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UOA 25 - General Engineering and Mineral & Mining Engineering

Cranfield University

RA5a: Research environment and esteem



  1. Strategy




The School is a multidisciplinary general engineering school, situated at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom at Shrivenham. It has undergone major changes since 2001, especially in its relationship with the Ministry of Defence (MOD). The contract for academic provision at the Defence Academy was put up for competition in 2003 and awarded on a 22 year basis to the University in collaboration with the Open University in 2005. This contract started in August 2006.  As part of the process undergraduate education ceased, the last students graduating in 2006. These changes necessitated rebalancing of the academic staff towards a greater emphasis on postgraduate education, especially in management. In this context the presence of an active research programme funded from a variety of sources was regarded as an essential part of the future development of the School.


Evaluation of developments since 2001


The University’s mission is “to create and transform world-class science, technology and management expertise into viable, practical environmentally desirable solutions that enhance economic development and the quality of life”. Since 2001 this commitment has been vindicated by a changing research agenda in the UK, influenced principally by the Treasury’s Lambert Review (2003) which has informed much government policy. The University has also undertaken major staff development, reorganization and recruitment to continue to demonstrate our research commitment, as well as a measurement of outputs to ensure that they meet the international quality benchmarks set by both academic peers and international clients.


Over the period, while the main emphasis of the School has remained focused on defence-related research, there has been some diversification into other fields. These have included areas which have a relationship to defence and security, such as forensics, resilience (homeland security) and security sector reform (defence diplomacy), as well as other fields, such as health, where expertise and equipment originating in defence applications can be transferred successfully.


Funding of the research programme was envisaged as coming from MOD, UK Research Councils, UK industry, Government Departments, as well as support from similar agencies internationally.  The breakdown of the whole of the School research income (including student stipends) (thousands) by year is in the following table, showing the increasing role of UK industry as a research sponsor.









Research Councils







UK Industry / Commerce







UK Government







UK Charities







EU Governments







EU other (Commercial)







Other overseas
















Objectives over next five years


Main areas of our defence research are related to the MOD’s Defence Industrial Strategy. These include increased emphasis on networks and systems in war and the countering of terrorist and insurgent activities, as well as the reduction of manpower burdens, especially by exploitation of unmanned systems. There will be extensive use of advanced modelling and simulation, a feature which will be helped by the introduction of substantial new facilities in synthetic environments.


Security represents an increasingly important part of the School’s research activities. Links with Dstl’s Counter Terrorist Science and Technology Centre (CTSTC) are established, and we are pursuing similar initiatives with the Home Office Scientific Development Branch (HOSDB), as well as with the Security Service, the US Department of Homeland Security and the Metropolitan Police.


MOD and the wider defence sector are facing an acute shortage of qualified personnel in the nuclear area. There has also been a coming together of the nuclear propulsion and nuclear weapon areas. This gives the University, with its strong links to AWE as well as to the naval nuclear propulsion community, the chance to provide a comprehensive capability for research in the area of defence nuclear science and technology.


Research outside defence will continue to be supported, especially when it can be externally funded and produce papers in leading international journals. This benefits the defence research and vice versa.


Partnerships with Industry


Currently we have a number of initiatives/strategic partnerships: MBDA, BAE Systems, AWE, Chemring, Dstl, and QinetiQ. These large programmes are seen to give a degree of stability to the research of the School, thus allowing the effective pursuit of other research grants.


International Collaboration


The School’s international activities are important, especially because international business may provide insulation against uncertainties in the UK market. The fastest-growing international markets are China and India, but these may be difficult to address for a School associated with defence. 


In terms of security our priorities lie with coalition partners – the USA, NATO and EU members and Australia. We have strong research links with the government and universities of South Australia, and we will strive to develop these. We also have well-established links with the USA, with scope to develop these further in the next five years.



  1. Structure


1. Operational Structure


The research themes of the School can be defined as:


A.  Aerospace and autonomous systems

B   Materials and applied chemistry

C   Engineering systems and simulation

D   Security and defence management


These are delivered by the multi-disciplinary departments listed below that act as cost centres and organize the teaching programme.


Aerospace and autonomous systems – Department of Aerospace, Power and Sensors (DAPS), Department of Information Systems (DIS)

Materials and applied chemistry – Department of Materials and Applied Science (DMAS)

Engineering systems and simulation – Engineering Systems Department (ESD)

Security and defence management – Department of Defence Management and Security Analysis (DDMSA)



A  Aerospace and autonomous systems


This multi-disciplinary research area covers sensors, communications and signal processing, guidance and control, and aeromechanics. Research vitality is indicated by recent appointments of professors in radar systems and aeromechanical systems, two readerships in guidance and control engineering and two senior lectureships in electro-optical systems.


One of the aims of research in this area is the development of uninhabited vehicles, particularly uninhabited aerial vehicles (UAVs). A major activity is concerned with insect-inspired, flapping-wing micro-UAVs, because of their potential efficiency and agility, useful for flight in confined spaces. DAPS is a world leader in this field. Collaborative research has been conducted with zoologists from Cambridge and Oxford Universities, with optical metrologists from Heriot- Watt University and is continuing with mechanical and electrical designers from Bristol University, supported by EPSRC and MOD. This work is investigating aerodynamics, aeroelasticity, mechanism design and flight control; and has led to the award of several prizes.


Other work on unmanned vehicles is concerned with the control and guidance of both single UAVs and swarms of such vehicles. Research has recently been started addressing the problem of flying small UAVs in highly turbulent conditions. Another principal research area is into the applications of radar and other sensors, both for aircraft guidance and in the location and identification of concealed objects.


The interaction of research-intensive staff with current users or designers of practical equipment provides a valuable stimulus for research focussed on real-world problems. Rapid dissemination of this research is achieved through academic papers as well as reports to sponsors and CPD courses aimed at practitioners.


B Materials and applied chemistry


Research in explosives and energetic materials has been extended by the strategic partnership with AWE. Much formulation and test work on new explosive compositions is now being done in the School, taking advantage of the fact that the School laboratories are licensed explosive manufacturing sites. This will make the School the academic partner of choice and the R&D location for AWE.


The gas guns built and installed in the School provide the capability to fire projectiles of up to 100 g and to velocities of up to 1500 m/s. In addition they used to study impact phenomena in a wide range of materials, including fibre-reinforced composites and energetic materials, the latter arising from the School’s experience in handling such materials and researching their behaviour. This work on energetic materials and material behaviour at high rates of strain forms an important background to the research projects of the MSc course in Explosive Ordnance Engineering.


Over the last five years there has been an extension of activity in the area of forensics from engineering and science to include both archaeology and anthropology. These subjects have been particularly necessary for topics in international and military law (genocide) and criminal law (forgery and provenancing). The School has appointed new staff in these areas, including the appointment of a professor in the area of the application of forensic archaeology to the investigation of war crimes and genocide. This forensics research is backed by the projects of two MSc courses, one in engineering and science and the other in archaeology and anthropology.


Research in biological applications has been concentrated in the study of bone and the use of diffraction and spectroscopic methods in the detection of early stage tumours. Bone research has led to the patenting of a method of determining the age of death from small samples, this linking to the genocide investigation topics. Diffraction studies, carried out by small angle scattering with the synchroton source at Daresbury, have shown features of tumours that give early indications of malignancy and complement information gained from classical X-ray absorption methods. This has been linked with spectroscopic research (IR and Raman) carried out in collaboration with clinical and research colleagues at the Gloucester Royal Hospital.


An EPSRC-funded programme of research in renewable energy has concentrated on the use of CdS-CdTe solar cells. There is a complementary research programme (EPSRC and industry funded) into fuel cells.


C Engineering systems and simulation


Research has been based on the study of the key technologies underlying the successful components of military systems. For example, research into the mechanics of stabbing has produced a standard for police stab-proof vests which has provided protection against low velocity bullets as well as knives. Other research has been in the fields of military vehicles, guns and the protection of structures against blast.


It has been recognised that successful military performance has been associated with systems, many of which are complex, as much as with individual components. Thus there has been an extension of research into the area of systems engineering. Because of the difficulty of performing experimental work in the area there has been an increasing use of modelling and simulation.  This has become of greater significance as new facilities in synthetic environments have been commissioned.


An important consideration for land-based military operations is the performance of the individual soldier. This is why the Centre for Human Systems has been set up to study the human factors that are important at the level of the individual or small group. This goes beyond the traditional man-machine interface studies to consider Man as part, even a limiting part, of a complex system. 


This research work has been linked with an extensive dissemination programme, principally in the fields of military vehicles and land warfare. This has been both through the project work in MSc courses (Gun Systems Design, Systems Engineering in Defence, Scientific Computing) and through CPD courses, presented both at the School and in many overseas locations.  


D Security and defence management


Any programme of engineering research in the defence field is likely, quoting Mary Kaldor, to produce unusable “baroque weapons”, unless it is accompanied by an understanding of current geopolitics and of the essentials of defence management.


Research is in defence management, leadership, resilience and security studies. One of the methods of disseminating the research is through courses aimed at senior government personnel, civilian and military, from countries that have newly converted or are in the process of converting to a democratic society and market-based economy.


Taking a wider view of security, research has included externally-funded projects on the co-ordination of communication systems between fire, police and ambulance services, as well as the security of food supplies in the face of a complex emergency. Security studies, in addition to the ongoing work in military history and doctrine, have extended into areas of defence policy and governance, especially in countries transitioning from authoritarian government.


In the areas of project and programme management as well as leadership, there has recently been increased collaboration with the University’s School of Management and this is expected to deepen in the future.


2. Promotion of research and a research culture


The School has a Policy and Resources Committee (SPARC), chaired by the Head of School, where the strategy for the School is discussed. Department Heads sit on this committee with the two Deputy Heads of School. The Head of School monitors departmental progress and a key target for department heads is the development of research within their departments, particularly that funded externally. Since the main thrust in defence research is toward targets defined in terms of capability, rather than academic disciplines, many invitations to tender for defence research are inter-disciplinary in nature and the meeting of Department Heads at SPARC offers the opportunity for ad hoc research teams to be formed to take part in these competitions. These teams will involve staff from different departments and at all levels of experience.


There is a Defence Academy fund of about £500k annually, which aims to act as a pump-priming mechanism for defence related research. This is designed to encourage original work by School staff, especially as either precursor to a major bid to external funding, or to deal with a matter that is operationally urgent and affecting troops in the field. About 25% of bids to the fund are successful, providing good experience for staff in submitting research proposals in a competitive environment.  


In all departments there is a Research Director whose principal function is to act as academic leader for the research students within the department but also acts as a guide for staff members alerting them of new funding opportunities.



3. Enhancements to research infrastructure


There has been continued investment into the research infrastructure. These include:


Aerospace and autonomous systems

                    Swarm laboratory to examine the behaviour of autonomous vehicles (air and land)

                    Water tunnel to examine flows at low Reynolds number for flapping wing air vehicles modelled on insect flight


Materials and applied chemistry

                    Gas guns for dynamic property measurements (sponsored by MOD)

                    Laboratory for formulation of explosive compositions (sponsored by AWE)

                    Experimental explosive facilities at Cranfield Ordnance Test and Evaluation   Centre (sponsored by AWE)


                    Biomechanics laboratory to study the mechanical properties of bone and other          biological materials

                    Micro X-ray diffractometer and accessories (sponsored by EPSRC)

                    Laboratory for forensic archaeology and anthropology

                    Development of a sensors and composites laboratory using SRIF resources

                    Access to the Cranfield-Cambridge high performance supercomputing facility


Engineering systems and simulation

                    New impact testing machine and camera equipment to study dynamic             impacts, as well as the permanent loan of other range instrumentation     from MOD

                    Refurbishment of vehicle rigs and terramechanics facility

                    New facilities for modelling and research in synthetic environments


These developments have been adversely affected by the process of bidding competitively for the School’s academic activities at Shrivenham in that recent investment in permanent buildings has been restricted.


4. Training and facilities for research students


Research students play a vital part in the activities of all research areas. The School has approximately 115 research students registered of whom just over half are part-time. Funding for full-time students has been from the Research Councils, extra-mural research contracts, as well as internally from Departments. Part-time students are either in employment with their employers paying salaries and tuition fees or are self-funded. These last are more common in the area of security and defence management. All full-time students can expect to be supplied with essential IT and office facilities by their departments. Research proposals are vetted to ensure that the School both has the facilities and supervision that is necessary for its successful completion.


There has been an increased emphasis on timely completion of research degrees. Analysis within the School had showed that success rates were above the 70% standard of the Research Councils but times to completion sometimes needed to be shortened. As part of the development of research student education, modifications to the monitoring system, including an accelerated programme of reviews in the first year at 3-4 months and 9-12 months (transfer to PhD previously done at 12-15 months) was instituted. This has succeeded in accelerating student progress. In addition a generic series of research training workshops and a research student symposium were introduced to give both the essential research skills and transferable skills demanded by the modern research student. In addition departments all have seminars which research students attend and give papers, as well as taught courses that are valuable for their research students.


Each student has a Thesis Committee which acts as a source of additional help as well as being an important part of the monitoring process. Experienced supervisors have been aided by the School’s Staff Development scheme and will all have undergone CPD courses in research student supervision. Supervisors who are new to academic posts take a module in the supervision of research students as part of their compulsory Postgraduate Certificate in Learning and Teaching in Higher Education. They have a mentor, selected from the department’s most experienced supervisors. Any supervisor who has not successfully supervised doctoral students to completion will also be mentored.


As there has been recognition that there is now a programme for research degrees, the School is introducing a Graduate School. Its tasks will include the strengthening of supervisor CPD, as well as the encouragement of peer learning amongst students.


5. Interdisciplinary/collaborative research


Aerospace and autonomous systems

                    Flapping-wing micro air vehicle research with Oxford, Cambridge, Heriot-Watt and Bristol Universities. This programme of three EPSRC grants so far deals with the complex topic of developing a flapping aerial vehicle of approximately 150mm size that mimics the flight of insects. These have covered developing an aerodynamics model, measuring and modelling wing aeroelastic deflections, and the development of a flapping mechanism that provides the required articulation at a very low weight whilst allowing active control. The total income so far exceeds £1M over the last 5 years. Joint papers have resulted, as well as a number of prizes.

                    Swarm autonomous vehicle research. This Cranfield-led research programme in conjunction with Bristol University and QinetiQ is developing novel autonomous multiple UAV theory to detect and track contaminant clouds within urban environments. This has involved the use of differential geometry, as well as the development of novel modelling methods for cloud estimators.


Materials and applied chemistry


                    Work on the survivability of DNA on the outer surfaces of cartridge cases after firing has linked the ballistics studies of the School with the design of Brunel University and biochemistry of Surrey University in an EPSRC sponsored programme on gun crime reduction.

                    Biomaterials research. This uses advanced diffraction and imagery, including X-ray microtomography to examine the properties of bone, teeth and other biological structural materials. Collaboration with St Bartholomew’s and London School of Medicine and Dentistry, Queen Mary, and Southampton Universities and supported by EPSRC.

                    Use of bone scanning to estimate occupant safety in vehicle crashes. Supported by Department of Transport, collaboration with Cranfield Impact Centre and Loughborough University and leading to commercialisation of finger scanning device.  

                    Renewable energy studies, sponsored by EPSRC have been made in the fields of solar cells based on II-VI compounds, collaborating with Bath and Northumbria Universities. These have aimed at producing cheaper solar cells than those obtained by the use of silicon-based cells. Complementary studies in polymer-based fuel cells, sponsored by EPSRC and ITM Power has concentrated on high-value portable power supplies, for applications such as mobile phones.  


Engineering systems and simulation

                    Collaboration in systems engineering with Loughborough and Leeds Universities in the EPSRC sponsored programme Network Enabled Capability Through Innovative Systems Engineering.

                    IMCRC Integrated Project: Tailored Injury Prevention and Performance Improvement for Sports Garments. In collaboration with Loughborough, Nottingham and Cambridge Universities, Slazenger, Adidas and some smaller organisations.

                    Collaboration with Manchester University and School of Applied Sciences, Cranfield University on future aluminium armours, funded by EPSRC, Dstl, BAE Systems and Alcoa.

                    Organisation of the twice-yearly European Workshops on Automatic Differentiation collaborating with Hertfordshire University.


Security and defence management

                    Joint work with Cardiff University and the RAeS on humanitarian logistics



6. International collaboration


Aerospace and autonomous systems


                    Research with Toronto, Concordia, McGill Universities and Defence Research and Development Canada on co-operative UAVs and guidance. This is the subject of an MoU with a joint research programme. This has led to journal publications, special issues of journals and staff exchanges. Aouf has joined the School from Concordia.

                    Research with IST Portugal on UAV path planning and autonomy. This involves the exchange of postgraduates and short reciprocal staff visits.

                    Research with KAST Korea on UAV autonomy and decision making. This involves the exchange of postgraduate students and joint research on a Korean programme for autonomous UAV development.

                    Research with Tohoku University, Japan on integrated experimental and computational approaches to aerodynamics. This has led to 2-month long reciprocal visits by PhD students to conduct focussed projects as part of their overall research.

                    Research with Universidade da Beira Interior, Portugal on aspects of aeronautical engineering, particularly jet aerodynamics. This has led to PhD students joining the School.


Materials and applied chemistry


                    Biomaterials  Collaboration with the Victoria Institute for Forensic Medicine (VIFM), University of Melbourne, and Addenbrooke’s Hospital, Cambridge on the correlation of human femoral bone quality, quantity & structure. This is linked with the use of bone quality as a determination of age at death in forensics, which has led to patents. This has involved postgraduate and postdoctoral researchers from France (Universities Paris XI, Paris-Sud) and Finland.

                    Collaboration in renewable energy included participation in the EU-funded network on amorphous silicon technology.


Engineering systems and simulation

                    Research collaboration in systems engineering with the University of South Australia is an important component of the partnership between Cranfield University and the Government and universities in South Australia in building defence research capability in that state.


                    Research on the electronic architecture, simulation and materials of the Future Rapid Effects System military vehicle is being sponsored by Lockheed-Martin.


Security and defence management


                    Resilience research funded by the EU on communications interoperability and headquarters deployment and involving companies (EADS and BAE).


                    Leadership research with the NZ Leadership Development Centre.


                    An international research journal on defence acquisition to be launched in 2008 with the US Naval Postgraduate School.



7. Research users


The School is sited on the campus of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom and, through its programmes, has direct and close contact with the military personnel who are the real end users of research. Some important links are listed.


                    Defence Technology Centres and Towers of Excellence. These centres are where the Ministry of Defence selectively funds research into either themes, such as Human Factors, Data Information Fusion, Electromagnetic Remote Sensing, or military systems such as Guided Weapons, Radar and Electronic Warfare. The School has research grants from most of the Defence Technology Centres and is an associate member of the Towers of Excellence which brings in research grants to the School.


                    Research Acquisition Organisation. This organisation relates the requirements of MOD, usually expressed in capability terms (“long range strike”), in terms of scientific concepts. Through the RAO (co-located at Shrivenham) the School has competed for research grants, either alone or as part of a consortium, often including Dstl. The possibility of carrying out secure work on the site with security-cleared staff can be an important advantage in some scientific areas.


                    Defence Industries. In addition to the normal seeking of research sponsorship by companies in the defence field, the University has preferred research partner status with AWE and MBDA Missile Systems. In the former case this has led to substantial investment in School facilities that are more appropriate to provide outside Aldermaston. The Memorandum of Understanding with MBDA allows the School to supply research directly or to participate in larger consortia bidding for MOD research.


                    Industry. A project where technology initially devised for defence applications has been applied is to the processing of food in high pressure vessels. This has been supported by DEFRA, food processing companies (Heinz) and defence manufacturers (Chemring).


                    NHS. This has been principally with the Gloucester Royal Hospital in the study of tumours by spectroscopic methods. These have linked with work by on the use of advanced diffraction methods to determine early-stage tumours. This collaboration is with the Daresbury Laboratory and several hospitals.



8. Commercialisation


                    There has been commercialisation of devices and compositions in the explosives fields. These include the collaboration between the School and African Explosives, the largest South African producer of commercial explosives. These produced potential replacements for gunpowder in safety fuse. Success has led to programmes to produce less environmentally damaging delay components in detonators and alternatives to primary explosives in laser detonation of secondary explosives. The Cranfield-designed "Dragon" anti-landmine torch effectively destroys land mines in situ. The project, funded by the Department for International Development (DfID), has successfully moved to the design and construction of low cost portable manufacturing facilities housed in ISO containers.  These factories can be staffed by local nationals trained to manufacture the "Dragon". Trials have been carried out in Cambodia, a country heavily affected by landmines.


                    Biomaterials research has led to patents for the forensic identification of ’age at death’ of individuals by laboratory-based examination of bone fragments. Additionally, collaboration between McCue plc and the School was set up to develop other small size, portable and inexpensive scanners for use in medical physics and clinical applications. The first of these instruments is envisaged to be a bone finger scanner for detecting osteoporosis ultrasonically. 


                    Research into the platinum-modification of stainless steels for arterial stents has led to products which are now in large-scale (1500 patients) clinical trials by the sponsors (Boston Scientific Inc)


                    Fuel cell research has produced patents concerning the use of polymer membranes, especially in the area of graft co-polymers.


                    Research in the School on diesel-engined motorcycles has resulted in joint development with Hayes Diversified Technologies of California and production of several hundred vehicles for the US Marine Corps.


                    Automatic Differentiation software developed in the School has been licensed by TOMLAB (Sweden).



9. Volume of Activity by Research Area


This is recorded in the table. It records the whole of the School activity divided into the research areas defined earlier in section 1.



Research Area





Doctorates/ research students 2001*





Doctorates/ research students 2002*





Doctorates/ research students 2003*





Doctorates/ research students 2004*





Doctorates/ research students 2005*





Doctorates/ research students 2006*





Doctorates/ research students 2007*





Refereed journal articles (2001-7) (1)





Books authored (2001-7)





Books edited (2001-7)





Chapters in books (2001-7)





Refereed conference papers (2001-7) (2)





Patents (2001-7)






* These include all doctoral graduations and student registrations in the School 

(1): Taken from the ISI Web of Knowledge for outputs dated 2001-7. Selection was made on 30.10.07. D taken from Scopus on 30.10.07.

(2): Estimate derived from a sample of current staff and the ratio between their journal papers and refereed conference papers 



3. Staffing


1. Staff development and support


Developing and supporting staff in research is done at many levels within the School. There are professional development courses that deal directly with research activity that research active and potentially research active staff can attend. The research groupings are mainly located in departments and are maintained by departments providing an environment which enables multi-disciplinary teams to be formed to submit bids into funding bodies. Staff are supported in their research by a commercial office that helps with costings and project planning. This office, in collaboration with academic staff within the departments, identifies research opportunities and advises on the appropriate content for any competition entry.


The Performance Development Review scheme for staff involves the setting of targets and monitoring of core competences. These include quantitative targets such as the papers submitted, grant applications made, and research students supervised. These apply at the individual level and, for department and centre heads, at the collective level for the staff for which they are responsible.


2. Staff new to research


The School supports staff new to research activity extensively. Each department has mentoring schemes that provide guidance for staff in terms of advice and practical help. One form of support encourages attendance at courses that give expert experience in supervising postgraduate students, making grant applications, making presentations to potential sponsors, writing research papers and presentations. Another is direct help in grant applications by advice or by teaming the new research staff with more experienced staff for joint applications. New staff are also included in research meetings to establish multi-disciplinary teams for contract bids, or for presentations of departmental research achievements to potential sponsors.


Departments have budgets that allow new staff to present at conferences in their early careers, to enable exposure to current research and to establish contacts. This is regarded as important in stimulating research innovation and raising profiles of new staff. Experienced mentoring helps with this process. When funds permit, there is also usually some pump priming of research for new staff to enable them to establish sufficient research material to present at conferences or make initial grant applications. It is expected that any set of related conference papers should be consolidated into journal papers. Mentoring encourages such activity.


3. Contributions of former staff members


Professor Bourne was recruited to set up a facility where the properties of materials, including energetic materials, could be studied at strain rates of 10 -105 s-1. This continues to attract funding.  A major programme, aimed at the development of mathematical models and laboratory scale tests to replace expensive weapon trials, has been completed and is now moving into its second phase. The University plays a leading role in this work and will continue to contribute to the programme over the next three years.  The research started by Professor Bourne has formed the basis of the selection of the School to be a major part of the AWE-sponsored Shock Physics Institute. There is international interest in this initiative and School staff have opened significant new collaborative efforts with US nuclear laboratories.


Staff restructuring, following award of the present MOD contract, has involved many experienced staff leaving. They are included in Category B because of their contribution to the School’s research in 2001-7.



4. Staff sustainability


The School’s Policy and Resources Committee (SPARC) where the strategy for the School is discussed, also manages the staffing of the School. This Committee through a staffing subcommittee reviews promotion and development of staff in Departments. It also acts as a forum for exchange of information that enables multi-disciplinary teams to be assembled across research groupings if necessary. Each research group has a small number of themes that serve to define the broad area of research undertaken within the group and these are discussed and reviewed by SPARC at least annually in terms of emerging research requirements.


The negotiation for an Academic Provider contract with MOD has resulted in a specific requirement for research with an annual call for proposals from within the School that is reviewed internally with MOD for innovation and relevance. This provides some long term structure for the research base as well as informing the School concerning emergent defence research themes.


Staff recruitment is subject to long term requirements, in that deliberate recruitment of early career staff new to research has enabled the research skill base to be nimble in responding to defence research needs. Nimbleness is encouraged by departments prioritising new academic staff as supervisors of both research students and project students on MSc courses. This, coupled with strategic recruitment of some professors directly from industry and defence research laboratories, has resulted in an innovative research base with experienced direction in terms of emerging research capability.




The great majority of the research-active members of the School take part in the customary activities of academic staff, such as the examining of PhD degrees, as well as the reviewing of papers for a range of international journals and grant applications for the Research Councils, their foreign equivalents and charities. More detailed examples of esteem are described for the various research themes within the School.


A Aerospace and Autonomous Systems


DAPS forms part of a consortium that have been competitively selected to lead the MOD Defence Technology Centre in Data Information Fusion It has been shortlisted as part of a consortium potentially participating in an MOD Grand Challenge in the development and use of uninhabited air and ground combat vehicles.,


Alabaster co-chaired an IEE conference on military radar in 2004 and gave a keynote address at the 2005 NATO workshop on millimetre wave advanced target recognition.


Aouf organised a session on missile systems for the IEEE International Control and Automation Conference (2003) and was an invited speaker for the international Congress on Innovation in Unmanned Air Systems (2007)


Chivers is a member of the Defence Science Advisory Council. He won the best paper award at REFINE (2005) and was a rapporteur at the 2004 and 2006 IFIP conferences on Communications and Multimedia Security.


Economou gave invited lectures at IEEE conferences on industrial electronics (2005) and vehicular power (2006) and is an executive steering committee of the IEEE Vehicle Power and Propulsion Network.


Griffiths is a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering and the IET, as well as being a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Engineers. He is Editor-in-Chief of the IET Proceedings on Radar, Sonar and Navigation and the corresponding book series. He has given the 10th E J Richards Lecture at Southampton University and the Watson-Watt Lecture to the IEE.  He has given keynote lectures to the International Radar Conference (2003) and International Conference on Waveform Diversity and Design (2006). He is a member of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council in addition to being a member of the Supervisory Board of the Defence Technology Centre in Electromagnetic Remote Sensing. He also serves on the Board of Governors of the Aerospace and Electronic Systems Society of the IEEE, in which Society he has been additionally a Distinguished Lecturer and Chair of its Radar Systems Panel. He has also (2000-2003) been Chairman of the IEE Scholarship Committee.


Hughes is chairman of the IET Radar, Sonar and Navigation Professional Network and a member of the IEEE Task Force on Evolutionary Computation and Games. In the latter capacity he has been a session chair at successive IEEE Congresses on Evolutionary Computation. He has also won three international competitions for Evolutionary Checkers and Time Series Prediction.


Knowles is a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society, an Associate Fellow of the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA). He has been the Reviews Editor of the Proceedings IMechE Part G, Journal of Aerospace Engineering (1996-2006), and is a member of its Editorial Board. He has guest-edited special issues of the journal (2006, 2007), with a third invitation for 2008. He is a member of the Aerodynamics National Advisory Committee, Weapons Aerodynamics Sub-committee. He is also an international member of the AIAA V/STOL Aircraft Systems Technical Committee and gave a keynote address on V/STOL technology at the 2002 International Powered Lift Conference. He has given invited lectures on his research on flapping wing micro-air vehicles at universities in the USA (2002, 2006, with invitations for 2008) and Japan (2007). This work (with Zbikowski, Ansari, and Wilkins) has won 6 prizes in recent years (2004-7).


Luk is Vice Chairman of the UK and Northern Ireland Power Electronics Chapter of the IEEE. He is also on the International Steering Committee for International Power Electronics and Motion Control, as well as an Editorial Board member for the IEEE Transactions on Power Electronics.


Morrison won the 2002 Best Paper award in the International Journal of Remote Sensing for his paper “Three-Dimensional X-band SAR Imaging of a Small Conifer Tree”. He is also an Expert Member on the NATO Advisory Panel on Noise and Radar Technology.


Morrow is a member of the Editorial Board of the International Journal of RF and Microwave Computer Aided Engineering and an executive member of the IET Antennas and Propagation Professional Network. In 2007 he was a member of Ofcom’s Technology Watch Board.


Richardson is on the Editorial Board for the Journal of Imaging Science and the Journal of Battlefield Technology. He was also the principal organiser of the 2004 International Electro-Optics and Infrared Seekers and Countermeasures Conference, an important classified conference in defence electronic warfare. He is also a member of the Defence Scientific Advisory Council. He has also acted as an external auditor for the Electro-Optics and Countermeasures Group of Dstl.


Saddington was a guest editor (with Knowles) for a special issue of the Proceedings IMechE Part G, Journal of Aerospace Engineering.


Tsourdos is Editor (with White) of special issues of journals, including the IFAC Journal of Control Engineering (2001), International Journal of Non-linear Studies (2004), Proceedings IMechE Part G, Journal of Aerospace Engineering (2005), International Journal of Systems Science (2006) and the IEEE Transactions on Control Systems Technology (2006). He is also on the Editorial Board of the International Journal of System Science, Proceedings IMechE Part G, Journal of Aerospace Engineering and IEEE Transactions on Instrumentation and Measurement.


White has received the Technical Achievement Award from IEEE. He has also been on the Editorial Boards of the International Journal of Systems Science and Parts G and I of the Proceedings of the IMechE. He has also been the editor (with Tsourdos) of special issues of journals. He has given keynote addresses on uninhabited aerial vehicles to the 2004 and 2006 conferences of the ICNPPA. He has been an external auditor for research proposals in Weapon Systems and Countermeasures for Dstl. 


Yuen is a Fellow the Institute of Physics and the Institute of Mathematics and Its Applications. He is a registered expert in the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) CapTech domains in sensor technology and computational algorithms.


Zbikowski (with Ansari and Knowles) received the IMechE Aerospace Industries Division Charles Sharpe Beecher Prize, and a PE Publishing Award for Best Paper published in 2006.


B Materials and Applied Chemistry


The School has been selected, in collaboration with Imperial College and University College London, to participate in the Shock Physics Institute (sponsored by AWE) which is looking at the properties of materials at strain rates of up to 105 s-1 (Hazell). Its esteem in the field of energetic materials has been recognised by its qualification to participate in the major QinetiQ-led UK-E programme in this field (Bellerby).


Solar energy research in DMAS has been recognised by the invitation to participate in the UK Solar Energy (sponsored by EPSRC) to the extent of £980k over four years (Lane, Rogers).


Ahmad was an EU project evaluator for a Marie Curie grant scheme during 2004-2005. 


Akhavan is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry and has been a member of the College of Peers at EPSRC.  She has been sponsored by the British Association, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the Royal Institution to give lectures, including a lecture on fireworks at the Royal Institution of Great Britain celebrating the 400th anniversary of the Gunpowder Plot, as well as a keynote lecture on the recycling of explosives to the National Institute for Explosives Technology.


Bellamy is a member of the Editorial Board for the Central European Journal of Energetic Materials, as well as being on the Scientific Committee of the Pardubice International Seminars “New trends in Research in Energetic Materials”. He is also a consultant to AWE.


Bellerby was co-chairman of the International Meeting on Nitrocellulose Ageing, Supply and Characterisation held at AWE in 2007.  He has been (2000-2006) an advisor on rocket propellants to the Government in connection with the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR). He is also a member of the Steering Committee of the EPSRC Network on Forensic Isotope Ratio Mass Spectrometry (FIRMS). He is the co-author of a patent (2002) on a Thermal Dosimeter (Time Temperature Indicator) for use on explosives stores. 


Cox is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and the Society of Antiquaries. She is Forensic Anthropologist for the Commonwealth War Grave Commission.  Until recently she was on the editorial board of Forensic Science, Medicine and Pathology.  She advises the UK government on atrocity crimes and their investigation, and assists the FCO, PM’s Special Representative to Iraq, Ministers, Post Conflict Reconciliation Unit and the All Party War Crimes Committee. She advises newscasters on forensic science related topics, as well as being an expert contributor to archaeological series. In 2002 she was voted ‘European Woman of Achievement’ by the European Association of Women for her humanitarian work, the subject of several R4 programmes including ‘Between Ourselves’ and an award winning programme on her Rwanda work – ‘Seeing the Dead’. She compiled the British Association of Biological Anthropologists and Osteologists submission to the Working Group on Human Remains (DCMS).


Edwards is a Fellow of the Institute of Materials, Minerals and Mining. He was a member of a Sift Panel for the EPSRC programme on Crime. He is an Institutional Auditor for the Quality Assurance Agency.


Hazell serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Battlefield Technology. He is a visiting academic at the University of New South Wales and a visiting senior fellow at the National University of Singapore. He has delivered two invited lectures in a series organised by the Australian Society of Defence Engineering in Canberra. He has been invited to present a paper at the 32nd International Conference on Advanced Ceramics & Composites, organised by the American Ceramics Society. He is an external auditor for Dstl’s Power and Protection Group.


Healy is Chairman of the Materials and Characterisation Group of the Institute of Physics, having been Treasurer and Secretary. He was a panel member on the CBRN (Chemical, Biological, Radiological and Nuclear) thread for the UK Joint Terrorism Analysis Centre, as well as being on the corresponding working group in the US Defense Threat Reduction Agency. He organised two Institute of Physics conferences, one (2002) on characterisation of materials for photovoltaic devices and one (2005) on sensor materials for the detection and identification of radiological substances, the latter meeting having significant numbers attending from the US.


Lane was associate editor of “Thin Silicon Newsletter”, for aSiNet an EU-funded network on amorphous silicon technology. He is a key member of PVNET the EPSRC-funded UK network on photovoltaics, organising student bursaries and co-writing its position document on UK photovoltaic research. He is currently in an international network (SOLARPACT) that is studying the use of cadmium telluride in the solar energy field. He was (2003-5) a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College.


Lovell was a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College for 2001-7 and has also been a panel member for EPSRC. Additionally he was a member of the UK academic delegation to China sent by EPSRC (Interact Programme) to examine membrane technology and alcohol fuel cell research. He has five patents covering the use of polymeric materials as part of modern fuel cells.


Rogers has been a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College and is a Facilities Access Panel Member for the SRS, Daresbury.  He is an elected member of the International Centre for Diffraction Data and is Chairman of the Enhanced Breast Imaging Group. He gave plenary lectures to the 55th Denver X-ray Conference and the Medecin Lumiere Synchrotron meeting (Paris 2005).  His imaging work (2007) was shortlisted to receive a Times Higher Award for Innovation and Technology.


Sayle was invited to contribute, through the Royal Society/National Research Foundation (South Africa) Joint Collaborative Programme, to the supervision of only the second black South African woman to obtain a PhD in Physics. He was elected to the Executive Committee of CCP5 (2002-2006) and gave a plenary lecture to the Summer School of CCP5 in 2003. He was also on the Organising Committee for the RSC International Materials Conference MC8.


Shortland is a Fellow of the Society of Antiquaries.  He won the Best Paper award for the session “Material issues in art and archaeology” at the MRS Conference in 2005. He is treasurer and  board member of the Association for the History of Glass, and is a board member of the Association Internationale de l'Histoire du Verre.


Zioupos is a member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of Biomechanics and the Journal of Bionic Engineering. He is member of the EPSRC Peer Review College. He has been elected to the Council of the European Society of Biomechanics and he is currently the Chair of the Education Committee. Based on research supported by EPSRC he was granted a patent on a method of forensic identification of “age at death” by laboratory-based investigation of bone fragments.


Category C 


Barr has been awarded the Henry Arthur Dalziel Ferns Prize of the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh, the Research Medal of the Liverpool Medical Institution; the Hopkins Endoscopy Prize of the British Society of Gastroenterology, the Rogers Prize of the University of London and the John of Arderne Medal of the Royal Society of Medicine, London. Professor Barr has also been Lister Professor at the Royal College of Surgeons of Edinburgh and Hunterian Professor of the Royal College of Surgeons of England. He is on the Editorial Board of Lasers in Medical Science and Technology in Cancer Research and Treatment and Associate Editor of Photodiagnosis and Photodynamic Therapy. He was an Executive Council member & Secretary of the British Medical Laser Association (1998-2004). For the Medical Research Council he was a member of its Upper Gastrointestinal Cancer Group and its Steering Group for Clinical Trials (Barrett’s oesophagus).


Stone is a member of the Diagnostic Application of Synchrotron Infrared Microscopy (DASIM) Executive (EU Framework 6 Programme) and is Vice Chair of the Scientific Engineering and Technology Committee (IPEM).  He is a member of the British Medical Laser Association Executive, and the British Standards Institute Non-Ionising Radiation Safety Committee (EPL/76).  He has been awarded two patents: 'Method and Device for the Detection of Cancer', and 'Raman for Breast Cancer'.



C Engineering systems and simulation


ESD has been recognised by industry as the academic partner of choice in key areas of defence systems. This has led to the winning of substantial research grants in areas such as future dismounted close combat (Hetherington) and electronic architecture of future armoured vehicles (Hetherington).


Forth was a member of the EPSRC Peer Review College. His MATLAB Automatic Differentiation software has been sublicensed to TOMLAB Optimization of Sweden. This is used to provide derivatives for all the optimization solvers distributed by TOMLAB with royalties going to the University. He has also been the organiser of the UK Workshops on Automatic Differentiation (2001-2004) and the European Workshops on Automatic Differentiation (2005- ).


Hameed was on the organising committee for the two international conferences on Gun Tubes (2002 and 2005).


Hetherington is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers and of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers. He is chairman of the Battlespace Manoeuvre Systems Board of the Defence Scientific Advisory Committee. In 2004 and 2006 he acted as a judge in the Igus International Design Competition concerning systems using polymer bearings.


Horsfall was on the organising committee of two international conferences (3rd and 4th International Conferences on the Fracture of Polymers, Composites and Adhesives). He has advised the Home Office Scientific Development Branch on the development of national standards for police protective equipment. 


Mays is a Fellow of the Institution of Civil Engineers. He was (1996-2004) Convenor of the CEN Committee which led the development of European Standards for the protection and repair of concrete structures.  He remains the chair of its working group concerned with structural bonding.  From 2000 to 2003 he was a member of the Timber Research and Development Association advisory group on adhesive systems for timber structures.


McNaught organised a stream on Decision Support at the UK OR Society conference (2001, 2004).


Category C


Parker was awarded the ASME Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology Editor’s Literature Award for 2005 for his paper “A Critical Examination of Sachs’ Material-Removal Method for Determination of Residual Stress”. He was also the editor of a special issue of the ASME Journal of Pressure Vessel Technology on gun tubes in 2003 and 2006. The US Department of Defense is progressing a patent application relating to a design/manufacture development with Parker as the principal inventor.


D Security and defence management


The University has been awarded (2007) a Queen’s Anniversary Prize for its leading international role in humanitarian demining, specifically in building up national capabilities in demining. This management programme links with the development of technical solutions such as the Cranfield-designed “Dragon” system.


Bellamy has given evidence on lessons of the 2003 Iraq war to the Commons Defence Committee (June 2003) and acted as an expert witness for the International War Crimes Tribunal in the Hague, providing evidence on the artillery bombardment of Mostar.  He was a daily columnist for the Independent before and during the Anglo-American invasion of Iraq. Two of these reports were singled out in The Week: the best of the British and Foreign Media.  He also provided daily analysis of the Iraq war for GMTV.  He is on the editorial board of Civil Wars and the Journal of Slavic Military Studies, and has given keynote lectures at the RAAF 2002 Aerospace Conference as well as at numerous UK conferences. His book, Absolute War, is published in the US and UK and will be translated into Estonian, Czech and Italian.



Cleary has organised DfID- and MOD-financed workshops for defence and foreign ministers, and senior security sector professionals in Ethiopia and Ghana.  She briefed the Chilean Foreign and Defence Ministries on UK defence policy and NATO enlargement and has given presentations to parliamentary workshops in Bulgaria and Romania. She has given keynote addresses to the Chilean Political Science Association and the Ghana Security Sector Governance Parliamentary Workshop.  She is on the editorial board for the international Journal of Security Sector Management.


Durodie has given oral evidence to the All-Party Parliamentary Inquiry into tackling terrorism, acted as an adviser to the Cabinet Office Strategy Unit Inquiry into GM crops, and addressed five NATO Advanced Research Workshops.  He regularly provides expert commentary for television (Newsnight) and radio (Today).  He featured in the BAFTA award-winning 2004 BBC documentary series produced by Adam Curtis: The Power of Nightmares: the Rise of the Politics of Fear.  He gave the inaugural lecture for the Design against Crime programme of The University of Arts, London and the closing plenary of the first Asia-Pacific Programme for Senior National Security Officers in Singapore.  He is on the advisory board of Millennium – Journal of International Studies.



Holmes has been awarded honorary doctorates of letters by Leicester and Kent Universities.  In 2005 he gave an inaugural lecture for the Company of Surgeons’ Institute of Conflict Medicine and in 2007 gave the annual Liddell Hart lecture at King’s College London.  He is President of the British Commission for Military History, President of the Battlefields Trust and a trustee of the Royal Armouries, where he chairs the Knowledge Committee.  His TV documentaries attract audiences in excess of 2 million, and his book, Tommy was on the shortlist (of four) for the British Book Society award for 2005.



Grint is the founding co-editor of Leadership and on Editorial Board of Philosophy of Management, British Journal of Public Sector Leadership, Change Management, Journal of Management and Organisation and Leadership Quarterly.  He has given keynote addresses at the Australian and New Zealand Academy of Management Conference and the 7th BELMAS-SCRELM Research Conference amongst others.  He is a fellow of the Sunningdale Institute of the National School of Government.  He founded the International Leadership Research Conference in 2002 and acted as a co-organiser for the 2nd (2003) and 4th (2005) conferences.  He is a visiting Research Professor at Lancaster University; Associate Fellow at the Said Business School and Templeton College, Oxford University, and a Fellow of the Windsor Leadership Trust.  He is currently working with the Cabinet Office on redesigning the Leadership Development Programmes for the Senior Civil Service.

Matthews gave oral evidence on UK Defence Industrial Strategy to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee and is the defence economist member of the UK MOD Doctrine, Concepts and Development Centre Consultative Committee.  He was a member of the 2004 ESRC Expert Panel for the £3 million New Security Challenges Research Programme.  He spoke at the 2006 and 2007 NATO International Defence Economics Conferences in Israel and Slovenia.  He is a regular speaker on Defence Management at leading Chinese Universities, including Tsinghua University (2005),

Taylor is an Editorial Board member of International Affairs and Defence Studies. As an academic working closely with defence practitioners, he was an elected member of the Council of the Defence Manufacturers Association (2001-2006) and is a member of the Acquisition Focus group at the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI). He is regularly invited to speak at defence conferences in the UK and overseas, with presentations in 2007 at the Defence Procurement Conference in Malaysia in December, the RUSI Project Management conference and the Defence IQ Conference on Finance. He was chosen (2000-1) to lead the MOD’s Non-Advocate Review Team for Project Bowman. In 2006 he acted as an invited member of the WS Atkins Rainbow Group evaluating the acquisition strategy for the Future Rapid Effects System. On invitation, he submitted written evidence to the Commons Defence Committee on the Defence Industrial Strategy in 2006.