Professor Rachel Thomson


  • Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience)

Rachel Thomson is Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience) at Loughborough University and Professor of Materials Engineering. Rachel moved to Loughborough University in 1995 having gained her degrees at Cambridge University.

Professor Thomson read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, which she then followed with a PhD and Research Fellowship in Materials Engineering at Cambridge.

Professor Thomson joined Loughborough University in 1995 as a Lecturer in Materials, and since then has been Head of that Department and Dean of the School of Aeronautical, Automotive, Chemical and Materials Engineering, before becoming Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience).

Professor Thomson is also committed to engineering education, from the conception and implementation of engineering degree programmes, through to successfully supervising over 40 doctoral research students to completion.

She has initiated many transformational projects of benefit to students, including leading the development of STEMLab which opened in 2017, a £17M investment in shared science and engineering teaching laboratories, Loughborough’s Digital Strategy for Teaching and Learning, and a skills development programme for students, Personal Best.

Professor Thomson became Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching) in 2016 and Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience) in 2022.

The Pro Vice-Chancellor (Education and Student Experience) is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the University’s teaching and learning.

Professor Thomson also has a leading role in the management of the wider Student Experience, in conjunction with Loughborough Students’ Union.

Professor Thomson has been awarded significant grants >£23M, which combines materials modelling and advanced experimental characterisation and has enabled industrial partners to improve the efficiency, lifetime and environmental performance of metallic components used in power generation.

An integral part of the research has been to understand the influence of design, operation, processing, and materials on the behaviour of power generation components for increased thermal efficiency and reduced CO2 emissions.

  • Selected as East Midlands Inspirational Female Leader of the Year in 2018.  
  • Elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, FREng, 2018.
  • Rosenhain Medal, Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining, 2005.
  • E.W. Müeller Outstanding Young Scientist Medal, 42nd International Field Emission Symposium, 1995.