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Professor Philip Thomas

Professor Philip Thomas

Professor Philip Thomas

Professor of Risk Management

Queen's Building,
University Walk, Clifton BS8 1TR
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Prof Philip ThomasPhilip Thomas graduated in Cybernetics and Instrument Physics from Reading University with a BSc (First Class Honours) and University Prize.  He gained over 20 years' experience working in the chemical and nuclear industries. His initial posting was with ICI, where he spent 5 years developing control systems for large chemical plants, making extensive use of techniques for dynamic simulation.  He then joined the UKAEA/ AEA Technology, where he headed up Departments concerned with: C&I product development for nuclear and non-nuclear use, non-destructive testing technology and materials research, and research into remote handling and decommissioning of nuclear plant, where he was Customer Project Manager for the green-field decommissioning of the 100MWth/33MWe Windscale AGR.  His book, Simulation of Industrial Processes for Control Engineers, was published in 1999.

He was appointed an Honorary Visiting Professor at City University London in 1995, and took up a full-time Chair in Engineering Development in 2000, a position he held until January 2015.  The University of Bristol appointed him Professor of Risk Management in July 2015.  He has published over 100 articles on control, instrumentation, nuclear decommissioning, risk assessment and economics, as well as 30 industrial reports (recent papers are mainly listed on the J-value website,  His work in risk analysis and management has excited the interest of the national and international press; his findings have been covered by both broadsheets and the popular press, and he has given several radio and television interviews.  His work has received sponsorship from a number of organisations, including EPSRC, ESRC, Government departments, EU and industrial companies.  City University awarded him a DSc in 2005 for his contribution to science and engineering.

Philip Thomas has been an active supporter of Engineering Institutions in their role of encouraging the development and dissemination of new knowledge.  He has served on national committees of the Institute of Measurement and Control since 1979.  He was President in 2001 and Honorary Treasurer for the 4 years to October 2013.  He has served on senior committees of the IEE/IET, on the Board of Trustees of the British Nuclear Energy Society, on the Education and Training Committee of the Nuclear Institute and as Chairman of the Nuclear Academia-Industry Liaison Society (NAILS), 2003 – 2006.  He served as Chairman of the Nuclear Technology Education Consortium Board (2010 – 2013), overseeing the provision of postgraduate education in about a dozen universities in the UK, and teaching the Risk Management MSc module.  He spent time as Associate Editor of the Transactions of the Institute of Measurement and Control, and now sits on the Editorial Board of Process Safety and Environmental Protection, Official Journal of the European Federation of Chemical Engineering: Part B.


Prizes and awards

Institute of Measurement and Control ICI Prize for the best Transactions paper, 1984, 1987 and 1997;  Honeywell International Medal 2004 for distinguished work in control, 2004. 

The Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers Best Paper Prize, 2006

IChemE "Most Cited Author" certificate for each of his first three J-value papers, awarded for the top 75 most cited articles published across the IChemE's 4 journals, 2006 – 2009. 

Elsevier "Top Cited Paper" certificate for each of two further papers on the J-value framework, awarded for articles amongst the 25 most cited carried by the IChemE journal: Process Safety and Environmental Protection 2010 - 2011.



Department of Civil Engineering

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Recent publications

View complete publications list in the University of Bristol publications system

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