Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement

Professor Hywel Thomas
Professor Hywel Thomas FREng, FRS, FLSW, MAE

Professor Hywel Thomas is Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement.

In this role he is responsible for the University's research activities and its engagement with innovation, including commercialisation and the broader economic impact of the University.

Professor Thomas is also a Professor of Civil Engineering, Director of the Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC) and a UNESCO Professor in the Development of a Sustainable Geoenvironment.

Previously Professor Thomas was the University's Pro Vice-Chancellor for Innovation and Engagement and Internationalisation (2010 to 2012). In this role he established strategy covering a diverse range of issues including technology transfer, student enterprise education and engagement with the University's stakeholders.

He has worked on numerous special initiatives, leading the University's work in areas such as student employability, widening access and communication and marketing. He was the Link PVC to the Physical Sciences and Engineering Schools within the University, charged with advising the Vice-Chancellor on their strategic development.

Prior to that role Professor Thomas was the Director of the School of Engineering, one of the University's largest Schools, from 2002 to 2010 and Deputy Pro Vice-Chancellor, Innovation and Engagement from 2007 to 2010.


His specific responsibilities include the development of:

  • the University's Research, Innovation and Engagement strategy
  • cross-University Research Institutes
  • Relationships with Research Councils and other funders
  • Commercialisation of the University's research
  • Preparations for the Research Excellence Framework exercise
  • Research leave policies and the promotion of research leadership


His research interests cover a wide range of geoenvironmental issues, from coupled multiphysics/geochemistry flow problems in soils and rocks, through to sustainability issues in general.

A major focus of his work is the geological disposal of high level nuclear waste. Current interests include the geoenergy field, with major projects on ground source heat, underground coal gasification, exploitation of unconventional gas and carbon sequestration in coal seams.

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 currently works extensively with the UN agencies, UNIDO, UNESCO and the IAEA.

Fellow and memberships

  • 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).

Contact details

PA to the Pro Vice-Chancellor, Research, Innovation and Engagement: Sarah Wallace