Pro-Vice-Chancellor - Aerospace, Transport, Manufacturing and member of the Senior Management team

Professor Helen Atkinson is the Pro-Vice-Chancellor - Aerospace, Transport, Manufacturing at Cranfield University. She was made CBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours 2014 for services to engineering and education.

Professor Atkinson took up office as Pro-Vice-Chancellor of the School of Aerospace, Transport, Manufacturing in September 2017. She was previously at the University of Leicester where she was Head of the Department of Engineering between 2012 and 2016, chaired the £17M project to rebuild the Percy Gee Students' Union and served as Graduate Dean.


Professor Helen Atkinson
Professor Helen Atkinson

Professor Atkinson was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, the highest honour for an engineer in the UK, in 2007. At the time she was one of only 29 women fellows alongside 1400 men. She was the first woman President of the Engineering Professors’ Council (the body which represents engineering in universities throughout the UK) in its fifty year history and has also served as a Vice President and Trustee of the Royal Academy of Engineering. In 2010 she won a national award as a Woman of Outstanding Achievement in Science, Engineering and Technology for ‘leadership and inspiration to others’.

She has been a Visiting Professor at NPU and GRINM in China and is currently a Visiting Professor at Arts et Metier ParisTech, one of the leading French universities for Engineering. Professor Atkinson has an honorary PhD from the University of Liège in Belgium for her international standing as a metallurgist.

She is a Fellow of the Institution of Materials, Minerals and Mining and a Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. She serves on the Skills Panel of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (one of the world’s largest engineering institutions), is a member of the Engineering Leaders Panel of the National Council for Universities and Business and served for five years as chair of the Education and Skills Committee at the Royal Academy of Engineering. She currently serves on the Strategic Facilities Advisory Board for the £200M Sir Henry Royce Institute, a major UK government materials research initiative and was a member of the UK Advanced Materials Leadership Council reporting to the UK Government Department for Business Innovation and Skills on national priorities for materials research.