Dr Holly Foss BA Hons, PhD, FHEA, PGCert

Dr Holly Foss

Department of Civil Engineering
Lecturer - Railway Systems Education

Contact details

Birmingham Centre for Rail Research and Education
Gisbert Kapp Building
University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Holly Foss is lecturer in Railway Systems Education and Director of Education in Birmingham Centre for Railway Research and Education, University of Birmingham.  

She leads the BCRRE teaching group and is responsible for internal, external, and international programmes on Railway Systems.


  • PGCert in Academic Practice (2018)
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (2016)
  • PhD in Hispanic Studies (2015)
  • BA (Hons) in Hispanic Studies (2011)


Holly graduated with a BA (Hons) in Hispanic Studies from the University of Birmingham in 2011. Upon graduating, she was awarded the Sir Henry Thomas Junior Research Fellowship for postgraduate study and then progressed to doctoral study in 2012 under AHRC scholarship. She was awarded her PhD in 2015 for research into writing by female political prisoners during Spain’s Francoist dictatorship.

During her doctoral studies, Holly developed a keen interest in teaching and learning in Higher Education, working as academic writing tutor and postgraduate teaching assistant. After completing her PhD, she began work as a Teaching Fellow, spending part of her time within the Department for Modern Languages teaching languages and cultures and her remaining time within BCRRE focusing on academic writing and international programmes. She was Deputy Director of Undergraduate Studies for Modern Languages in 2016-2017 and Director of Undergraduate Studies for Modern Languages during the academic year 2017-2018 leading the establishment of a new curriculum fit for the challenges of 21st-century university study.

In 2018 she moved to BCRRE full time as Lecturer in Railway Systems Education and took on the position of Deputy Director of Education, and then later Director of Education. She sits on the BCRRE Senior Leaders Team and is responsible for Equality, Diversity, and Inclusivity. Holly manages internal, external, and international programmes in Railway Systems and leads the BCRRE teaching group. She is also involved within the University’s Beacon scheme for Higher Education Academy fellowship, for which she is a mentor and assessor.


  • Urban Railway Engineering (Singapore)
  • Railway Safety and Control Systems

Postgraduate supervision

Holly is currently supervising doctoral study on comparative railway education. She welcomes expressions of interest for work on education and internationalisation, access to engineering, engineering pedagogies. 


Holly’s main interests lie in equality, diversity, inclusivity, and access within Higher Education, particularly focusing on the intersections of pedagogy, experience, and culture. She is currently developing work on internationalisation and on queer pedagogies.

She is additionally interested in the development of academics, researchers, and postgraduate students as teachers and is leading a collaborative project with National College for High Speed Rail related to this.