CranfieldUniversity took home the award for Academic Innovator at The Engineer Technology and Innovation Awards for its Aircraft Engineering MSc course.

Cranfield’s Aircraft Engineering MSc team were also awarded The Engineer Special Award, because it best demonstrated the relationship between academia and industry that the awards set out to recognise.

The course was originally designed with BAE Systems who wanted their engineers to see a complete aircraft design program from concept to a flying model.

The course is designed so that students can complete it alongside working. Over the three years, only four weeks a year are spent at Cranfield attending taught modules that make up 30 per cent of the course.

Thirty per cent of the course is an individual research project which students are encouraged to link back to an area their company would want researched, some of which are adopted by the company.

The majority of the course consists of a group project to design and build a flying vehicle worth 40 per cent of the marks. The project is completed mostly via web-based discussions and file sharing as well as email and phone meetings.

The project encourages the students to look at different sides of the process, design and management.

‘These are real-world projects,’ said course director Helen Lockett, ‘the students are expected to work as the professionals they are.’

In the 12 years it has been running, other companies including Qinetiq and Airbus have joined BAE as co-sponsors.