Professor Rachel Thomson

Professor Rachel Thomson FRENg

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.

Rachel’s research 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. She has been awarded >£40m in research and infrastructure grants and has led several large collaborative projects.

Rachel is committed to engineering education, from developing new engineering degree programmes through to successfully supervising ~50 doctoral research students to completion.  She has conceived and implemented many transformational projects of benefit to students, including leading the development of STEMLab – shared science and engineering teaching laboratories – part of a £50M investment in the University estate for which Rachel was the academic lead, Loughborough’s Digital Strategy for Teaching and Learning, a skills development programme for students – Personal Best, and a Student Success Academy. She is also a Director of the East Midlands Institute of Technology.

In 2018, Rachel received the East Midlands Inspirational Female Leader of the Year Award and was elected as a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. She is highly respected and well-connected, as exemplified by her various awards, extensive cross-sector work with both EPSRC and the Office for Students, her academic publications and invited presentations, and contribution to the engineering profession.

Since 2016, Rachel has been responsible for the strategic and operational leadership of education and student experience at Loughborough University.  In 2023, the University was awarded Gold overall and Golds for both Student Experience and Student Outcomes in the Teaching Excellence Framework.