Cranfield & RAF Work Together on New Research and Education Initiatives

15 October 2021

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Cranfield University and the Royal Air Force (RAF) Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) have signed a Strategic Relationship Charter setting out guiding principles for how the two organisations will work together more closely in research, innovation and education.

The agreement was signed at Cranfield’s Bedfordshire, England, campus and recognises the importance of research and experimentation in defence science and technology to the strategic goals of both organisations.

Cranfield and the RAF have a long relationship going back to before the Second World War. The signing of the Charter marks a new phase in which they will work together on initiatives covering sustainability and the drive for net-zero, unmanned aerial systems, space, artificial intelligence (AI) and autonomy.

Cranfield University evolved from the original establishment of RAF Cranfield in 1937 and subsequent founding of the College of Aeronautics on the same site in 1946. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) awarded Cranfield – at that time Cranfield Institute of Technology – a teaching and research contract in 1984, which continues today with Cranfield Defence and Security’s presence at the Defence Academy of the UK in Shrivenham. Many serving military officers, including from the RAF, graduate each year through Cranfield’s role as the Academic Provider to the MoD.

Cranfield is already working with the RCO on sustainability projects looking at carbon content on the MoD estate and net-zero in operational effectiveness. The University is also broadening its educational offering through the Defence Academy to equip and enable RAF personnel in the space, AI and autonomy regimes.


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