Professor Hywel Thomas is Professor of Civil Engineering at Cardiff University, Wales, UK; the founder Director of the Geoenvironmental Research Centre (GRC) at the University and a UNESCO Professor in the Development of a Sustainable Geoenvironment.
His research interests lie in the area of “Coupled Processes in the Ground”. His work has covered a wide range of geoenvironmental issues, from coupled multiphysics/geochemistry flow problems in soils and rocks, to waste disposal, including nuclear waste. Other subjects of interest include land regeneration and sustainability issues in general. Current interests are focused on the geoenergy field, with major projects on ground source heat, underground coal gasification, exploitation of unconventional gas and carbon sequestration in coal seams. He has worked extensively with the UN agencies, UNIDO (United Nations Industrial Development Organisation, UNESCO and the IAEA (International Atomic Energy Agency).
In 2013, the Geoenvironmental Research Centre was awarded the Queens Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, “In recognition of geoenvironmental solutions to major challenges of land, ground water quality and regeneration.”
His academic achievements have been recognised by election as a Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS) in 2012, a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (FREng) in 2003, a Member of Academia Europaea, the Academy of Europe (MAE) in 2012 and a Fellow of the Learned Society of Wales (FLSW) in 2011. He was recently made an Honorary Professor at Zhejiang University, China.
He was the Director of the School of Engineering at Cardiff University for the 8 year period 2002 to 2010. He was subsequently a Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University for a further 8 year period from 2010 to 2018. During this time he initially covered the Innovation, International and Engagement portfolios before taking on the role of Pro Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation and Engagement, from 2013 to 2018.
In 2017 he received a CBE in the New Year’s Honours List for “Services to Academic Research and Higher Education”.