Cranfield University is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Helen Atkinson CBE, FREng as Pro-Vice-Chancellor and Head of School of Aerospace, Transport Systems and Manufacturing. She will join Cranfield on 1 September.

Professor Atkinson currently works at the University of Leicester where she has been Head of the Engineering Department and, most recently, Graduate Dean.

‭‬‬‬‬‬‬‬Professor Atkinson was made CBE in the Queens New Year’s Honours 2014 for services to engineering and education. She was elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2007.‬‬‬‬‬‬

Sir Peter Gregson, Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of Cranfield University, said:
“I am delighted that Helen Atkinson will be joining Cranfield. Her engineering expertise and distinguished academic career provides an excellent background from which to lead the further development of our distinctive activities. She is a strong advocate of Cranfield’s ethos of developing leaders to address grand challenges. I look forward to working with her over the years ahead.”

Professor Helen Atkinson said:  
“I am delighted to be joining Cranfield. The University has an outstanding reputation and I am very much looking forward to working with colleagues to develop that further in our teaching, research and relationships with industry.”

She replaces Professor Philip John who is retiring this year after 18 years of distinguished service to the University.

Professor Helen Atkinson

Notes for editors

About Professor Helen Atkinson

Professor Helen Atkinson was the first woman President of the Engineering Professors’ Council (the body which represents engineering in universities throughout the UK) in its 50-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 Métiers 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 is chair of the Education and Skills Committee at the Royal Academy of Engineering. 

She currently serves on the Strategic Facilities Advisory Board for the £200 million 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.      

She received her BA and MA from Cambridge University and her PhD from Imperial College.

About Cranfield University

Cranfield University is a specialist postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.