Realising Ambition 2027

Our plan

Our ambitious and exciting five-year plan has four key areas of focus and is underpinned by eight strategies that will help us achieve our goals.

Developed through engagement with our Cranfield community of staff, students and external partners, it has our values of Ambition, Impact, Respect and Community at its heart.

Our plan will help us to focus, prioritise and to work together to achieve our ambitions. We will monitor our collective impact through a series of measures and high-level KPIs, so we know we are on track.

Our areas of focus

Our ambitions are to:

  • be an employer of choice;
  • be a partner of choice;
  • create the UK’s applied research powerhouse;
  • create distinctive Cranfield learners.

These areas of focus don’t stand alone. They are all connected and success will only happen when we work collaboratively to deliver all four. We know we are stronger when we work across our boundaries.

“What excites me is that our plan has been developed in conjunction with so many people who have engaged so actively. Our students, our staff and our external partners have all told us what they think the key elements are for Cranfield to be a success going forward, and we’ve listened.”

Professor Karen Holford CBE FREng, Chief Executive and Vice-Chancellor Cranfield University

Professor Karen Holford CBE

Our strategies

Our plan is underpinned by eight strategies which are designed to support our four key areas of focus and help us achieve our goals.

The strategies have been endorsed by the University Executive and Council and our staff provided feedback on the draft strategies at drop-in sessions.

Monitoring our success

Super KPIs

To make sure we stay on track, we will monitor our progress against the corporate plan using a set of high-level key performance indicators.


Our staff community is at the heart of our corporate plan. We want everyone to feel proud of the contribution they make to our University and the difference that we make when we work together.

Indicator: Pulse staff survey.

by 2027, 90% of staff say they 'are proud to work at Cranfield', from a baseline of 82%.

Student outcomes

Our learners will be known for their distinctive skills and capabilities which enhance their career.

Indicator: Office for Students (OfS) Student Outcomes proposed measure of career progression.

achieve a 25% improvement on our base position. This base will be confirmed by OfS following their current consultation.

Research and innovation

We want Cranfield to be recognised globally as the UK’s Applied Research Powerhouse, and as a leader of sustainable innovation.

Indicator: Annual Excellence in Scholarship review programme.

by 2027, 45% of our publications are world-leading from a baseline of 20%.

Partnership and collaboration

We want Cranfield to become the partner of choice at the heart of a collaborative network of national and international stakeholders, which is mutually beneficial to all involved.

Indicator: Median of our annual invoiced income of our top 50 partners.(i.e. number 25th)

achieve 25% increase in our 2021/22 baseline position before inflation by 2027.


We are proud of our reputation. This is measured in rankings and through accreditation of our courses and teaching. We will protect, maintain, and enhance our reputation through active participation in these processes.

Indicator: QS World University Subject Rankings

  1. achieve a 25% improvement across our main four QS subject rankings by 2027.
  2. Maintain and increase key accreditations.


We are committed to being a sustainable university, building on our teaching, research and operational excellence and embedding UN Sustainable Development Goals in everything that we do.

Indicator: Times Higher Impact Rankings

We will be participating in this ranking in autumn 2022.

achieve a 25% improvement in our base position by 2027.

Financial growth

Financial sustainability underpins our ability to realise our ambitions and invest in our people.

Indicator: Operating surplus

by 2027, achieve an annual operating surplus of 7.5% of income.

Related links

Read about the strategies helping us to deliver our plan

© Cranfield University 2022