Professor Pam A. Thomas is currently the Pro Vice Chancellor for Research at the University of Warwick with responsibility for academic leadership of the research portfolio and strategy across the whole of the institution. In her personal research, she leads the Ferroelectric Crystallography group, which is part of the Condensed Matter and Materials activity in the Department of Physics. Motivated by her interest in how physical properties are derived from structure on a variety of scales, she was the architect of the inter-departmental X-ray diffraction facility, and oversaw its development into one of Warwick’s first Research Technology Platforms in 2014 when she became the inaugural director. She was educated at Oxford University, where she took a BA (Hons) in Physics and a DPhil on the subject of Optical Activity in Crystals in the Physical Crystallography Group of the Clarendon Laboratory.
Pam was the inaugural Director 2009-2011 of the Science City Research Alliance, a major HEFCE-funded research programme for the universities of Birmingham and Warwick, which employed circa 50 Early Career Researchers across the two institutions, many of whom have gone on to significant academic and industrial careers. She also oversaw and managed the investment of £57M from regional and European funding agencies into research infrastructure under the Science Cities initiative, which notably resulted in construction of the Clinical Trials and Mechanochemical Cell Biology buildings at Warwick Medical School as well as major investments in facilities for research in Advanced Materials and Energy.
She followed this by a period as Chair of the Faculty of Science, Warwick’s equivalent of Dean, from 2011-2015, providing over-arching academic leadership to the 9 Departments in the Faculty, which range from Life Sciences and Psychology to Engineering and WMG via Chemistry, Physics, Computer Sciences, Mathematics and Statistics. Notable innovations during this time were Faculty-level activities in widening participation, employability, public engagement and engineering education, where Pam led on the partnership with the new engineering university in Hereford (NMITE).
Pam’s activities for the scientific community have been numerous and she has chaired, led and participated in activities throughout her career for the Institute of Physics, for the Crystallographic Associations in the UK and Europe, the Science and Technologies Facilities Council (STFC) and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF). She is also a frequent panel member and chair for the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC). She was invited by the Minister for Universities and Science in 2016 to lead a task-force on Open Research Data to advise on the implementation of the Open Research Data Concordat. The Task-force’s Phase 1 report was published in July 2017 and will be followed by the final report in early 2018.
Pam is a trustee both of the Turing Institute and of the Faraday Institute and a member of the executive management board of the Midlands Innovation collaboration of universities.
Non-linear optical materials; ferroelectrics, X-ray crystallography.