Milton Keynes South Conservative Member for Parliament, Iain Stewart, visited the Cranfield campus on Friday 23rd January.
The Minister was welcomed by Professor Sir Peter Gregson, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor, and Pro-Vice-Chancellors Clifford Friend and Lynette Ryals.
Sir Peter, said: “This was a welcome opportunity for us to highlight just three of Cranfield’s thematic areas of research and educational excellence. We are one of Milton Keynes’ local universities with a world-wide reputation and, it is important therefore for us to reinforce just how serious we are about leveraging our global talent for positive local impact”.
The campus tour included Cranfield’s aerospace facilities and its transformational Air Vehicle Design MSc, which is uniquely linked to industry by the company sponsored student projects. Mr Stewart was also shown around the test flight proven DEMON aircraft which demonstrates flapless control technology developed at Cranfield in collaboration with BAE Systems and other partners.
It was also a great opportunity for Mr Stewart, who is Parliamentary Private Secretary to Rt Hon Patrick McLoughlin MP, Secretary of State for Transport, to see first-hand how Cranfield is becoming recognised as a centre of excellence for transport systems and intelligent mobility research and sector skills development. He viewed architects representations of the Advanced Integrated Centre for Transport Systems Engineering, supported by HEFCE and SEMLEP funding, which will be built in readiness for the start of the 2016/17 academic year.
He also saw the ambitious plans for a unique new regional and national open innovation facility for autonomous vehicle development. The MUEAVI (Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation) project would realise a functioning roadway and pedestrian thoroughfare at the Cranfield campus, incorporating state of the art technologies in a ’theatre of innovative engagement’ with human participant involvement in a controlled research environment.
In the Agrifood thematic area Professor Leon Terry introduced Mr Stewart to Cranfield’s world leading research on extending storage of fresh produce. The technological innovations are revolutionizing the resilience of the produce in its journey from harvest to home.
The Milton Keynes South MP concluded his tour with a visit to the Safety and Accident Investigation Centre; a globally recognised teaching and training facility that generates synergies between the theory and practice of effective safety and accident investigation. Whilst the aim of the Centre is to rid the world of transport related disasters, the court yard of the Centre is littered with wreckage from aviation, rail and marine accidents used as teaching aids in this unique facility.
On conclusion of the tour Mr Stewart said: “This has been a very interesting visit, it’s wonderful to know that this local University has such diverse projects going on in collaboration with national and international businesses.”
About Cranfield University
Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.
Transport Systems at Cranfield
Cranfield has over 50 years’ experience in transport, including the aviation, automotive, motorsport, military and marine sectors.
We are the only university in Europe to own and run an airport and to have airline status.
Our education and award-winning research covers all modes of vehicles and transport across technology, engineering and management, including sustainable transport and intelligent mobility.
In an increasingly interconnected world, we specialise in understanding the whole environment in which transport operates: the vehicles, infrastructure, businesses and logistics, as well as the human aspects of operating, managing and using transport.
Our world-class facilities include high-performance wind tunnels, an off-road vehicle dynamics facility, a crash impact test centre (one of just three FIA (Federation Internationale de l’Automobile) approved test centres in the world) and our Accident Investigation Laboratory, which is dedicated to our work in aviation, marine and rail safety and the only accident investigation laboratory of its type outside the United States. We were awarded the Queen’s Anniversary Prize for our world-leading work in aviation safety through research and training in air accident investigation in 2011.
Completed in 2017, our latest facility, the Multi-User Environment for Autonomous Vehicle Innovation, is a £19 million ‘smart’ roadway test environment for the development of intelligent and autonomous vehicles, making it a UK first. It includes the associated systems needed to integrate emerging technologies into our day-to-day lives.
A new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre will also be built at Cranfield to spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology, and a new state-of-the-art digital control tower, which replicates what can be seen through the windows of a traditional air traffic control tower via a live feed using HD cameras and sensors, is being installed at Cranfield Airport.