Edward Crawley


Ford Professor of Engineering
Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics and of Engineering Systems

B.S., 1976, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
M.S., 1978, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Sc.D., 1980, Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Specialization and Research Interests

Architecture of Technical Systems, Space Systems, Dynamics and Control, Structures, Intelligent Structures

Teaching Interests

Systems Architecture, Structures, Space Systems Design


Dr. Crawley received an Sc.D. in Aerospace Structures from MIT in 1981. His early research interests centered on structural dynamics, aeroelasticity, and the development of actively controlled and intelligent structures. Recently, Dr. Crawley’s research has focused on the domain of the architecture and design of complex systems.

Dr. Crawley’s work spans a range from the development of underlying theory, typified by a recent paper on the Algebra of Systems, to the development of methods and tools, such as Object Process Networks. It extends as far as a consulting role on the design of actual systems. Currently he is engaged on both NASA and oil exploration system designs.

From 2003 to 2006 he served as the Executive Director of the Cambridge – MIT Institute, a joint venture, funded by the British government and industry, with a mission to understand and generalize how universities act as engines of innovation and economic growth. For the previous seven years, he served as the Department Head of Aeronautics and Astronautics at MIT, leading the strategic realignment of the department.

Dr. Crawley was the founding co-director of the System Design and Management Program, which leads to a degree jointly offered by the School of Engineering and Sloan School of Management at MIT. He is the founding co-director of an international collaboration on the reform of engineering education, and the lead author of the book, Rethinking Engineering Education, the CDIO Approach.

Dr. Crawley is a Fellow of the AIAA and the Royal Aeronautical Society (UK), and is a member of three national academies of engineering: the Royal Swedish Academy of Engineering Science, the (UK) Royal Academy of Engineering, and the US National Academy of Engineering. He is the author of numerous journal publications in the AIAA Journal, the ASME Journal, the Journal of Composite Materials, and Acta Astronautica.

In his outreach and public service, Dr. Crawley was chairman of the NASA Technology and Commercialization Advisory Committee, and was a member of the NASA Advisory Committee. He holds the NASA Public Service Medal. In 1993 was a member of the Presidential Advisory Committee on the Space Station Redesign. He is conversant in Russian, and has spent time as a visitor at the Moscow Aviation Institute, the Beijing University of Aeronautics and Astronautics, Stanford University and Cambridge University. He was a finalist in the NASA Astronaut selection in 1980, is an active pilot, and was the 1990, 1995 and 2005 Northeast Regional Soaring champion. In 2004 he received the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award of the Boy Scouts of America.

Positions Held at MIT

Executive Director, Gordon Engineering Leadership Program, 2007-present; Executive Director, Cambridge MIT Institute, 2003-2006; Professor of Engineering Systems, 2000-present; Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1990-present; Department Head of Aeronautics and Astronautics, 1996-2003; Co-Director, Systems Design and Management Program, 1993-1996; MacVicar Faculty Fellow, 1992-2002; Director, Space Engineering Research Center, 1986-1996; Assistant Professor, 1980-1984; Associate Professor, 1984-1990

Honors and Awards

Fellow, AIAA; Member, National Academy of Engineering; NASA Astronaut Finalist,1980; Regional Soaring Champion,1991 and 1995

Society Memberships

American Institute of Aeronautics and AstronauticsAmerican Society of Mechanical EngineersSoaring Society of America

Administrative Assistant: Amy Jarvis