Dr Gareth Thomson

Dr Gareth Thomson

Reader, Mechanical Engineering and Design

Phone number: 0121 204 3608
Email: g.a.thomson@aston.ac.uk
Room number: MB156D


I am currently a Reader primarily teaching on the Mechanical Engineering family of undergraduate programmes at Aston.

I am actively involved in the development of new approaches to engineering education and am a co-Director for the Aston STEM Education Centre. I am an active collaborator in the global CDIO initiative where I am a UK and Ireland regional co-director and am also co-chair of the SEFI (European Society for Engineering Education) working group on Curriculum Development.

I joined Aston University in January 2009, having previously been the course director of the Mechanical Engineering course at the University of Dundee.In my time at Dundee I was involved in not only the Mechanical Engineering programme but I also set up a joint Product Design degree with Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art. 


At Aston I was also the programme director for the Mechanical Engineering family of undergraduate degrees from 2010-2017 and was Head of Group (Head of Department) for two, 3 year terms concluding in the Summer of 2017.

Qualifications & Education

  • BEng (hons) Mechanical Engineering, Heriot-Watt University, 1989
  • MPhil, Heriot-Watt University, 1992
  • PhD in Laser Materials Processing, University of Dundee, 1998


  • 2009 – date: Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Head of Group, Mechanical Engineering + Design, Aston University.
  • 1993 – 2008: Lecturer, Mechanical Engineering, University of Dundee, Dundee
  • 1991-1992: Research Associate – Laser Cutting Systems, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh
  • 1989 – 1990: Graduate Engineer, Lucas Diesel Systems, London & Gloucester

Teaching activity 

My main teaching interests are in design and smart systems technology and I am module leader for :

ME1501 : Design & Experimentation
ME2045 : Solid Mechanics
ME3070 : Solid Mechanics & Finite Element Analysis

I am also involved in student project work at Undergraduate and Postgraduate level.

Research Interests

My research interest relate to both pedagogy of engineering education and also biomedical engineering.

Within engineering education I am particularly interested in active learning approaches, workspace design and innovative assessment methodologies.

I also have a strong interest in biomedical engineering. In particular I am very keen to examine human factors and safety issues within healthcare technology.

Specific areas of interest include but are not limited to :

  • Design for infection control
  • Infection treatment
  • Surgical safety - reducing risks in surgical procedures through new technology and testing methods.
  • Interactions within healthcare systems
  • Interface design
  • Medical product ergonomics
  • Smart systems design
I am also actively involved with ARCHA (Aston Research Centre in Health Ageing). I am a member of the research strand: 'Technologies supporting healthy ageing'.

I am always very keen to hear from possible PhD students interested in doing research in these areas. Please feel free to discuss possible projects.

Recent research funding

EPSRC : Suture safety and integrity equipment (EP/D003040/1)
KTP : Safety related issues in the design of offshore pumping units (KTP 348)
Photo-activated disinfection : Scottish Optoelectronics Forum (TTOM initiative)

Membership of Professional Bodies

Chartered Engineer and Member of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers for whom I also sit on their Academic Assessment Committee.

National Teaching Fellow (2016)

Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Academy 

Selected publications 

Recent Conference Papers :

Recent Journal Papers :