Cranfield University has launched ‘Cranfield Community’ – a pan-University campaign that highlights the support staff and students are giving to each other and the wider community.

Highlights of the campaign can be found on social media by searching for #CranfieldCommunity.

After clouds, light

Vice-Chancellor of Cranfield University, Professor Sir Peter Gregson, said: “Over the last few weeks, we have seen and felt the incredible strength of our Cranfield community, supporting and caring for one another. I have been so impressed at how quickly staff have responded to the challenges we are faced with and I am proud of the work our academic colleagues are doing to support the fight against COVID-19. We continue to support our students in their studies whether they are on campus or learning at a distance. And I draw inspiration from Cranfield’s origins as an air force base, with the motto on our coat of arms – After clouds, light.”

Cranfield University has signed up to the Government’s C-19 Business Pledge, an initiative launched by the Rt Hon Justine Greening to mobilise the business response to COVID-19 and demonstrate how organisations are supporting employees, customers and communities.

Giving health professionals new tools to fight COVID-19

A hub of international research excellence in design, technology, engineering and science, Cranfield University’s academic experts have been working to rapidly create tools that address the challenges of COVID-19.

  • Professor Leon Williams from Cranfield’s Centre for Competitive Creative Design is leading a team that has designed a new simple, low-cost Bag Valve Mask ventilator. The design has been built by Georgia Tech in the US and is now being tested by the health authorities.

  • Dr Zhugen Yang from Cranfield’s Water Science Institute is designing a new paper-based test that can detect early signs of COVID-19 in wastewater.

  • Cranfield Impact Centre has worked with manufacturers to crash test their latest stretchers, which have had additional platforms attached to support ventilators. The tests ensure that the stretchers pass British Standards and they will now be used by ambulances serving a number of large hospitals, including the NHS Nightingale at the ExCeL centre.

Giving back to the wider community

  • Staff at Cranfield Defence and Security, based at the Defence Academy of the UK in Shrivenham, have donated personal protective equipment, including 50 boxes of gloves, to local NHS surgeries. Three oxygen cylinders have also been returned to be passed onto the NHS.

  • Cranfield School of Management has launched a free, online resource for businesses to help them navigate current challenges. The Knowledge Hub Platform hosts videos, podcasts, live events and articles on all aspects of leadership and management with fresh content each week.

  • A specialist business programme to help SMEs triage and stabilise their businesses is on offer from the University’s Business Growth Programme. Launching online, with free elements, it gives structure and support to organisations to help them navigate this uncertain time.

  • Engineering PhD student Lydia Frumosu is volunteering in a hospital’s emergency department, having formerly worked in an NHS nuclear medicine unit and volunteered for St Johns Ambulance.

  • British Army reservists within the University will be reinforcing the national response to COVID-19. Vice-Chancellor Professor Sir Peter Gregson has already been in contact with the MoD to offer his full support and is writing to all staff who are reservists.

  • After a request from Airbus for air flow meters to assist with the VentilatorChallenge, Goncalo Rodrigues Pardal, Senior Research Fellow in Additive Manufacture, partially dismantled one of the experimental rigs in Cranfield's Welding Engineering and Laser Processing Centre to make the parts available. Professor Phil Webb, Royal Academy of Engineering and Airbus Chair in Aero-structure Design, then delivered the meters to Airbus’ Broughton site in Wales.

  • Professor Clare Kelliher and Dr Deirdre Anderson from the School of Management have launched a research project to investigate the issues around enforced homeworking. The findings will lead to increased understanding of the support needed for homeworking, and what this may mean for the ways we work in the future.

Supporting each other

  • Cranfield University rapidly switched to online teaching, seminars and tutorials, continuing the delivery of its courses to thousands of students.

  • The University is supporting students who remain on campus by keeping open vital services and facilities and staying in regular contact with them.

  • A new staff Facebook group has been launched to help keep people informally connected when they are working remotely.

Experts help add information and context

Academic experts from a range of disciplines have offered their comments and opinions to regional, national and international media coverage of COVID-19.

  • Professor Richard Wilding OBE has spoken about the challenges faced in the global supply chain. His expertise has been used by the world’s media as far afield as China and Canada.

  • Dr Duncan Hodges has given his insights into the cyber threats when working from home.

  • The switch to home working and how this may influence the future of work was the subject of an article by Professor Emma Parry.

  • Professor Phil Hart detailed the robust nature of our energy network.

  • Dr Anicée Van Engeland has written about building international resilience and protecting refugees for the United Nations University and commented on Iran’s response to the crisis.

  • Roger Crook, Lecturer in Defence Acquisition and Logistics, commented on what the role of the UK military may be in tackling COVID-19.

  • Professor Neil Harris has commented on the implications of COVID-19 for carbon emissions and climate change.

A new hub on the Cranfield University website will collate all the video messages from the Vice-Chancellor, relevant information and related news stories. Search for #CranfieldCommunity on social media or follow our Cranfield University accounts on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn to find out more.