Contact Dr Albert S.J. van Heerden

Areas of expertise

  • Aeronautical Systems
  • Aircraft Design
  • Computing, Simulation & Modelling
  • Flight Physics
  • Power Systems & Turbines


General background

Dr Albert S.J. van Heerden (Stevan) is an aerospace engineer and research fellow in the Centre for Propulsion and Thermal Power Engineering and the Cranfield Rolls-Royce University Technology Centre. His research interests include the design, mathematical modelling, and simulation of complex engineered systems. The main applications of his work are in aircraft design, propulsion, and aerothermal systems. Since starting at Cranfield, he has been involved in several UK and EU research projects involving aircraft thermal management, hydrogen propulsion, and hybrid electric propulsion.

Prior to his postgraduate studies, Stevan gained four years of aerospace industry experience, working as an aerodynamicist and control engineer.


Stevan has a PhD in Aerospace Engineering, obtained at Cranfield University, an MS in Aeronautics from the California Institute of Technology, and a BEng in Mechanical Engineering from the University of Pretoria.


Stevan has published in several high-impact, peer reviewed academic journals and at international aerospace conferences around the globe.

Awards and honours

  • Eric Beverley award for PhD research from the Coach Makers and Coach Harness Makers of London (2016)
  • Fulbright Scholarship (2012–2014)
  • Best poster presentation at the Aerospace Symposium of South Africa (2009)
  • Academic honorary colours from the University of Pretoria (2009)

Research opportunities

  • Computational techniques for aerospace vehicle, propulsion, and systems design
  • Integrated thermal management systems design, modelling, analysis, and optimisation
  • Characterisation and optimisation of complex engineered systems lifecycle properties

Current activities

Research and consultancy projects

  • Powerplant Integration of Novel Engine Systems (PINES) (Innovate UK)
  • FlyZero (Aerospace Technology Institute)
  • Several consultancy projects with industry partners

Teaching and student supervision

Stevan regularly supervises several Thermal Power MSc individual research projects. He also supports teaching in three separate modules on aeronautical systems for the Centre for Propulsion and Thermal Power Engineering and the Centre for Aeronautics.


  • Associate of the Royal Aeronautical Society
  • Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
  • Committee Member of the Royal Aeronautical Society, Cranfield Branch

Refereeing for high-impact journals

  • Aerospace Science and Technology (journal)
  • Systems Engineering (journal)
  • Research in Engineering Design (journal)
  • American Society of Mechanical Engineers, Turbo Expo (conference)


  • Meggitt PLC
  • Rolls-Royce


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers