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Cranfield is the number one university in Europe for aerospace. We are one of the few universities in the world to have its own airport. Our history and heritage in aircraft research and design over the last 75 years is extending into the future with new capabilities in aircraft electrification, unmanned aerial vehicle technology and urban mobility.
As the UK's most business-engaged University, we have long-term relationships and close commercial partnerships with many companies in the sector including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.
Our education, research and consultancy is enhanced by our world-class facilities including the National Flying Laboratory Centre – a unique national asset which provides a hands-on, flying experience – along with flight deck simulators and industrial-scale gas turbine engine test facilities used for performance and diagnostic studies. The Aerospace Integration Research Centre, a £35 million innovative centre built in partnership with Airbus and Rolls-Royce, fosters collaboration between industry and academia, and a new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre is spearheading the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.
Our global research airport offers a unique environment for transformational research. Interconnectivity between our facilities and across academic disciplines is enabling us to rethink the airports, airlines, airspace management and aircraft of the future in a holistic way. Barclay’s first Eagle Lab dedicated to aviation technology and supporting start-ups and SMEs opened on our campus in 2019.
Our National Beyond visual line of sight Experimentation Corridor – created with partners Blue Bear Research Systems, Thales and Vodafone – provides a safe, managed environment for drone and unmanned aircraft experimentation.
Cranfield also has a long history in space systems, having undertaken space studies since the 1960s.
Notable Cranfield alumni include Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce plc and Ralph Hooper, who attended the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in 1946 and went on to become one of the UK’s most important post-war aircraft designers, creating the Hawker Harrier jump jet.