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Our Chairman - Expertise

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Expertise

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya is a passionate advocate for manufacturing. He has advised the UK government on manufacturing, innovation and technology, including former Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and Tony Blair. He also served as scientific adviser to the South African government for eight years, as well as being an advisor to many companies and organisations around the world.

Manufacturing

Starting his career as a graduate apprentice at Lucas Industries, Lord Bhattacharyya became Britain's first ever Professor of Manufacturing. Having seen first-hand how slowly academic advances were translated into real business and social change, he founded WMG in 1980 to help business innovate and help university researchers change our lives. He introduced digital manufacturing in the 1980’s, with CAD/CAM technologies, and today WMG continues to be at the forefront of innovative technologies. It is one of the world’s top applied research centres, with a reputation for academic excellence and business results spanning the globe.

Latest News
Research universities 'should lead on higher apprenticeships'

Times Higher Education
11 March 2015

Leading universities should work with employers to develop apprenticeships linked to cutting-edge research which would drive economic growth in high-skilled industries such as aerospace, nuclear energy and automotive manufacturing. According to the report published on 11 March, “The Future of Higher Vocational Education”, this would entail a rethinking of leading universities’ admissions criteria, to recognise the potential of students holding BTEC qualifications. It would also necessitate a change in teaching methods, with an emphasis on lab-based teaching, mentoring, projects and work placements.

Read this article>>

All Speeches
Steel Industry - question and debate

House of Lords

25 April 2017

When I started my engineering career back in the 1960s, British Steel was respected around the globe. From Bessemer’s processes to Goodeve’s BISRA stainless steel, Britain was the home of global steel innovation.​

However, no other nation has treated its steel industry the way that we have since. We did not just throw the baby out with the bath-water, we threw away the bath, the taps, the pipes and sewers. First, we had three decades of contradictory, inconsistent and underfinanced industrial strategies, then three decades of no strategy at all. That left us exposed so that the steel crisis hurt British producers more than our competitors. It is a global crisis. There are over 200 anti-dumping measures listed at the WTO against one country alone. We are at 30% global overcapacity and flat demand, yet steel capacity is increasing by more than 5% a year.

Read the full debate

Recent Visits
Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer visit WMG

The University of Warwick was pleased to welcome the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, to the University to visit WMG. As part of their IMC tour the Prime Minister and Chancellor were shown one of the world’s most adaptable and advanced driving simulators, the 3xD Simulator.

The 3xD Simulator is the only of its kind designed specifically to test real-world robustness and usability of smart, connected and autonomous vehicle technology and it will be the centre piece of the Virtual Reality Centre in the National Automotive Innovation Centre.

More information>>

Innovative Research

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya began WMG’s research programme to improve automotive manufacturing, by applying advanced research on engines and materials to real world challenges.

Today, our research spans many sectors and areas of expertise including digital healthcare, cybersecurity, nano-materials, steels, but our focus remains on making a difference in the world.

Latest News
Chairman of Tata Sons visits WMG

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya welcomed Mr Chandrasekaran, Chairman of Tata Sons to WMG, at the University of Warwick, on Saturday 16th September.

Mr Chandrasekaran was very interested to see for himself some of the projects that WMG and Tata companies are collaborating on, and to understand the breadth and depth of WMG’s research, education and technology transfer activities.

To bring these to life, he was given a tour of WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre, which is going through significant expansion, and will see WMG to continue to provide a unique facility for industry and academia to develop innovative energy storage technology. Mr Chandrasekaran also visited the Advanced Steels Research Centre and the International Manufacturing Centre where the focus was on light weighting, metrology and intelligent vehicles. As well as hearing from the Institute of Digital Healthcare.

Mr Chandrasekaran was keen to see the significant investment in automotive research, at WMG, and along with Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, had a tour of the National Automotive Innovation Centre and was delighted to see the progress in its construction. The Centre, which is a long-term commitment between Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, WMG and the University of Warwick, is a unique resource and the first of its kind in Europe, providing an environment to foster collaboration, cohesion and sharing knowledge, combining automotive expertise nationally and internationally.

All Speeches
Science and Innovation Strategy - Question for Short Debate

House of Lords

23 October 2017

WMG has a strong record of industry innovation partnerships going back many years. It was set up by the then Prime Minister, Mrs Thatcher. We will be the home of the National Automotive Innovation Centre, which will, in the end, have a funding of just over £1 billion, entirely from the private sector, at a British university. We are delighted to be part of the recently announced Faraday Institution. Getting that sort of funding comes only with delivering impact.

It is very welcome that, for the first time in several decades, “industrial strategy” is no longer an anathema. I remember speaking in the debates here that created the Technology Strategy Board, now Innovate UK. It was a hard slog. The current welcome shift in attitude to industry was spurred on by the Prime Minister’s first speech outside Downing Street. The Business Secretary, Greg Clark, has done an excellent job of focusing the industrial strategy on the pillars of future growth. On top of that, the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council’s focus on impact, the Nurse review and the inclusion of Innovate UK within UK Research and Innovation have helped move the agenda forward. I fought very hard to get UKRI and Innovate UK together because I thought that was the best way for us to have technology transfer.

Read the full debate

Recent Visits
Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer visit WMG

The University of Warwick was pleased to welcome the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, to the University to visit WMG. As part of their IMC tour the Prime Minister and Chancellor were shown one of the world’s most adaptable and advanced driving simulators, the 3xD Simulator.

The 3xD Simulator is the only of its kind designed specifically to test real-world robustness and usability of smart, connected and autonomous vehicle technology and it will be the centre piece of the Virtual Reality Centre in the National Automotive Innovation Centre.

More information>>

Industrial Strategy

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been an advocate of an advanced industrial strategy since founding WMG, in 1980. In both the UK and overseas, governments have sought his advice on how to implement a successful strategy for industrial growth.

Latest News
Delivering on a national industrial strategy

The Engineer
13 September 2016

A minute into the interview with Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, it is evident that he believes Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is not the Armageddon for engineering and industry that many people feared.

The chair and founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) speaks with the near blasé assuredness of someone who has witnessed huge change in Britain and who is focused on goals that are even more long term than our membership of a supranational bloc. “The world is much bigger today. How do we explore other markets? India is one of the biggest investors in the world. There is a lot of love for the UK in India,” said the eminent engineer and pro-Remainer. “You have to get on with it. I am a pragmatist,” he added, pointing out that EU competition laws have complicated and delayed decisions by some multinationals to invest in Britain.

Read the full article>>

All Speeches
Industrial Strategy - Debte

House of Lords

8th January 2018

In our previous debate on the industrial strategy, the noble Lord, Lord Hennessy, pointed out that this is the eighth attempt at an industrial strategy since the war—I think that somebody else said that it was the ninth. The sheer number of strategies shows the disconnect between them and demonstrates the core problem of Britain’s approach to industrial policy. We focus on the short term and not the long view. We do not review success, revise targets or refine our approach. We just rip it up and start again from scratch a few years later.

The consequences can be disastrous. We have had many White Papers on skills—just to give one example—but there has been no consistency in implementation and no stability in institutions. We have gone from levy to grant to levy, from training boards to skills councils and back. These changes have often been confusing and chaotic. It is no surprise then that we have a near-permanent skills crisis. With all the money that has been spent on it during the past 20 years, nothing has happened.

Read the full debate

Recent Visits
Secretary of State views work to complete £150 million Centre that will help deliver UK Industrial Strategy

The Rt Hon Greg Clark MP, the Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, visited WMG, at the University of Warwick, on Friday 20th January 2017, taking up an invitation to see for himself the work underway to complete the new £150 million National Automotive Innovation Centre on the University Campus. He also saw the work expanding WMG’s Energy Innovation Centre which provides a one-stop-shop for the development of new battery chemistries to create advanced batteries for the automotive sector.

The National Automotive Innovation Centre is a unique automotive research centre, and the largest facility of its kind in Europe. It will provide high technology automotive manufacturing research that will be of significant benefit in the delivery of the key manufacturing component of the UK’s Industrial Strategy.

Shaping Policy

In the UK, former Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher praised Professor Lord Bhattacharyya as a "true pioneer" whose advice was sought around the world. Another former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said his combination of industrial partnership with academic excellence was an "outstanding example" to follow, while Rt Hon Vince Cable MP said his work was "helping the UK become a world leader in innovation by bringing together top research and business partnerships." Overseas, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has advised governments from South Africa to Singapore on modern manufacturing policy.

Latest News
Delivering on a national industrial strategy

The Engineer
13 September 2016

A minute into the interview with Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, it is evident that he believes Britain’s decision to leave the European Union is not the Armageddon for engineering and industry that many people feared.

The chair and founder of Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) speaks with the near blasé assuredness of someone who has witnessed huge change in Britain and who is focused on goals that are even more long term than our membership of a supranational bloc. “The world is much bigger today. How do we explore other markets? India is one of the biggest investors in the world. There is a lot of love for the UK in India,” said the eminent engineer and pro-Remainer. “You have to get on with it. I am a pragmatist,” he added, pointing out that EU competition laws have complicated and delayed decisions by some multinationals to invest in Britain.

Read the full article>>

All Speeches
Adult Skills and Lifelong Learning - Debate

Both the Budget last week and today’s Industrial Strategy White Paper underline the importance of skills and lifelong learning to British economic success. However, the White Paper’s stress on the importance of adult skills and lifelong learning is not new. After all, we are nearing the centenary of the Ministry of Reconstruction’s 1919 report on adult education, which led to local authorities being given responsibility for adult education. Indeed, as Winston Churchill said in 1954:

“There is perhaps no branch of our vast educational system which should more attract within its particular sphere the aid and encouragement of the State than adult education”.

More recently, we have had the Moser report, which led to Skills for Life, and the Leitch report, which led to Train to Gain.

To deliver these strategies, we have had a dazzling array of bodies: the Manpower Services Commission, the training and enterprise councils, the Learning and Skills Council, the Skills Funding Agency, and the Learning and Skills Network. Yet despite the reports, the commissions, the councils, the agencies and the networks, the core issues remain. Work by the LSE’s Centre for Vocational Education Research shows that the percentage of adult employees in learning or training has been falling since the millennium. Of those in learning or training, there is a rise in the numbers doing short courses and a fall in the share working towards a qualification.

The truth is that far too few adults at work are getting a good education or earning a widely recognised qualification that will strengthen their long-term career prospects. At the same time, technological change is transforming the world of work. No one wants their parents’ autonomous car or their internet-enabled medical devices to be insecure or wrongly updated because of poor skills. In autonomous vehicles alone—we design a lot at WMG—the scale of reskilling needed is enormous, whether in car design, highway maintenance, manufacturing, dealers, commercial transport or regulators. Learning new skills and reskilling workers in sectors that are being transformed by new technologies is increasingly essential.

To be fair, recent Governments, whether Labour, coalition or Conservative, have followed Churchill’s advice and recognised that adult skills are a priority. The White Paper on industrial strategy shows the beginnings of a non-partisan approach to the issue, although it might not look that way from the Front Bench. You can always tell when there is a cross-party consensus: the Opposition accuse the Government of recycling old ideas. The industrial strategy deserves a broad, if restrained, welcome for its approach to adult skills. One of the most pleasing signs of this in the White Paper is the recognition that the TUC and the CBI both need to be involved in the national retraining partnership. Similarly, I am happy that Unionlearn was extended. It is an excellent programme.

At WMG we offer levels 1 to 3 only to students up to 18 at our Academy for Young Engineers, which we run under the auspices of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust. The majority of these students either go to university or become apprentices. At WMG itself, we offer courses at levels 4, 5, 6 and above. By the end of the decade we will have more than 1,000 apprentices at any particular time. Skills programmes such as the ones we run today work well for larger employers which can afford to think for the long term—but what about the backbone of the economy, the small and medium-sized firms?

All our 1,000 apprentices are paid for, fully, by the companies. They also pay the university to get their degrees. Only one in 10 SMEs offers apprenticeships. The proportion offering higher and advanced apprenticeships is even lower. Business has to put its hand in its pocket to change this. Big business especially has to do more to help its suppliers and its sector. When I was an apprentice, more apprentices were trained by the company so that some of them could go to the suppliers and the smaller sectors. There is no point in businesses crying about the lack of proper technical education if they are not prepared to invest in their sector’s success.

Read the full debate

Recent Visits
Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer visit WMG

The University of Warwick was pleased to welcome the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, to the University to visit WMG. As part of their IMC tour the Prime Minister and Chancellor were shown one of the world’s most adaptable and advanced driving simulators, the 3xD Simulator.

The 3xD Simulator is the only of its kind designed specifically to test real-world robustness and usability of smart, connected and autonomous vehicle technology and it will be the centre piece of the Virtual Reality Centre in the National Automotive Innovation Centre.

More information>>

Skills and Lifelong Learning

Education doesn't start at university, and shouldn't end at graduation

From pioneering modular degrees in the early 1980s, so employees in the automotive sector could develop their skills while advancing their careers to opening two University Technical Colleges for teenagers to pursue a career in engineering, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been a passionate advocate of engineering and management education.

As Former Education Secretary Lord Baker has said, his work has "driven forward the reputation of Warwick University to become one of the best universities in the world... His personal contribution in the whole scale of technical education is quite remarkable."

Latest News
WMG welcomes Professor Sir Mark Walport

WMG was delighted to welcome today, accompanied by Dr Rupert Lewis, Director of the Government Office for Science.

Sir Mark had the opportunity to discuss science, engineering and wealth creation innovations from WMG and how WMG works side-by-side with industry to enable the creation and delivery of innovative new products, processes and services. After meeting with Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, he undertook a tour of WMG’s world-class research facilities, including the International Manufacturing Centre and the Energy Innovation Centre.

He learned more about the work in Intelligent Vehicles, including our state-of-the-art ‘3xD Inside the 3xD Simulator for Intelligent Vehicles Simulator for Intelligent Vehicles’ and our work with local partner RDM to explore and evaluate driverless pods. As well as seeing the expansion of our Energy Innovation Centre with our electric vehicle research; and showing how digital healthcare and cyber security research are translating fundamental scientific research at WMG into implementation in industry, healthcare and the service sector.

Commenting on the visit, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya said: “It was a great pleasure to be able to show Sir Mark the impact that WMG’s research has on industry, and society, so he could see first-hand the research projects we are working on.”

All Speeches
Adult Skills and Lifelong Learning - Debate

Both the Budget last week and today’s Industrial Strategy White Paper underline the importance of skills and lifelong learning to British economic success. However, the White Paper’s stress on the importance of adult skills and lifelong learning is not new. After all, we are nearing the centenary of the Ministry of Reconstruction’s 1919 report on adult education, which led to local authorities being given responsibility for adult education. Indeed, as Winston Churchill said in 1954:

“There is perhaps no branch of our vast educational system which should more attract within its particular sphere the aid and encouragement of the State than adult education”.

More recently, we have had the Moser report, which led to Skills for Life, and the Leitch report, which led to Train to Gain.

To deliver these strategies, we have had a dazzling array of bodies: the Manpower Services Commission, the training and enterprise councils, the Learning and Skills Council, the Skills Funding Agency, and the Learning and Skills Network. Yet despite the reports, the commissions, the councils, the agencies and the networks, the core issues remain. Work by the LSE’s Centre for Vocational Education Research shows that the percentage of adult employees in learning or training has been falling since the millennium. Of those in learning or training, there is a rise in the numbers doing short courses and a fall in the share working towards a qualification.

The truth is that far too few adults at work are getting a good education or earning a widely recognised qualification that will strengthen their long-term career prospects. At the same time, technological change is transforming the world of work. No one wants their parents’ autonomous car or their internet-enabled medical devices to be insecure or wrongly updated because of poor skills. In autonomous vehicles alone—we design a lot at WMG—the scale of reskilling needed is enormous, whether in car design, highway maintenance, manufacturing, dealers, commercial transport or regulators. Learning new skills and reskilling workers in sectors that are being transformed by new technologies is increasingly essential.

To be fair, recent Governments, whether Labour, coalition or Conservative, have followed Churchill’s advice and recognised that adult skills are a priority. The White Paper on industrial strategy shows the beginnings of a non-partisan approach to the issue, although it might not look that way from the Front Bench. You can always tell when there is a cross-party consensus: the Opposition accuse the Government of recycling old ideas. The industrial strategy deserves a broad, if restrained, welcome for its approach to adult skills. One of the most pleasing signs of this in the White Paper is the recognition that the TUC and the CBI both need to be involved in the national retraining partnership. Similarly, I am happy that Unionlearn was extended. It is an excellent programme.

At WMG we offer levels 1 to 3 only to students up to 18 at our Academy for Young Engineers, which we run under the auspices of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust. The majority of these students either go to university or become apprentices. At WMG itself, we offer courses at levels 4, 5, 6 and above. By the end of the decade we will have more than 1,000 apprentices at any particular time. Skills programmes such as the ones we run today work well for larger employers which can afford to think for the long term—but what about the backbone of the economy, the small and medium-sized firms?

All our 1,000 apprentices are paid for, fully, by the companies. They also pay the university to get their degrees. Only one in 10 SMEs offers apprenticeships. The proportion offering higher and advanced apprenticeships is even lower. Business has to put its hand in its pocket to change this. Big business especially has to do more to help its suppliers and its sector. When I was an apprentice, more apprentices were trained by the company so that some of them could go to the suppliers and the smaller sectors. There is no point in businesses crying about the lack of proper technical education if they are not prepared to invest in their sector’s success.

Read the full debate

Recent Visits
Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer visit WMG

The University of Warwick was pleased to welcome the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, to the University to visit WMG. As part of their IMC tour the Prime Minister and Chancellor were shown one of the world’s most adaptable and advanced driving simulators, the 3xD Simulator.

The 3xD Simulator is the only of its kind designed specifically to test real-world robustness and usability of smart, connected and autonomous vehicle technology and it will be the centre piece of the Virtual Reality Centre in the National Automotive Innovation Centre.

More information>>

Impact through Partnerships

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya began WMG to develop and implement innovations that have a real impact on people’s lives. To ensure that all our work makes a difference, he insists that every project has a partner working with our researchers and students.

From governments and global businesses to local start-ups, our partners have seen the benefits of this approach, and many have worked with us since the start in 1980’s.

Latest News
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya recognised by China

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman and founder of WMG, at the University of Warwick, has been honoured by the presentation of a China Talent Visa (R), in recognition of his high-level expertise in manufacturing and inward investment and sustained interaction with the People’s Republic of China.

The China Talent Visa (R) was presented to Professor Lord Bhattacharyya by the Chinese Ambassador to the UK, His Excellency, Ambassador Liu Xiaoming, in a special ceremony at the Chinese Embassy in London on Tuesday 3rd April.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya is one of the first recipients globally of the newly introduced R Visas for foreign talents awarded by the Chinese government. He has been awarded a ten-year visa.. This follows Professor Lord Bhattacharyya receiving two prestigious awards from China, in 2017, – the Great Wall Friendship Award, from Beijing Municipal Government, and the Chinese Government Friendship Award, the premier national award, presented by the Vice-Premier at a special ceremony in Beijing on the occasion of the National Day.

The Chinese government, with this visa, has shown its sincerity towards global talent. It is awarded to foreign high-level personnel, and much-needed highly talented people, whose skills are in urgent demand to help the development of the economy and society of China.

Beijing City University made the application to the Beijing State Administration of Foreign Experts Affairs and the SAFEA London office gave valuable assistance in making all the arrangements with the Embassy.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya said “I am honoured to have been recognised by the Chinese government, again, for the contribution that they feel that I can continue to make to the development of China.”

His Excellency Ambassador Liu Xiaoming said “This is a great day and I am honoured to be presenting you with this Visa today. It is important for the Chinese government to forge relationships with British scientists and reflects our commitment to innovation. I appreciate your contribution to promoting collaboration in China and look forward to more years of development.”

All Speeches
International Trade Opportunities

House of Lords
07 July 2016

A strategy on its own is not enough. Attention to detail and sustained commitment are the keys to success. We must continue to push business and academia to look outward. We have to reach out to create new global partners and stand beside them in the tough times as well as the good. This matters because trade is not simply the purchase of goods but the building of relationships. So all industrial policies need to be built on a dialogue between British industry and the world. Most of all, we need to develop a mindset of competitiveness, to which the Government should always respond.

Read the full debate>>

Recent Visits
Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer visit WMG

The University of Warwick was pleased to welcome the Prime Minister, Theresa May MP, and the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Philip Hammond MP, to the University to visit WMG. As part of their IMC tour the Prime Minister and Chancellor were shown one of the world’s most adaptable and advanced driving simulators, the 3xD Simulator.

The 3xD Simulator is the only of its kind designed specifically to test real-world robustness and usability of smart, connected and autonomous vehicle technology and it will be the centre piece of the Virtual Reality Centre in the National Automotive Innovation Centre.

More information>>