Rafael came to Michigan with a Fulbright scholarship from his home country, Spain, which covered his master’s studies. However, his primary interest was in pursuing doctoral research. Being awarded an FXB fellowship in his second year at Michigan allowed him to realize that dream. He then joined the Active Aeroelasticity and Structures Research Lab and worked on computational tools for aeroelastic simulation of very flexible wings. That work was awarded with the AIAA Foundation Orville and Wilbur Wright Graduate Award, which was the first time it was given to a Michigan graduate.
Since 2007, he has been a faculty member at Imperial College, where he has built a successful aeroelasticity research group. He has supervised over 20 PhD students, worked and published with colleagues from Germany, Spain, Japan, Switzerland, China, and the US, and taught hundreds of highly talented students from around the world. He is now a fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society and Associate Fellow of the AIAA and will always be grateful to the FXB Foundation for enabling this.