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
Motto Latin: Post Nubes Lux;
"After clouds light"[1]
Type Public
Established 1946, incorporated by Royal Charter and university status in 1969[2][3][4]
Chancellor Baroness Young of Old Scone
Vice-Chancellor Sir Peter Gregson [5]
Administrative staff
Students 3,935 (2016/17)[6]
(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 at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom at Shrivenham, southwest Oxfordshire.[7] 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, gained degree awarding powers and became a university in its own right as the Cranfield Institute of Technology in 1969.[2][3][4] In 1993, it adopted its current name.[2][3][4]


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 then Royal Air Force base of RAF Cranfield. A major role was played in the development of the college by Roxbee Cox, later Lord Kings Norton, who was appointed to be the first governor of the college in 1945 and then served as vice-chair and (from 1962) chair of the board, he led the drive for the college to diversify, with the Cranfield University School of Management being established in 1967, and petitioned successfully for a royal charter and degree awarding powers. When these were granted in 1969, he became the first chancellor of the Cranfield Institute of Technology, serving until 1997.[8][9]

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 and becoming a full university in its own right.[2][3][4]

In 1975 the National College of Agricultural Engineering, founded in 1963 at Silsoe, Bedfordshire, was merged with Cranfield and run as Silsoe College.[10]

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 changing its name to Cranfield University.[2][3][4] A decade later in 2003, Cranfield became wholly postgraduate and the Shrivenham site admitted its last undergraduates;[11] in 2009 Silsoe College was closed and its activities were relocated to the main campus at Cranfield.[10]

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,[12] 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[13] 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,[14] 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[15] 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.[19]

Reputation and rankings[edit]

Global rankings
CWTS Leiden[20]
(2017, world)
National rankings

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.[21]
  • Cranfield School of Management was ranked 3rd best European Business School within the UK and 13th within Europe in 2008.[22] Its MBA is ranked 37th in the world according to the Economist Intelligence Unit (2013),[23] the Financial Times ranked Cranfield's MBA 38th best in the world in 2013.[24]
  • Cranfield University was ranked 27th in the world for mechanical, aeronautical and manufacturing engineering by the QS World University Rankings in 2015.[25]
  • 54% of all aerospace engineering postgraduates and 25% of all agricultural and environmental sciences postgraduates in the UK graduate at Cranfield.[21]
  • Over 10% of the UK’s engineering and sciences PhDs are awarded by Cranfield.[21]
  • 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;[26] in 2011 for contribution to aviation safety through research and training in accident investigation;[27] and in 2015 for its work in water and sanitation.[28]
  • Students on Cranfield's Global Security programme were awarded the Imbert Prize in 2006,[29] 2008[30] and 2009[31] 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 1 July 2017. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Swain, Harriet (23 January 2012). "Is Cranfield's postgraduate-only university a model for the future?". The Guardian. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Cranfield University". The Independent. 23 July 2014. Retrieved 28 December 2017. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "Cranfield College of Aeronautics history". Cranfield University. n.d. p. 1. Retrieved 28 December 2017. The institution ... was granted university status in 1969 becoming the Cranfield Institute of Technology and it changed its name to Cranfield University in 1993 
  5. ^ Cranfield University press release 18 February 2013, accessed 22 February 2013
  6. ^ "2016/17 Students by HE provider, level, mode and domicile" (CSV). Higher Education Statistics Agency. Retrieved 25 March 2018. 
  7. ^ "How to find us - Cranfield University at Shrivenham". Cranfield University. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  8. ^ "History and heritage". Cranfield University. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  9. ^ "Cranfield University". Lord Kings Norton. Cranfield University. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  10. ^ a b "Silsoe college remembered on new homes estate". Bedford Today. 15 December 2013. Retrieved 1 July 2017. 
  11. ^ "Analysis: Military redeploys intellectual might". Times Higher Education. Retrieved 26 December 2009. 
  12. ^ "Cranfield Village Newsletter including a history and information on the airfield". Cranfield Parish Council. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. 
  13. ^ "Nissan UK". Nissan, UK. Retrieved 10 June 2007. 
  14. ^ "Invar Systems Limited". Invar Systems Limited. Retrieved 20 July 2010. 
  15. ^ "Trafficmaster plc". Trafficmaster plc. Retrieved 10 June 2007. 
  16. ^ "Sir John O'Reilly". Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council, UK. Archived from the original on 7 June 2007. Retrieved 9 June 2007. 
  17. ^ "Sir John O'Reilly". Cranfield University - Biography. Archived from the original on 18 July 2009. Retrieved 18 March 2009. 
  18. ^ "Professor Sir Peter Gregson FREng". Cranfield University - Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor. Retrieved 27 February 2014. 
  19. ^ Government Opportunities retrieved 11 April 2013
  20. ^ "CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017 - PP top 10%". CWTS Leiden Ranking 2017. Retrieved 19 May 2017. 
  21. ^ a b c "Cranfield University 2008 Prospectus". Cranfield University. Archived from the original on 6 February 2009. Retrieved 23 September 2008. 
  22. ^ "Financial Times 2008 rankings". Financial Times. 2008. Retrieved 10 October 2009. 
  23. ^ Economist Intelligence Unit. "Which MBA - 2007 rankings -The Economist". 
  24. ^ Financial Times. "Global MBA rankings". 
  25. ^ QS World Rankings. "QS World Rankings by Subject 2015". 
  26. ^ The Queen's Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education
  27. ^ 2011 Queens Anniversary awards
  28. ^ [1]
  29. ^ Sims, Brian (3 August 2006). "Burrill, Cahalane and Finch win Imbert Prizes". Info4Security. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  30. ^ "ASC lunch". Professional Security Magazine. 30 June 2008. Archived from the original on 3 October 2011. Retrieved 26 June 2009. 
  31. ^ Sims, Brian (30 June 2009). "Policing with a Brain: the 2009 ASC Annual Luncheon". Info4Security. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. 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