Contact Matthew Summers

Areas of expertise

  • Defence Systems Engineering
  • Operational Analysis and Simulation
  • Safety, Resilience, Risk & Reliability
  • Systems Engineering
  • Throughlife Engineering Services


Matt is an experienced applied systems engineer, focused on understanding the complex and often counter-intuitive behaviour of enterprises and large socio-economic-technical systems to ensure their successful planning, management, delivery and operation.

Prior to joining Cranfield University, Matt spent 11 years working for the UK Ministry of Defence in the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory. During this time he led complex interdisciplinary projects including the UK's Marine Mammal Protection Programme and provided applied systems analysis support to some of the largest and most complex defence acquisition programmes. He established the MOD Resilience Research Programme which included themes such as climate change impacts, energy security, critical materials, future operations and future legal implications for platform systems. He also spent time at MOD HQ in Whitehall, developing UK MOD policy for sustainable procurement and through-life resilience. Matt's last role within MOD was as Principal Scientist for the Complex Capability Analysis Group at Porton Down.

Matt joined Cranfield University in 2013 as a Lecturer within the Centre for Systems Engineering. He moved to the Centre for Defence Acquisition in 2016 and took over as Course Director for the Defence Acquisition Management MSc, a role he held until 2018. Returning to the Centre for Systems Engineering in late 2018, he established the Technology Management Group in 2019 as Group Leader, supporting the creation of the Centre for Systems & Technology Management. He seconded to MK:U for six months in March 2021 as Course Lead for the Digital & Technology Solutions Degree Apprenticeship Programme, designing and implementing the course ahead of MK:U's launch in September 2021.

Matt returned to the Centre for Systems & Technology Management in September 2021. Promoted to Senior Lecturer in Applied Systems Engineering in October 2021, Matt is currently focused on developing Cranfield's Transport Systems Engineering capability and is currently developing a number of strategic partnerships between Cranfield and international Higher Education providers.

Current activities

Matt specialises in understanding and solving the most complex of enterprise systems and technology management problems where approaches rooted purely in the traditional disciplines are not enough for the realities of the 21st Century. His personal scholarly interests lie within the design, operation and evolution of complex socio-economic-technical enterprise systems, with a specific focus on major infrastructure systems such as public transport and energy generation and distribution systems.

His current academic focus is developing new methods to model the evolution of light rail systems and their  relationship with the many different UK urban environments, and the benefits and challenges this brings within a strategic national infrastructure and prosperity context.

Matt also provides consultancy to UK and European Governments, and several major international industrial companies within the fields of applied systems engineering, complex technology acquisition, procurement or management, and interdisciplinary problem solving.

Matt teaches across a number of Cranfield's MSc degrees including Systems Engineering MSc, the Defence and Security MSc Programme, and on the MOD-sponsored Systems Engineering for Defence Capability and Defence Acquisition Management MScs. He also provides education support to MK:U's BSc Degree Apprenticeship programmes and has supervised over 20 MSc thesis students to successful completion of their studies. Matt also provides bespoke course development and teaching for industrial and business clients, and has developed and delivered systems engineering courses for major companies such as QinetiQ and Ocado.


  • Airbus
  • BAE Systems
  • European Defence Agency
  • MK:U
  • National Defence University, Helsinki
  • Ocado Technology
  • Polaris Consulting
  • QinetiQ
  • RAND Europe
  • UK Met Office
  • UK MOD


Conference Papers


  • Summers MP (2018) Resilience in defence supply chains. In: Defence Logistics: enabling and sustaining successful military operations, London: Kogan Page, p. 91-113.
  • Crook R & Summers MP (2018) Defence logistics information systems. In: Defence Logistics: enabling and sustaining successful military operations, London: Kogan Page, p. 345-356.