Cranfield is one of the world’s leading universities for defence and security education, research and consultancy. Our academics’ expertise ranges from energetics and forensic sciences to international stabilisation and cyber security.
“It's an experience like no other. The Defence Academy offers a unique experience that you can't find at any other university because of the military connection. If you're interested in defence it can't be beaten.”
Senior Research and Development Engineer, Micrima Limited, (Defence and Security PhD 2020)
Over 80% of our defence learners are serving military officers and civil servants.
Only UK University
to own a testing and evaluation centre for munitions, weapon systems, pyrotechnic and explosive stores.
Students from more than 55 countries have studied Defence and Security with us.
Research in action
Countering art crime to protect the world's cultural heritage
The £50 billion global art market is blighted by criminal activity. For more than 40 years, the art and antiques sector had been looking for an easier and more trustworthy means of ensuring authenticity. The use of technology has been rare, due to unreliability and the destructive nature of available analysis techniques.
Cranfield’s researchers pioneered the use of the latest low and non-destructive analytical approaches, normally used for crime scene investigations, for working on art crime cases. Objects from established museum and private collections were examined using the new techniques to create a database baseline.
Cranfield’s work has opened up a whole new realm of defence against criminals and a means of securing trust in the authenticity of high value art, leading to guaranteed valuations of tens of millions worth of items.
“We got a lot of good direction from the teaching team as we had professors or lecturers who themselves work within law enforcement, or they work in private forensic industries. They know first-hand how to actually approach scenes and how to really apply that into a real life setting. Cranfield has access to so many resources, and you've got resources from all around the world coming here to help whether it's guest lecturers or companies coming in supporting, so it's definitely great for networking.”
Medical Examiner Officer, National Health Service,
(Forensic Investigation MSc 2021)
Research in action
Saving major costs on the design and UK entry to service of the F-35B Joint Strike Fighter
Photo credit: Crown copyright 2023
Modern aircraft design cycles take more than 20 years from initial concept to service entry – meaning every research insight that solves problems and saves time is hugely valuable.
Designing a new vertical or short take-off and landing (V/STOL) Joint Strike Fighter – a supersonic, multi-role combat aircraft capable of carrying out air-to-air, air-to-surface, surveillance and electronic warfare missions simultaneously – was a hugely complex process involving a host of international partners across 13 countries.
An improved, more accurate design process – built on Cranfield’s insights into V/STOL aircraft jet aerodynamics – led to better design decisions, improved safety, cost savings, a shortened flight test programme and allowed for earlier airworthiness clearance by UK operators. This led to savings of over £5 million and the development of an essential systems engineering assurance framework.
World-class, state of the art facilities
Several unique facilities and large-scale test environments, including those on the Ministry of Defence site at Shrivenham, are used by our students and clients for exceptional research. They include:
- Laboratories and facilities allowing investigation and design of radar systems and waveforms; communication networks and devices; autonomous platforms and intelligent systems.
- Cranfield Ordnance Test and Evaluation Centre (COTEC): where materials and weapons are tested and evaluated for governments’ agencies, defence suppliers and manufacturers.
- A £7 million investment in the latest forensic science technology including a virtual reality autopsy table, crime scene investigation rooms, crime scene house and a simulated mass grave excavation site has created a new forensic science teaching and research facility at our Cranfield campus which is unparalleled in the UK.
Student anthropology forensics practical in the new forensic laboratories