Contact Dr Ip-Shing Fan

Areas of expertise

  • Aerospace Manufacturing
  • Autonomous Systems
  • Aviation Management & Operations
  • Computing, Simulation & Modelling
  • Defence manufacturing
  • Industrial Automation
  • Industrial Ergonomics and Human Factors
  • Manufacturing Systems
  • Product and Service Design
  • Through-life Engineering Services
  • Vehicle Health Management


Fan is currently on the Education and Scholarship pathway.

He was born and studied in Hong Kong, graduated with First Class Honours in Industrial Engineering. He completed his graduate engineer training at Qualidux Industrial Co Ltd in Hong Kong. He was awarded the Commonwealth Scholarship and completed his PhD in Computer Integrated Manufacturing in Cranfield. After returning to Hong Kong, he worked as CADCAM Manager in Qualidux Industrial Co Ltd, responsible for the introduction of CAD, CAM, and CNC in plastic injection design and engineering.

In 1990, Fan started to work in The CIM Institute, endowed by IBM in Cranfield, to carry out research, education, and consultancy in new applications of computers in manufacturing. He led many European and UK funded research programmes to create new tools and methods in knowledge-based engineering design, business performance, quality management, supply chain, and complexity science.

He has a passion to understand the underlying reasons and develop better approaches to help organisations work more effectively. He looks at the world with a socio-technical lens to explore the complex interactions between people systems and technology systems. The knowledge span includes system engineering, business process analysis, quality and performance management system, organisation design and behaviour, technology induced change, human psychology and motivation. The application domains include aerospace, engineering, manufacturing, business services, IT, education, health, local government. 

The complex dynamics of people factor in technology implementation prompted him to create a European research consortium fort the Framework 5 research project BEST - Better Enterprise System Implementation. The 12 partners, €4 million project created a body of knowledge that Fan worked to translate into the Cranfield MSc in Management and Information Systems teaching curriculum. 

Research opportunities

The teaching and consulting expertise in information systems development and implementation is being incorporated in the Cranfield Digital Aviation Research Centre.

Suitable Master's projects in digital systems for aircraft maintenance and operations are available.

• Aviation IT systems development and implementaton (CAMO, MRO, ERP)

• MRO Engineers and Managers decision support on simulated scenarios

• Human Factors effect on MRO Engineers and Managers performance

• Wearables/AR for instructions delivery, remote support and sign-off

• Materials and tools tracking and optimisation – RFID, controlled dispensing

• Agile management of MRO maintenance aircraft, jobs, people, inventory, tools

• Materials and tools tracking and optimisation – RFID, controlled dispensing

• AI supported document reconciliation

• Hangar and ramp collision avoidance

• Remote inspection of aircraft upper surface 

• NDT inspection and real-time assessment

• 3D printing of aircraft spares

• Digital twin for aircraft predictive health management

Current activities

Dr Ip-Shing Fan is leading the Digital MRO and Hangar laboratories in the Cranfield DARTeC Initiative.

The complex is a realistic representation of airport ramp and hangar environment to study the interactions between aircraft, engineers, airport and hangar facilities, ground vehicles and drones.

The digital infrastructure support aircraft digital twins work to maintain the accurate configuration in the information world of airworthiness, as the engineering health status of the aircraft structure and systems to predict and prevent failures.

A number of consortia are being established to work in Paperless Aviation, Aircraft Inspection, Robotic Maintenance and Predictive Health Management.

Fan leads the MSc modules in Business Process Analysis and Engineering, and Business Change Management. He also contributes to the MSc module in Enterprise Systems and Industrial Cybersecurity challenges and Strategies.

Fan is the Chairman of the Bedford Branch of BCS.


He works with a wide range of engineering, IT and non-business organisations, including:

  • The Boeing Company
  • BAE Systems
  • Airbus
  • MOD
  • Nissan
  • Rolls-Royce
  • SAP
Fan is experienced in forming industrial companies into consortia and win public funding.


Articles In Journals

Conference Papers