Dr Carl Gilkeson


I completed my undergraduate degree, a masters in Aerospace Engineering at the University of Sheffield from 2000-2004. Following this I moved to the University of Leeds to specialise in Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) studying an MSc in the subject from 2004-2005. I then pursued a PhD in low-speed vehicle aerodynamics in the School of Mechanical Engineering, also at the University of Leeds from 2005-2009. 

Subsequently, I spent the next four years working as a research fellow in the School of Civil Engineering. In this role, my research focus was on infection control in hospital wards, specifically using Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI). This involved significant numerical modelling to simulate airborne pathogen transport as well as experimental work to characterise radiation fields and the impact on microorganisms.

Following this, I joined the Institute of Climate and Atmospheric Sciences as a research fellow in 2013 to study the impact of dust devils on the contribution to the global mineral dust budget. This short-lived role led to my current position as a teaching and research fellow in aeronautical and aerospace engineering which I have held since September 2013. I teach a variety of subjects including flight mechanics, aerodynamics, orbital mechanics and CFD. I supervise undergraduates completing individual and group projects in a variety of aerospace-related topics in conjunction with our aerospace industrial advisory board, consisting of Airbus, BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce, amongst many other organisations.

In addition to the taught aspect, my research background covers a number of applications of fluid flow phenomena including aerodynamics, aerobiology and meteorology; more details of my research interests are given in the relevant field below. I became a Chartered engineer with the Institute of Mechanical Engineers in 2015. 


  • Programme Manager, Aeronautical and Aerospace Engineering

Research interests

My research background has covered a variety of areas including road vehicle aerodynamics, indoor ventilation design and boundary layer meteorology. These topics have all drawn on my main specialism which is the application of Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) and this offers tremendous insight into fluid flow phenomena. In addition to this I have developed experimental expertise focusing on wind tunnel testing, laboratory studies of airborne pathogen transport in environmental chambers and field assessments of both natural and mechanical ventilation in buildings.

Past research activities have consisted of investigations of the ventilation characteristics within small livestock trailers, multi-objective aerodynamic shape optimisation, design of jet-powered land speed record vehicles, indoor airflow modelling in a range of healthcare environments including hospital wards and isolation rooms and numerical simulation of dust devil vortices in the Sahara desert. I also have experience of applied numerical optimisation using metamodel-based techniques which have resulted in better designs, providing useful engineering insight for various applications.

My current research interests include wind turbine design, aerodynamic analysis and optimisation of road and aerial vehicles, aerodynamic flow control, brake disk cooling, infection control in buildings and, more generally, the application of novel design optimisation techniques. I also have an interest in historical fluid dynamics to investigate the performance of early aircraft designs and untested ventilation designs in Victorian hospitals for example. 


  • MEng Aerospace Engineering
  • MSc Computational Fluid Dynamics
  • PhD Vehicle Aerodynamics

Professional memberships

  • CEng, IMechE

Student education

Module leader for Aerospace Flight Mechanics and Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) Analysis

Contributor to Aerodynamics and Aerospace Propulsionand CFD Software which is part of the Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Fluids.

Research groups and institutes

  • Institute for Public Health and Environmental Engineering
  • Institute of Thermofluids