Rachel Thomson is a Professor of Materials Engineering and a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining.
Rachel read Natural Sciences at Cambridge University, which she then followed with a PhD and Research Fellowship in Materials Engineering at Cambridge. Rachel subsequently 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 (Teaching) in 2016. As Pro Vice-Chancellor (Teaching), Rachel is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the University’s teaching and learning, and aspects of the wider Student Experience.
Rachel’s research, for which she has been awarded significant grants >£23M, 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.
Rachel 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. In 2018 she was selected as East Midlands Inspirational Female Leader of the Year, and elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering
As Pro Vice Chancellor (Teaching), Professor Thomson is responsible for providing strategic and operational leadership for the University’s teaching and learning. She also has a leading role in the management of the wider Student Experience, in conjunction with Loughborough Students’ Union.