Eric Jackson Thomas

Former Vice-Chancellor of Bristol University
Former Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN)
Former President of Universities UK (UUK)


Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol until his retirement in August 2015, Sir Eric Thomas graduated in medicine from the University of Newcastle upon Tyne in 1976 and obtained his MD by thesis in research into endometriosis in 1987. He trained as an obstetrician and gynaecologist and worked at the universities of Sheffield and Newcastle before being appointed Professor of Obstetrics and Gynaecology at the University of Southampton in 1991. He was Head of its School of Medicine before becoming Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, Health and Biological Sciences in 1998, and then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Bristol in 2001.

Between 2013 and 2015 Sir Eric was appointed the Government’s UK International Education Champion and co-chaired the International Education Council alongside the Universities and Science Minister. In this capacity he advised on international education strategy and worked with government and industry to support the UK education sector.

Among his many public roles Sir Eric has served as President of Universities UK (2011-2013), Trustee and Chair of CASE Europe (2007-2014), member of the CASE Board, North America (2010–2014) and Chair of the Worldwide Universities Network (2003–2007). He is a Governor of the University of the Arts London and a Trustee of IntoUniversity, of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists and HRH Commonwealth Study Conferences. Married with two children, he was a Deputy Lieutenant of the City/County of Bristol until 2015. He was awarded a Knighthood in the Queen’s Birthday Honours in 2013 for services to higher education.

Letter of Appointment

From the left, H. E. Mr. Hayasi, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary, Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom and Sir Eric Jackson Thomas