His research interests are mainly in processes related to plate tectonics and geodynamics as well as seismology with recent projects on the interplay between topography and deep processes in the Earth. He was a member of the team that first identified structure from more than 1.5 billion year old plate tectonics; he discovered the Mid Lithospheric Discontinuity of fundamental importance the tectonic evolution; and he has discovered a fundamental role of magmatic activity for the development of the economically important sedimentary basins. He has been initiator of more than 40 large scale international collaborative geoscientific projects.
Hans Thybo is elected member of the Royal Danish Academy of Sciences, where he served as vice-president for 6 years; Academia Europaea; Norwegian Academy of Sciences and Letters; and Danish Academy of Natural Sciences, where he is a board member. He is a fellow of Geological Society of America and Royal Astronomical Society, London. He was national representative to ICSU and chaired the Danish ICSU committee 2006-2017. He has been external member of faculty boards and research councils in several countries. He is Honorary Editor of the journal Tectonophysics and associate editor of other journals. In 2017 he received the 1000 Talents Award from China. He was a cofounder of European Geosciences Union, where he has served as Division President, General Secretary and President. Thybo is currently President of the International Lithosphere Program(ILP).