Cranfield University

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Cranfield University
Cranfield University Arms 2007.jpg
Cranfield University coat of arms
Former names
Cranfield Institute of Technology
College of Aeronautics
Silsoe College
Royal Military College of Science
Motto Latin: Post Nubes Lux;
"Out of darkness, light"[1]
Type Public
Established 1946, incorporated by Royal Charter in 1969
Chancellor Baroness Young of Old Scone
Vice-Chancellor Sir Peter Gregson [2]
Visitor HRH The Duke of Kent
Administrative staff
Students 3,980 (2015/16)[3]
(all postgraduates)
Location Cranfield, Bedfordshire
Shrivenham, Oxfordshire
Campus Rural (both)
Affiliations ACU, PEGASUS

Cranfield University is a British postgraduate and research-based public university specialising in science, engineering, technology and management. It contains two campuses: the main campus is at Cranfield, Bedfordshire, and the second is the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom at Shrivenham, southwest Oxfordshire. The main campus is unique in the United Kingdom for having a semi-operational airport (Cranfield Airport) on campus. The airport facilities are used by Cranfield University's own aircraft in the course of aerospace teaching and research.

Cranfield was founded as the College of Aeronautics in 1946, and became a university in its own right as the Cranfield Institute of Technology in 1969.


The new Vincent Building prior to official opening, May 2008, viewed from the library

College of Aeronautics (1946-1969)[edit]

Cranfield University was formed in 1946 as the College of Aeronautics, on the former Royal Air Force base of RAF Cranfield,[4] which opened in 1937. Together with other individuals, Stafford Cripps was instrumental in the foundation of the original college in 1946, from which the university developed. The Vice-Chancellor's building is known as "Stafford-Cripps".

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.

Cranfield Institute of Technology (1969-1993)[edit]

The Cranfield Institute of Technology was incorporated by Royal Charter in 1969, giving the institution its own degree-awarding powers.[5]

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 undergraduates in 2007 whilst retaining some postgraduate courses.[6]

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". RMCS became wholly postgraduate in c.2007 with undergraduate courses moved elsewhere.

Cranfield University (1993-present)[edit]

In 1993 the institution's Royal Charter was amended to change its name to Cranfield University. (Cranfield had been a full university in every sense since its original Royal Charter of 1969, but the new name was intended to better reflect Cranfield's work in disciplines outside the 'technology' area, such as management and defence.) A decade later in 2003, Cranfield became wholly postgraduate and the Shrivenham site admitted its last undergraduates.[7] 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 programme 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.

Location and campus[edit]

Cranfield University is located in Southern England
Location of Cranfield and Shrivenham campuses in England
Cranfield University Library

Cranfield campus is approximately 50 miles (80 km) north of central London and adjacent to the village of Cranfield,[8] Bedfordshire. The nearest large 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 73 miles (117 km) west of London, adjacent to Shrivenham village, 7 miles (11 km) from the centre of the nearest town, Swindon, and around 23 miles (37 km) from Oxford.

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

Technology Park[edit]

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[9] Europe, which designs and develops cars for the European market. The NTC Europe facility occupies 19,700 square metres (0.0076 square miles) of the Technology Park, representing an investment of £46m by Nissan.
  • Invar Systems Limited,[10] 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.
  • Innovation Centre: the Technology Park is also the location for a large number of smaller companies.

Prior to 2016:

  • Trafficmaster plc[11] occupied 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.

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

Organisation and governance[edit]


The academic schools are:



Academic profile[edit]

The IMRC - Innovative Manufacturing Research Centre at Cranfield University is a project funded by the EPSRC (Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council) undertaking research that addresses issues identified in the UK government’s High Value Manufacturing strategy.[15]

Reputation and rankings[edit]

CWTS Leiden[16]
(2017, world)

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.[6]
  • Cranfield School of Management was ranked 3rd best European Business School within the UK and 13th within Europe in 2008.[17] Its MBA is ranked 37th in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (2013).[18] The Financial Times ranked Cranfield's MBA 38th best in the world in 2013.[19]
  • Cranfield University was ranked 27th in the world for mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering by the QS World University Rankings in 2015.[20]
  • 54% of all aerospace engineering postgraduates and 25% of all agricultural and environmental sciences postgraduates in the UK graduate at Cranfield.[6]
  • Over 10% of the UK’s engineering and sciences PhDs are awarded by Cranfield.[6]
  • Cranfield has received the Queen's Anniversary Prize four times: in 2005 for Further and Higher Education for the Fellowship in Manufacturing Management (FMM) programme; in 2007 for its role in humanitarian demining;[21] in 2011 for contribution to aviation safety through research and training in accident investigation;[22] and in 2015 for its work in water and sanitation.[23]
  • Students on Cranfield's Global Security programme were awarded the Imbert Prize in 2006,[24] 2008[25] and 2009[26] for the development of ideas for the advancement of risk and security management in the UK.

Student life[edit]

Cranfield Students Association (CSA) is the students' union and runs the main student bar, cafe and shop on the Cranfield campus. Ali Alderete Peralta is the President of Cranfield Students Association for 2017/2018.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Arms of the University". Cranfield University. Retrieved 14 July 2007. 
  2. ^ Cranfield University press release 18 February 2013, accessed 22 February 2013
  3. ^ "2015/16 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (XLSX). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 17 February 2017. 
  4. ^ "RAF Cranfield, College of Aeronautics and subsequent history leading to postgraduate University status". Cranfield University. Retrieved 9 January 2008. 
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c d "Cranfield University 2008 Prospectus". Cranfield University. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  7. ^ "Analysis: Military redeploys intellectual might". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  8. ^ "Cranfield Village Newsletter including a history and information on the airfield". Cranfield Parish Council. 
  9. ^ "Nissan UK". Nissan, UK. Retrieved 10 June 2007. 
  10. ^ "Invar Systems Limited". Invar Systems Limited. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  11. ^ "Trafficmaster plc". Trafficmaster plc. Retrieved 10 June 2007. 
  12. ^ "Sir John O'Reilly". Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2007. 
  13. ^ "Sir John O'Reilly". Cranfield University - Biography. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  14. ^ "Professor Sir Peter Gregson FREng". Cranfield University - Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  15. ^ Government Opportunities retrieved 11 April 2013
  16. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017". CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  17. ^ "Financial Times 2008 rankings". Financial Times. 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2009. 
  18. ^ Economist Intelligence Unit. "Which MBA - 2007 rankings -The Economist". 
  19. ^ Financial Times. "Global MBA rankings". 
  20. ^ QS World Rankings. "QS World Rankings by Subject 2015". 
  21. ^ The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education
  22. ^ 2011 Queens Anniversary awards
  23. ^ [1]
  24. ^ Sims, Brian (3 August 2006). "Burrill, Cahalane and Finch win Imbert Prizes". Info4Security. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  25. ^ "ASC lunch". Professional Security Magazine. 30 June 2008. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  26. ^ Sims, Brian (30 June 2009). "Policing with a Brain: the 2009 ASC Annual Luncheon". Info4Security. Retrieved 30 June 2009. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Barker, Revel (1996). Field of Vision; Cranfield University: the first fifty years. Cranfield University Press. ISBN 1-871315-60-3. 

External links[edit]

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