The Cranfield Aerospace Alumni Awards recognise special achievements and contributions of alumni, while providing Cranfield with an opportunity to acknowledge and celebrate those in the aerospace sector who exemplify the values of University. Alumni awards also allow us to showcase the impact of Cranfield globally and highlight the accomplishments of individuals who may serve as role models to other alumni, students and potential students.

In partnership with the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association (CCAAA), we are pleased to announce the categories for the 2020 Cranfield Aerospace Alumni Awards:

  • The Distinguished Aerospace Alumnus/a Award
  • Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates

More information on the selection criteria, eligibility, the nominations process and the selection process can be found below. The Aerospace Alumni Awards are for those working in fields related to the science of flight, designing and manufacturing aircraft and also space vehicles and components. Alumni working in fields related to the operation of aircraft, the supporting infrastructure and supply chain can be nominated for recognition in the Cranfield Aviation Alumni Awards.

Please note: nominations for the 2020 Awards are now closed.

Awards selection criteria

The Distinguished Aerospace Alumnus/a Award

The Distinguished Aerospace Alumnus/a Award is one of Cranfield University’s highest honours. It recognises those individuals who have achieved significant success within their industry and sector, while upholding the highest standards in business practice.  In selecting the Distinguished Aerospace Alumnus/a of the Year,  the Selection Panel will consider the following:

  • Sustained professional achievement at the highest levels, preferably extending into the year of selection.  Professional achievement may be viewed in terms of:
  • Technology/engineering leadership.
  • Achieving transformational change in an organisation.
  • Significant and successful project management.
  • Contribution to company profitability and job creation.
  • Significant impact on their industry and sector, beyond their own role and organisation.
  • International visibility: influence/experience working across different geographic regions.
  • Regarded as a role model for leadership.
  • Innovation and creativity.
  • Sustainability: reducing the negative impact of Aerospace on environment
  • Other awards and recognitions.
  • Previous relationship with Cranfield or benefit of potential relationship with Cranfield in the future.

Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates

The Excellence in Achievement Award for Recent Aerospace Graduates recognises those who have made significant progress in their careers within ten years of graduating from Cranfield.  This award recognises those who have the potential to reach the highest levels of success in the future.  In selecting recipients of the Excellence in Achievement Award, the Selection Panel will consider the following:

  • Technological/engineering leadership.
  • National visibility.
  • Early career impact on sector/industry.
  • Demonstrable achievement beyond individual position and company.
  • International experience and impact.
  • Role model behaviours/highest standards of business practice.
  • Relationship with Cranfield since graduation or potential benefit of future relationship.


Nominees must be an alumnus/a of Cranfield University, covering any postgraduate diploma, Master’s or PhD. The awards are open to alumni from the Schools of Aerospace, Transport and Manufacturing – along with all former schools associated with aerospace and aviation, including the College of Aeronautics and the School of Engineering.

Members of the Selection Panel will not be eligible for an award whilst serving on the panel. Honorary graduates will also not be eligible for an award unless they are also a graduate alumnus of the University.

Nomination process

The Alumni Relations and Development Office shall seek nominations for each award via the alumni portal, eNewsletters, social media sites and through special targeted messages to alumni, faculty, staff and students. The closing date for nominations will be indicated and no nominations will be considered after this time.

  • The nominator must be one of the following: an alumnus/a, a current or former member of Cranfield University staff, a current student, a member of the School advisory board or an honorary degree recipient.
  • The nominator must complete the appropriate nomination form which will be available online from the Alumni Relations and Development Office.
  • The nominator must provide a statement of no more than 800 words describing the achievements and contributions that make the nominee worthy of the award. These statements should refer directly to the specific criteria for each award.
  • All nominations will be treated as confidential.

Nominations for the 2020 Awards are now closed.

Selection process

The selection panel will consist of the Pro-Vice-Chancellor for the School of Aerospace Transport and Manufacturing, the Director of Aerospace, the Director of Transport Systems and representatives of the Cranfield College of Aeronautics Alumni Association. 

The selection panel will reach agreement on the winners in each of the categories and award recipients will be notified. The Alumni Relations and Development Office will notify all nominators as to whether their nominee has been selected to receive an award. The selection process is confidential and the decisions of the selection panel are final. All unsuccessful nominations can be resubmitted for consideration in future years.

Previous winners

While 2020 is the first year that the Cranfield Aerospace Alumni Awards will be run in this format, last year Ralph Hooper, OBE, FREng, FRAeS, was the recipient of the inaugural Distinguished Aerospace Alumnus award in recognition of his outstanding contribution in the field of aircraft design and development.

Mr Hooper was a member of the very first cohort of students at Cranfield, attending what was then called the Cranfield College of Aeronautics in 1946. He went on to lead the design team for the revolutionary Hawker P.1127 aircraft, which pioneered the development of the Hawker Harrier. Upon receiving the Distinguished Aerospace Alumnus Award, Mr Hooper said: “It is very humbling to receive this award and it is thanks to my time at Cranfield that I was able to go on to do what I did at Hawker.”