A leading figure at one of the UK’s most distinguished engineering companies, and a former director general at the Ministry of Defence, has received an honorary degree for his outstanding contribution to aerospace.

Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer at Rolls-Royce, joined around 1,000 postgraduate students from more than 100 countries receiving their degrees from Cranfield University today (29 June), on the second of two days of celebrations this week.

Paul is responsible for ensuring Rolls-Royce’s investment in technology is closely aligned with the company’s business strategy.

Prior to commencing his current role in April 2017, he spent seven years working in a variety of other leadership roles at Rolls-Royce, including as Chief Scientific Officer, as engineering and technology director for the company’s nuclear business, and as director of research and technology. In this latter role he was responsible for global investment as well as fostering innovation, and promoting and sustaining specialist engineering talent.

Paul said: “Cranfield is a world-class university with unique capabilities and people. I have always greatly admired its quality of work in aerospace engineering and its pedigree of academics. For these reasons, I feel proud to be awarded this honorary degree and feel that it is a symbol of the history that connects Rolls-Royce and Cranfield University.”

Professor Iain Gray, Cranfield University’s Director of Aerospace, said: “I am delighted that Paul is receiving an honorary degree. Throughout his career, he has encouraged investment in technology, research and top-tier talent – three areas that we also champion here at Cranfield. Rolls-Royce and Cranfield have always had a special relationship, and this award is yet more evidence of our commitment to continuing to work together in pursuit of innovation in aerospace.”

Paul is married, has two children and two step-children, and splits his time between homes in Harrow, London, and Ashbourne, Derbyshire.

Prior to joining Rolls-Royce, he was Director General, Science and Technology, at the Ministry of Defence, where he was responsible for the technical direction, prioritisation and outsourcing of the UK’s £500 million annual investment in defence science and technology.

Earlier in his career, Paul was managing director of contract research and development business Roke Manor Research – at that time owned by Siemens – and a member of the Siemens UK executive management board leading on technology and contributing to business strategy.

Paul holds a degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from King’s College, London, and is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the Royal Aeronautical Society and the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

Other honorary graduates receiving degrees from Cranfield today (29 June) were:

  • Tony Fernandes; group chief executive officer at AirAsia; for outstanding contribution to business
  • Martyn Bromiley; founder of the Clinical Human Factor Group; for outstanding contribution to safety within the airline industry.

On Thursday (28 June), honorary degrees were awarded to:

  • Sarah Willingham; entrepreneur, investor and consumer expert; for outstanding contribution to business and entrepreneurship
  • Indra Nooyi; chief executive of PepsiCo; for outstanding contribution to business.

Meanwhile, Christian Horner, team principal of Formula 1 team Aston Martin Red Bull Racing, was awarded an honorary degree for outstanding contribution to motorsport at a separate ceremony earlier this month.

Honorary degree recipients
Paul Stein, Chief Technology Officer at Rolls-Royce awarded honorary degree