The Chairman of Barclays, John Mcfarlane, has officially opened the new aviation technology hub at Cranfield University.

The hub is a partnership between Cranfield University and Barclays, establishing the first Eagle Lab dedicated to aviation technology, or #AvTech, based on the University’s campus.

The hub offers a co-working space for ambitious entrepreneurs to scale and grow, and features facilities to support rapid prototyping, product development and specialised avtech equipment.

The Eagle Lab is the first step in the University’s ambitious aviation, innovation and entrepreneurship project which will create unique specialist enterprise facilities and programmes at Cranfield University to support start-ups and SMEs, particularly those with high-growth potential. Cranfield is one of the leading aerospace universities in the world and is home to the UK’s first digital air traffic control centre, which opened in December 2018.

Professor Tom Stephenson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research and Innovation at Cranfield University, said: “We are delighted that Barclays has opened an Eagle Lab on campus, marking the first step of our ambitious aviation, innovation and entrepreneurship project, an intensive support package for aerospace and aviation entrepreneurs.

“The Government has rightly identified the potential of SMEs to develop the industry’s technologies of the future and at Cranfield we are determined to do all we can to support businesses in the region help realise their ambitions.

“We are thrilled to welcome John back to Cranfield to open the Eagle Lab. He is one of our most notable alumni and was the inaugural recipient of the Cranfield School of Management Distinguished Alumnus Award.”

John McFarlane, Chairman of Barclays and MBA alum of Cranfield University, said: “New technology is rapidly transforming the aerospace and aviation industry, and we want to ensure businesses across the South East Midlands, large and small, can take advantage of and contribute to this huge opportunity.

“That’s why we’re excited to open a Barclays Eagle Lab here at Cranfield University, helping entrepreneurs turn a clever idea into a thriving business by giving them access to world-class facilities and a network of potential clients, investors and mentors. Ultimately, we hope this Lab will help to stimulate and accelerate not just the local economy, but the industry as a whole.”

Aerospace at Cranfield

Cranfield is the number one university in Europe for aerospace. We are the only university in Europe to own and run an airport and to have airline status. We have been at the forefront of aerospace technology for 70 years.

As the UK's most business-engaged University, we have long-term relationships and close commercial partnerships with many companies in the sector including Airbus, BAE Systems, Boeing and Rolls-Royce.

Our education, research and consultancy is enhanced by our world-class facilities including the National Flying Laboratory Centre – a unique national asset which provides a hands-on, flying experience, along with flight deck simulators and industrial-scale gas turbine engine test facilities used for performance and diagnostic studies. The Aerospace Integration Research Centre, a £35 million innovative centre built in partnership with Airbus and Rolls-Royce, fosters collaboration between industry and academia. A new £65 million Digital Aviation Research and Technology Centre will also be built at Cranfield to spearhead the UK’s research into digital aviation technology.

Notable Cranfield alumni include Warren East, CEO of Rolls-Royce plc and Ralph Hooper, who attended the College of Aeronautics at Cranfield in 1946 and went on to become one of the UK’s most important post-war aircraft designers, creating the Hawker Harrier jump jet. 

About BarclaysA transatlantic consumer and wholesale bank with global reach, offering products and services across personal, corporate and investment banking, credit cards and wealth management, with a strong presence in our two home markets of the UK and the US.

With over 325 years of history and expertise in banking, Barclays operates in over 40 countries and employs approximately 85,000 people. Barclays moves, lends, invests and protects money for customers and clients worldwide.

About Cranfield University: An exclusively postgraduate university that is a global leader for education and transformational research in technology and management.

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