Cranfield University

Cranfield University – RAEng/Airbus Research Professor in Aero Structures Design (Wing Equipping and Fitting). (Spring 2009)

This search project delivered 5 of the 6 shortlisted candidates for the appointment and the University was extremely pleased with the contribution made by the search. The basis for the appointment was to establish a Chair and a research group that would maintain and develop the UK’s leading role in wing design and production with a specific focus on the needs of Airbus from both a manufacturing and a technology development perspective.

The project required an in depth search of the aerospace sector for suitable candidates who could offer the match of appropriate research experience with manufacturing experience as well, and an understanding of the needs of the aerospace sector.

This project led us to make contact with a number of candidates with significant experience in developing composite materials in a manufacturing and commercial context – from BAE Systems, to Bombardier and within Airbus itself – there was no “off limits” and Cranfield’s Airbus partners were actively involved in providing potential names and reviewing the likely suitability of people we had identified.

103 potential candidates were contacted in the UK, EADS partner countries, and the USA and Japan where we were specifically recommended to search. Short listed candidates included one from the USA with a strong track record of industrial collaboration in composites focused on both the aerospace (Boeing Dreamliner) and automotive (Lamborghini) sectors, and one from the manufacturing / research sector in the UK. Other applicants came from within Airbus – but on this occasion they were not seen as having published enough to be suitable for this specific role. The successful candidate was from the search.