Cranfield University

Cranfield University
Cranfield University

Cranfield University Crest
Motto Latin: Post Nubes Lux;
"Out of darkness, light"[1]
Established 1993 - gained University Statutes by Royal Charter
1969 - Cranfield Institute of Technology incorporated by Royal Charter
1946 - College of Aeronautics
Type Public
Chancellor Baroness Young of Old Scone
Vice-Chancellor Prof Sir John O'Reilly[2][3]
Visitor HRH The Duke of Kent
Admin. staff 1,800
Students 4,350[4]
Undergraduates 0[4]
Postgraduates 4,350[4]
Location Cranfield, Bedfordshire
Shrivenham, Oxfordshire
Campus Rural (both)
Former names Cranfield Institute of Technology; College of Aeronautics; Silsoe College; Royal Military College of Science
Affiliations ACU
Cranfield logo 2007.jpg

Cranfield University is a British postgraduate university based on two campuses, with a research-oriented focus. The main campus is at Cranfield, Bedfordshire and the second is the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom based at Shrivenham, Oxfordshire. The main campus is unique in the United Kingdom for having its own operational airport (Cranfield Airport) next to the main campus. The facilities at the airport are used by Cranfield University's own aircraft in the course of aerospace teaching and research. The university also has connections in India and Australia.[5][6]



The new School, 'Cranfield Health' prior to official opening, May 2008, viewed from the Library

The university was formed in 1946 as the College of Aeronautics on the former Royal Air Force base of RAF Cranfield[7] which opened in 1937. (See also entries on Harold Roxbee Cox, Sir Stafford Cripps and Roy Fedden, all individuals associated with the foundation of the original College of Aeronautics). Between 1955 and 1969 a period of diversification took place. In 1967 the college presented the Privy Council with a petition for the grant of a Royal Charter along with a draft charter for a new institution to be called Cranfield Institute of Technology. The Cranfield Institute of Technology was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1969, giving the institution its own degree-awarding powers.

The new School, 'Cranfield Health' interior

Since then the former National College of Agricultural Engineering established at Silsoe near Luton, Bedfordshire, in the 1960s, was incorporated. This was relocated to the Cranfield campus and closed for teaching in 2007.[8] An academic partnership with the Royal Military College of Science (RMCS) at Shrivenham was formed in 1984. RMCS, whose roots can be traced back to 1772, is now a part of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and now forms the Defence College of Management and Technology, known as 'DCMT' and from 2009 as "Cranfield Defence and Security". In 1993 a Royal Charter changed the institution's name to Cranfield University.

The first 50 year history of Cranfield University is described comprehensively, but concisely, by the book Field of Vision.[9]

In 2003, the then RMCS site admitted its last undergraduates.[10] In 2006, it was decided that activities on the Silsoe site would be relocated to the main campus at Cranfield. As a result, a substantial building program was undertaken on Cranfield campus, including the provision of departmental buildings and additional accommodation (Stringfellow and Chilver Halls), and Silsoe-based staff were transferred to Cranfield.


Army helicopter display team, graduation 2004.
RAF Red Arrows display team, Shrivenham graduation, July 2003.
Cranfield University Library

Cranfield campus is approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of central London and adjacent to the village of Cranfield,[11] Bedfordshire. The nearest main towns are Milton Keynes and Bedford, the centres of which are both about 8 miles (13 km) away. Cambridge is about 30 miles (48 km) east.

Shrivenham is about 55 miles (89 km) west of London, adjacent to Shrivenham village, 7 miles (11 km) from the centre of the nearest town, Swindon, and around 15 miles (24 km) from Oxford.

Bedford, Milton Keynes, Oxford and Swindon all have fast rail services to central London termini, good access to the main Motorway network and London Heathrow airport.


The five academic Schools are:

Ranking and evaluation

As the university is postgraduate, direct comparison with undergraduate institutions is difficult. Some key facts and figures are:

  • Cranfield’s staff:student ratio is second among UK universities.[8]
  • Cranfield is the only university in the UK to have its own airfield.
  • Cranfield’s commercial clients include airports and airlines, Formula 1 teams, banks and financial institutions, commercial and not-for-profit organisations. They have strategic relationships with household names such as Rolls-Royce, BAE Systems, Boeing, Shell and Nissan.
  • Cranfield School of Management is ranked 3rd best European Business School within the UK and 13th within Europe.[12]
  • Cranfield’s MBA is ranked 18th in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (2009).[13] The Financial Times ranked Cranfield's MBA 26th best in the world in 2010.[14]
  • 54% of all aerospace engineering postgraduates and 25% of all agricultural and environmental sciences postgraduates in the UK graduate at Cranfield.[8]
  • over 10% of the UK’s engineering and sciences PhDs are awarded by Cranfield.[8]
  • Cranfield was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize in 2005 for Further and Higher Education for its Fellowship in Manufacturing Management (FMM) programme. It was awarded the prize in 2007 for its role in humanitarian demining[15]
  • Students on the Cranfield Global Security programme were awarded the Imbert Prize in 2006,[16] 2008[17] and 2009[18] for the development of ideas for the advancement of risk and security management in the UK.

Student life

Notable alumni

Honorary graduates

A number of prominent public figures have been awarded Honorary Graduate status including the following:

Staff, honorary graduates and dignitaries, Shrivenham graduation 2003.
C4D Building, the Centre for Creative Competitive Design, opened 2010

Former Chancellors

1969-1997 Lord Kings Norton
1998-2010 Lord Vincent of Coleshill

Former Vice Chancellors

1970-1989 Henry Chilver, Baron Chilver
1989-2006 Professor F R Hartley

Technology Park

There are a number of companies located on the Cranfield University Technology Park ranging from large international companies to small start-ups. Major companies on the park include:

  • The Nissan Technical Centre[25] Europe, which designs and develops cars for the European market. The NTC Europe facility occupies 19,700 square metres (212,050 sq ft) of the Technology Park, representing an investment of £46m by Nissan.
  • Invar Systems Limited,[26] a major supplier of Warehouse Control Systems and Warehouse Management Systems to clients in the UK, Europe and USA. The company occupies modern air-conditioned offices with excellent facilities for clients and staff.
  • Trafficmaster plc[27] occupies a 10-acre (40,000 m2) site for its European Headquarters. A leading company in telematics, Trafficmaster's advanced technology enables cars and roads to be used more efficiently.
  • Innovation Centre: the Technology Park is also the location for a large number of smaller companies.

An extension to the Technology Park was completed in 2008. A new Aerospace Park on the north-eastern part of the campus is planned.

See also


  1. ^ "The Arms of the University". Cranfield University. Retrieved 14 July 2007. 
  2. ^ "Sir John O'Reilly". Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2007. 
  3. ^ "Sir John O'Reilly". Cranfield University - Biography. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Table 0a - All students by institution, mode of study, level of study, gender and domicile 2006/07" (Microsoft Excel spreadsheet). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 7 April 2008. 
  5. ^ "Cranfield Australia". Retrieved 2010-06-14. 
  6. ^ Coalition courses - The Guardian, 7 August 2007
  7. ^ "RAF Cranfield, College of Aeronautics and subsequent history leading to postgraduate University status". Cranfield University. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  8. ^ a b c d "Cranfield University 2008 Prospectus". Cranfield University. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  9. ^ Barker, Revel; Field of Vision - The First 50 Years, Cranfield University Press, 1996, ISBN 1-871315-60-3
  10. ^ "Analysis: Military redeploys intellectual might". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  11. ^ "Cranfield Village Newsletter including a history and information on the airfield". Cranfield Parish Council. 
  12. ^ "Financial Times 2008 rankings". Financial Times. 2008. Retrieved 2009-10-10. 
  13. ^ Economist Intelligence Unit. "Which MBA - 2007 rankings -The Economist". 
  14. ^ Financial Times. "Global MBA rankings". 
  15. ^ The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education
  16. ^ Sims, Brian (2006-08-03). "Burrill, Cahalane and Finch win Imbert Prizes". Info4Security. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  17. ^ "ASC lunch". Professional Security Magazine. 2008-06-30. Retrieved 2009-06-26. 
  18. ^ Sims, Brian (2009-06-30). "Policing with a Brain: the 2009 ASC Annual Luncheon". Info4Security. Retrieved 2009-06-30. 
  19. ^ "Cranfield's 2011 Honorary Graduates". Cranfield University. 
  20. ^ The Cranfield Trust - Free management support for charities: accessed 19 August 2011
  21. ^ Visit of His Royal Highness to the Royal Academy of Engineering Soiree, 22 June 2009
  22. ^ RAE Soiree details
  23. ^ Barker, Revel, Editor; From the Stringbag to the Jumping-Jet, Rolls Royce lecture by John Fozard, Cranfield University Press, 1996, ISBN 1-871315-61-1,
  24. ^ Cranfield University 2002 - Honorary Graduates. Retrieved on 2010-07-13. (en)
  25. ^ "Nissan UK". Nissan, UK. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 
  26. ^ "Invar Systems Limited". Invar Systems Limited. Retrieved 2010-07-20. 
  27. ^ "Trafficmaster plc". Trafficmaster plc. Retrieved 2007-06-10. 

External links

Main website

Direction and campus maps

Cranfield campus

Shrivenham campus

Other external links

Coordinates: 52°04′24″N 00°37′40″W / 52.07333°N 0.62778°W / 52.07333; -0.62778

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