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Airnovation Summer Academy

Get inspired by the Airnovation Summer Academy

Airnovation Best of 2018


Meet the "Airnovators"

Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy offers students the opportunity to innovate in diverse teams to tackle a global challenge, harnessing emerging digital technologies and developing professional skills valuable in this exciting industry.

Discover more about their experence on our Airbus Facebook page.


The 2018 edition ran from 1-6 July and was hosted by Cranfield University, UK.

The Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy is a unique student experience based on the principles and methods of a business concept accelerator and a microcosm of Airbus itself. Just as the company forms diverse, multidisciplinary teams to create value for our customers and society overall, diverse student teams developed business proposals to address a major global challenge in an intense, agile and dynamic way.

Taking inspiration from Airbus business pioneers as well as from current Airbus experts in engineering and digital technologies, students applied state-of-the-art innovation methods to develop their proposals. Each team benefitted from the guidance of specialized Airbus innovation and intrapreneurship coaches throughout the week which culminated in a pitching session to a distinguished jury.

The Academy is where future aerospace professionals learn how to keep aerospace relevant to society, transforming and reinventing the industry from the inside. They discover their strengths, create new competences and see for themselves how they can leverage the rich assets of a global giant such as Airbus to positively impact billions of people around the globe.

Meet the "Airnovators"

Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy offers students the opportunity to innovate in diverse teams to tackle a global challenge, harnessing emerging digital technologies and developing professional skills valuable in this exciting industry.

Discover more about their experence on our Airbus Facebook page.

“Joining the Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy is a once in a lifetime experience." – 2018 Airnovator

The week-long event was filled with stimulating talks; numerous exchanges between Airnovation Faculty and students; and intense learning, concept development and pitch preparation using techniques such as Design Thinking and the Business Model Canvas.

On the last day, 48 students from 20 countries in 6 multidisciplinary teams pitched their proposals for game changing concepts linked to the global need for food and water security to an expert Jury. The team with the winning proposal was NAVgreen, and the team winning the audience vote for the quality of their pitch was reWATER.

The final pitches and award ceremony are available to watch in the Airbus Careers Facebook page videos section.

You can find all our live coverage of the 2018 edition on social media using #Airnovation2018

The 2018 Academy mentors

Sue is a passionate advocate for women in tech and has spent the last 20 years campaigning for more recognition and support for women in computing. This led to her founding BCSWomen, the UK’s first online network for women in tech, and #techmums, a social enterprise which empowers mums and their families through technology. Sue recently appeared in the BBC Three documentary Girls Can Code, encouraging and mentoring young women into the tech industry.
Sue is also an academic with 20+ years’ experience with more than 40 publications and a PhD in software engineering to her name.
In 2017, Sue received the Social Impact ABIE Award at The Grace Hopper Celebration in recognition of the positive impact her work is having on women, technology and society.
She was made an OBE in the New Year Honours list 2016 which was presented by HRH Prince Charles on May 20th 2016, and sits on the Government’s new advisory board for improving digital services.
Sue has spoken at many events worldwide, including after dinner talks for the United Nations in New York and Geneva, Google London, various banks, consulates and embassies, as well as to corporate leadership teams, geeks, mums, students and even on a soapbox on the South Bank of the Thames for Soapbox Science.

A photo of Patrick Francis, the Chief Technology Officer for Airbus’ Space CyberSecurity business and a mentor for the company’s 2018 Airnovation Summer Academy.
Patrick Francis

CTO Space CyberSecurity, Airbus Defence and Space

Patrick (Paddy) Francis is currently the CTO for the Space CyberSecurity business within Airbus Defence and Space, where he is responsible for overseeing innovation and R&T, as well as helping co-ordinate research and development, introducing new innovations and developing the technology strategy for the CyberSecurity across the three development centres in the UK, France and Germany.

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Paddy joined the company in 1978 after graduating with an honours degree in Electronic Engineering and moved into system security in 1979.  As the company evolved, Paddy has held various positions as a technical lead in the field of system and product security, crypto and key management, communications system design and network security and more recently cyber security, including experience in incident response, which has resulted in a number of new innovations and patents.  He has thirty years plus experience in communications and security, working with NATO and several national security authorities and security and standardisation working groups.  In his current and previous roles, he has been involved in research and technology strategy and management in the field of security for over 12 years.

Dr. Joerg P. Mueller, one of the mentors for Airbus’ 2018 Airnovation Summer Academy, is a Project Executive in the company’s Business Strategy department.
Dr Joerg P. Mueller

Project Executive, Business Strategy, Airbus

Joerg works as a Project Executive in the Business Strategy department of Airbus, where he also initiated the central Urban Air Mobility project. Before joining Strategy, he worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Company and as an engineer in Airbus’ Flight Physics. Joerg holds a Ph.D. for his research in tiltrotors aeromechanics. He studied Aerospace Engineering at the University of Stuttgart, at CALTECH in Pasadena and at UPS / ISAE-SUPAERO in Toulouse.

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A photo of Hadrien Chardet-Vegne, the Head of Business Development and Partnerships for Airbus’ NAVBLUE company, and a mentor for the 2018 Airnovation Summer Academy.
Hadrien Chardet-Vergne

HO Business Development and Partnerships, NAVBLUE

Hadrien is the Head of Business Development and Partnerships for NAVBLUE, an Airbus company providing Flight Operations and Air Traffic Management digital solutions. In this position, Hadrien works in the Strategy and Innovation Office and leads a team responsible for defining new business models, setting up strategic partnerships and leading the NAVBLUE Early Adopter Program.

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Hadrien has developed a strong experience in Airbus customer services for the last 13 years in various positions. Customer service positions allowed him to be in contact with customers on a daily basis, to increase their satisfaction and be the voice of the customers internally to improve products and services. Hadrien initially started his career in the Maintenance & Engineering domain by leading a Direct Maintenance Costs and Aircraft Reliability benchmarking programme.

After getting a strong technical background on the aircraft, their operation and cost impact, Hadrien moved into Airbus services marketing as an Aircraft Modification Marketing Manager. In this role, he was responsible for the strategic and operational marketing for the system, cabin and structure modifications. This position allowed him to gain great insights through connecting the technical aspects to customer benefits and delivering the highest value to them. Airbus service portfolio is very large beyond the aircraft modifications, including Flight Hours Services, Material Management, in addition to Digital Solutions and Training which requires coordinated actions towards the customers. In this context, Hadrien, took the lead of the operational and customer marketing for “Services by Airbus”. In this position, Hadrien harmonised and standardised the marketing practices across services Business Lines while developing the customer marketing roles to coordinate marketing actions across “Services by Airbus” towards strategic customers. Hadrien graduated from ESTACA, an Aeronautical Engineering School, based in Paris. He also holds an MBA, from Toulouse Business School.

Philippe Galland, one of the mentors for Airbus’ 2018 Airnovation Summer Academy, is the OneWeb Return of Experience Manager at Airbus Defence and Space.
Philippe Galland

OneWeb Return of Experience Manager, Airbus Defence and Space

Philippe has more than 32 years of experience in the space industry. He started his career in the EEE field then switched to equipment definition and procurement for various satellite products and projects. Becoming Supply Chain Project Leader gave him the opportunity to work on various complex new development programmes from early stages to operational phase. He has been involved in the OneWeb Constellation project since the early days, mainly for supply chain management. Today he is in charge of the OW return of experience for Airbus Defence and Space Core business.

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Day to day

‘Airnovators’ from 24 leading universities gather at Cranfield University, UK for the 2018 Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy

Welcome to the 2018 Academy!

Airnovators met for the first time and enjoyed the chance to network with Airbus experts, mentors and coaches at an evening barbecue.

This global group included current and future leaders in the dynamic aerospace industry, who all share a passion for harnessing digital aerospace technology to address significant global issues.

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Airnovators met faculty members from Cranfield, and a morning session followed on the innovation methods that will power their collaborative teamwork during the week. 

Three speakers presented the 2018 challenge, inspired the teams, brainstormed and helped them to put their new design thinking into action.

The talk on Airbus’ One Web microsatellites project by Philippe Galland – OneWeb Rex Manager at Airbus – was also livestreamed.

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Dr Denyse Julien talking through value system mapping & BMC, at the Airbus Airnovation Summer Camp, Cranfield University, United Kingdom.

Airnovators took a trip to Bletchley Park to find out about the origins of computing. Another briefing session took place, this time on how to move from a concept to super-rapid prototyping. Then the Airnovators had time to work in their teams to see how this applies to their emerging ideas. This was followed by the livestreamed talk on Airbus NAVBLUE by Hadrien Chardet-Vergne – Head of Business Development and Partnerships at NAVBLUE. The talk allowed participants to find out more about this digital service in navigation, routine planning and efficient flying. NAVBLUE offers a key example of a digital services company with its core and origin in Airbus’ main business.

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The day’s session was focused on concept elaboration and Value System Mapping to help shape an idea.

As Airnovators’ ideas moved forward, they continued to interact with Airbus experts, faculty coaches and mentors to get first-hand insights into high impact projects realization.

A livestreamed talk on the future of the aerospace industry followed the session. Question time with an Airbus Careers panel then closed the day’s activities.

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Team 3 working on a business model exercise, set by Dr Denyse Julien, at the Airbus Airnovation Summer Camp, Cranfield University, United Kingdom.

A learning session with a special focus on prototyping and pitching took place. Teams worked on the final projects, based on the knowledge acquired and networking with faculty visitors.

The day was also the last opportunity for the teams to make the most of Airbus expertise and strengthen their connections during the Airnovation Class of 2018!

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Final pitch time from our teams! 

The student presentations were livestreamed – and the participants as well as the audience had the chance to ask their questions and interact with the VIP Jury via the Airbus Careers Facebook page!

Teams also presented their work in a market place, explaining their concept to supporters and fellow Airnovators.

The final Ceremony Award was livestreamed to reveal the winner of the Airnovation Summer Academy 2018.

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About Cranfield

Cranfield is creating leaders in technology and management

Cranfield University, a founding member of the AGUPP University network, was proud to host the 2018 Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy, welcoming the Airnovators to their truly unique learning environment. The only dedicated postgraduate university in the UK, Cranfield’s world-class programs, unrivalled facilities, close links with business, industry and governments and an international outlook, all combine to attract students and teaching staff from around the globe.

Their master’s and research degrees are informed by industry and focus on the specialist themes of aerospace, defence and security, energy and power, environment and agri-food, manufacturing, transport systems, and water. Cranfield’s School of Management is globally recognized for its excellence in leadership development and real-world focus.

The Future of aerospace

We are on the cusp of a third revolution in flight. That’s why at Airbus, we are laser-focused on specific research and development areas that are going to be the key drivers in shaping the future of aerospace and improving the way we live, travel and interact.

Through our global innovation centres, venture capital fund, and aerospace accelerators, we collaborate with the brightest minds to tackle big problems with novel insights to make the world a more connected, prosperous, and safer place.

By funding and supporting start-ups and SMEs, we contribute to accelerating innovation in aerospace. Innovation happens when great ideas, people and challenges intersect. At Airbus, we make these intersections happen. The result – breakthrough innovations that positively impact the world and ignite excitement and passion for aerospace.

Explore innovations

Explore innovations

Defence and Space

Defence and Space

2016 Edition

The first edition of the Airbus Airnovation Summer Academy took place from 3-8 July 2016 at Delft University of Technology (TU Delft) in the Netherlands and was launched in partnership with Airbus Corporate Innovations and Airbus Employment Marketing.

Partnerships and Competitions


Airbus Global University Partner Programme

Airnovation Summer Academy

Awards and Sponsorships


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