fellowships are as follows:
- Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS)
- Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng)
- Member of Academia Europaea , the Academy of Europe (MAE)
- Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales (FLSW).
Additionally he has just been selected (March 2020) to become the next President of the Learned Society of Wales and will take office in May 2020.
Professor Thomas’ notable achievements as Pro Vice-Chancellor include:
- A 2014 “REF” result placing Cardiff University 5th in the UK in terms of its research performance and 2nd in the UK in terms of the Impact of its research.
- The successful development of the University’s Innovation System, within which the University’s contribution to the successful development of the Compound Semi-Conductor Cluster has been achieved, leading to the award by the UK Government of a Compound Semi-Conductor Catapult in Wales.
- Improved engagement of the University locally, as exemplified by the achievements of the University’s Flagship Engagement Projects e.g. Community Engagement in Grangetown.