Professor Alison McMillan

Professor in Aerospace Technology

Picture of staff member


  • Maths & Physics BSc, UCL, 1986
  • Applied Mechanics MSc, Cranfield, 1988
  • Impact analysis of composites PhD, Staffordshire University, 1992

Postdocs at:

  • Oxford, Engineering Science, Optimisation for vibrational mode shape
  • Keele University, Maths, Nonlinear dynamics of wheel squeal
  • Keele University, Communication and Neuroscience, Signal processing for speech recognition.

  • Rolls-Royce plc, 1997-2011
  • Stress validation (FEA) for shafts and bearing housings
  • R&D programme management for manufacturing methods development
  • Shafts work package management for TP400 engines (A400M aircraft)
  • Impact analysis (FEA using Dyna) for fan blade containment system design for Trent 900 (A380 aircraft)
  • R&D strategy leadership for composites.
  • Intellectual Property and Export Control point of contact for the business unit.
  • Royal Society Industry Fellow, 2007-2011 (part-time).
  • Research into material properties in composites, including the effect of defects and porosity on strength and life.
  • University of South Wales, 2011-12
  • Wrexham University, 2012-present

Research interests:

  • Composites
  • Effect of defects, porosity and inclusions on material properties
  • Material standards
  • Computational methods development (FEA/CFD & meshing)
  • Simulation of manufacturing processes
  • Optimisation
  • Embedding concepts like Industry 4.0, IoT and Digital Twin into engineering industrial practice
  • Signal processing algorithms
  • History and philosophy of science to address the problems of the future

Interests & Hobbies

  • I play cornet and French horn, and direct a brass ensemble
  • I compose and arrange music
  • I grow vegetables
  • I enjoy science fiction books and films


  • Fellow of Institution of Mechanical Engineers
  • Fellow of Institute of Physics