In 2013, Professor Jonathan Cooper was appointed the Royal Academy of Engineering Airbus Sir George White Chair in Aerospace Engineering. The Academy’s Research Chairs and Senior Fellowships scheme strengthens the links between industry and academia by supporting exceptional academics in UK universities to undertake use-inspired research for five years, co-sponsored by an industrial partner.
Professor Jonathan Cooper was originally awarded the Airbus RAEng Chair at the University of Bristol in order to develop a research programme on the integrated design of advanced novel wing architectures for commercial jet aircraft. His outstanding track record on the scheme led to a five-year extension in 2018. He is now continuing his aerospace engineering research and teaching aerospace engineering undergraduates at the university.
For over 30 years, Professor Cooper has worked with industry to develop more fuel efficient aircraft designs by exploiting the interactions between airflow and aircraft structures. He has an international reputation in the fields of aeroelasticity, loads and structural dynamics and focuses his research on how to exploit wing deflections so that wings are more aerodynamically efficient and lighter.
Professor Cooper says that being a Research Chair “has enabled me to develop a world-leading research team in the areas of aircraft loads and aeroelasticity.” His team is able to make use of the computational and experimental facilities at the University of Bristol that include wind tunnels and BLADE dynamics laboratories.
Professor Cooper has been working on a number of aircraft configuration projects that could mark a step-change in aerospace performance by reducing the environmental impact of commercial aircraft. His work has achieved significant impact in the industry, including development of folding wing-tips for loads alleviation, design of highly flexible wings, and blade-tip timing methods.
His contributions in the aerospace sector have brought recognition and increased responsibilities including being elected a Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering in 2019 and being made the President of the Royal Aeronautical Society from 2019 to 2021.
The Academy’s Research Chairs scheme aims to strengthen the links between industry and academia by supporting exceptional academics in UK universities to undertake use-inspired research that meets the needs of the industrial partners.