Business secretary pays tribute to late Lord Bhattacharyya with new engineering inspired initiatives
The Business Secretary Rt Hon Greg Clark has announced, today, two dedicated tributes to recognise the outstanding achievements and continue the legacy of Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya (CBE FREng FRS).
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, who passed away 1 March 2019, was formerly Regius Professor of Manufacturing, Fellow of the Royal Society and the Royal Academy of Engineering. As the founder of WMG, at the University of Warwick, he was widely recognised globally for his position as a leading light in the fields of manufacturing, engineering and technology.
The reputation of WMG and Lord Bhattacharyya’s status as one of the UK’s foremost experts in manufacturing saw successive administrations call on his expert advice for a range of initiatives, including most recently the Government’s investment in battery technology through the Faraday Challenge.
Business Secretary Greg Clark announced, in the House of Commons, two tributes designed to reflect Lord Bhattacharyya’s life and achievements by championing excellence in engineering education, and industry-academia collaboration. They are:
- A Bhattacharyya Award for sustained collaboration between universities and industry. This Award, administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering, will recognise the types of partnership being championed by the Government’s Industrial Strategy, that bring together academia and industry to tackle challenges across sectors; and
- A Bhattacharyya Engineering Inclusion Programme in the South West Midlands area. This Programme will be a Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) education support programme for schools and FE colleges in the region, providing a range of extra-curricular activities, resources and bursaries to engage and inspire young people to pursue further study and careers in engineering.
Speaking in the House of Commons, Business Secretary Greg Clark said:
“Today I am pleased to announce a tribute to celebrate the contribution Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya has made to the UK, since he came here from India in 1961.
“He founded and led Warwick Manufacturing Group for nearly 40 years. Through his leadership, WMG has developed a global reputation in automotive research, the built environment, digital technology and healthcare systems, built on strong collaborations between academia and industry.
“Successive UK governments have drawn on his advice on manufacturing and technology and built strong lasting collaborative relationships with India and China. Kumar Bhattacharyya also championed high quality technical education so the tribute I am announcing today reflects both these important aspects of his work.”
The University of Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft said:
“These new national awards are both fitting tributes for a remarkable man. Lord Bhattacharyya was the ultimate personification of collaboration between universities and industry, he also had a passion for expanding the number of people undertaking engineering education and ensuring that everyone could access opportunities to do so. To this end he help establish not just one but two WMG Academy schools for students aged 14-19 with an interest in science, technology, engineering and maths. I am sure that these new awards will inspire and reward many more people following his trailblazing path.”
Professor Dave Mullins, Acting Head of WMG added:
“We are delighted that Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been recognised and honoured in this way by the UK Government. He was committed to education and research over a sustained 50-year period and his passion was evident for all to see. He was determined that industry had the skills to innovate and be competitive, working with the UK Government to ensure this started with technical education in schools. Lord Bhattacharyya believed in taking risks and, through collaborative R&D, over the last 40 years WMG has enabled multiple ground breaking products to come to market.”
Dr Hayaatun Sillem, CEO of the Royal Academy of Engineering, said:
“We are delighted to be working with BEIS on a new suite of programmes and awards to celebrate the life of the exceptional engineer Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya. Lord Bhattacharyya was a pivotal figure in UK manufacturing industry while having a long and distinguished career in higher education.
“The new award to promote longstanding industry-university collaboration is a fitting tribute. In addition, the Academy is delighted to be supporting a new engineering inclusion programme for schools and colleges in the West Midlands to encourage children from diverse backgrounds into careers in engineering.
“Lord Bhattacharyya was a passionate advocate of diversity and inclusion and we look forward to working with the Warwick Manufacturing Group, local employers, schools and colleges to create future generations of engineers and technicians for our industries.”
Mayor of the West Midlands, Andy Street, said:
“Lord Bhattacharyya’s contribution to the West Midlands economy was immense, not least in helping to place our region at the cutting edge of next-generation automotive technology.
“We are also benefitting from the strong and lasting links he forged between industry and education, relationships that will help stand us in good stead over the coming years.
“But Kumar was also a friend, colleague and trusted advisor and I can think of no better way of growing his wonderful legacy than with these two new initiatives.”
The Award and the Programme will be opened officially from later this year.
The President of Beijing City University (BCU) Liu Lin held a special memorial event, to celebrate the life of the late Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, on Friday (21 June).
There was a special tree planted in his honour with Lady Bhattacharyya, and Professor David Mullins, Acting Head of WMG both present. David who worked closely with Professor Lord Bhattacharyya for over 20 years, also spoke at the event.
President Liu explained: “We have planted this tree to commemorate the late Lord Bhattacharyya. This tree symbolises the friendship between BCU and WMG, as well as the personal relationship which, like this tree, will last forever.”
Lady Bhattacharyya said: “It’s no exaggeration to say that Kumar loved China. He visited over forty times, beginning in the early 1980s.
“He was intensely proud of his role in the growth of the Chinese economy over three decades, building training and research partnerships with some of China’s most innovative businesses.”
In 2018, Lord Bhattacharyya was recognised by the Chinese government and presented with 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.
He was one of the first recipients globally of the newly introduced R Visas for foreign talents awarded by the Chinese government, and was awarded with a ten-year visa. This follows Professor Lord Bhattacharyya receiving two prestigious awards from China – 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 showed 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.
Speaking at the event Lady Bhattacharyya, said: “It is fitting that today, we honour Kumar by planting a tree - a tree that will take root here in Beijing City University, and grow for years to come, giving life and comfort and shade to future generations, and watching over their progress.
“I hope that this tree will stand as a living reminder of Kumar’s faith in China, his belief in your people, and his hope for a clean, green, healthy, and prosperous future for us all.”
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) hosts a memorial event for Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya
The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) is hosting a special memorial event in honour of Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya and his contributions to Indian industry today (Friday 31 May).
The CII explains: “The unfortunate demise of Lord Bhattacharyya leaves a void in the Indian manufacturing scenario as he was closely associated with manufacturing excellence and leadership over the past several decades. The CII will deeply miss his guidance on this important area for national manufacturing competitiveness.”
Professor David Mullins, Acting Head of WMG, who worked closely with Professor Lord Bhattacharyya for over 20 years, will also be speaking at the event.
It will take place at the YB Chavan Centre in Mumbai from 5.30pm–7.00pm Mumbai time (12pm UK time).
You can watch a special video created by the CII, in honour of Lord Bhattacharyya, here.
Coventry Cathedral hosts family, friends, and leading figures from business, politics, & education in service of thanksgiving for the life of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya
At 11am on Saturday 30th of March 2019, Coventry Cathedral enabled hundreds of people to gather for a special service of thanksgiving for the life of Freeman of the City of Coventry and Founding Chairman of WMG, at the University of Warwick, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya CBE FRS FREng (Born 6th June 1940 – Died 1st March 2019).
The Right Reverend Dr Christopher Cocksworth, the Bishop of Coventry, and Coventry Cathedral Precentor and Sub-Dean the Reverend Canon David Stone welcomed Lady Bridie Bhattacharyya, Lord and Lady Bhattacharyya’s three daughters Anita, Tina and Malini, and the Lord-Lieutenant for the West Midlands and his wife Mrs Diana Crabtree, and Lord and Lady Mayoress of Coventry, as well as the rest of the congregation to the Cathedral.
The Bishop gave the address from the pulpit and the service included a number of touching tributes to the life of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya. These were led by a tribute by Miss Tina Bhattacharyya, on behalf of the family.
- Former Prime Minister, The Right Honourable Gordon Brown
- Councillor Abdul Khan, Deputy Leader of Coventry City Council
- Mr Ratan Tata GBE, Chairman Emeritus of Tata Sons, and Chairman of Tata Trusts. (Ratan Tata and Professor Lord Bhattacharyya were both made Honorary Freemen of the City of Coventry at the same ceremony in 2015).
- Mr Venu Srinivasan, Chairman and Managing Director, TVS Motor Company
- The Right Honourable the Lord Baker of Dorking CH PC, Chairman of the Baker Dearing Educational Trust, and former Home Secretary and Secretary of State for Education
- Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry
- Dr John Ferrie CBE FREng, Member of the Council of the University of Warwick
Later, that same day, the University of Warwick formally unveiled a plinth outside the new £150 million building on the University campus hosting the National Automotive Innovation Centre, which now proudly bears the name “The Prof. Lord Bhattacharyya Building”.
- Lord Bhattacharyya’s family and the University of Warwick would like to thank the Bishop of Coventry, Coventry Cathedral, Coventry City Council, the West Midlands Combined Authority, and National Express West Midlands for their help in arranging the service of thanksgiving.
- There have been a great many tributes made by a wide range of leading figures to the life of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya since his passing on 1st March 2019.
You can see many of those tributes here: https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/chairman/obituary/tributes/ and you can find an obituary published by WMG and the University here https://warwick.ac.uk/fac/sci/wmg/about/chairman/obituary/
- The following charity donation page for the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children has been set up for those who would like to make a contribution in memory of Lord Bhattacharyya: www.justgiving.com/fundraising/professorlordkumarbhattacharyya
- Lord Bhattacharyya served for four decades at Warwick, founding and leading the WMG. To commemorate his life's work, The Professor Lord Bhattacharyya Memorial Fund will create opportunities for young people to thrive, by supporting projects he was passionate about. It will provide funds to enrich the experiences of students at the University of Warwick and the two WMG Academies he was so proud of. In this way, he will continue to play a role in shaping how young people develop the practical and problem solving skills that transform their lives and have a lasting impact on the local and global economy. To contribute to the fund please visit www.warwick.ac.uk/BhattacharyyaFund
Obituary of PROFESSOR LORD KUMAR BHATTACHARYYA Kt, CBE, FRS, FREng, Regius Professor of Manufacturing 6th JUNE 1940 – 1st MARCH 2019
PROFESSOR LORD KUMAR BHATTACHARYYA Kt, CBE, FRS, FREng, Regius Professor of Manufacturing
6th JUNE 1940 – 1st MARCH 2019
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya’s long and highly accomplished career in engineering and manufacturing began with his studies in Mechanical Engineering at the Indian Institute of Technology in Kharagpur. He was awarded his Bachelor of Technology (BTech) degree by Kharagpur in 1960.
In 1961 he came to the UK to serve a six year graduate apprenticeship at Lucas Industries. This was followed by further studies and research at the University of Birmingham earning him a Master of Science (MSc) degree in engineering production and management, followed by a PhD in engineering production in 1970.
Lucas and the University of Birmingham clearly saw something special as he was quickly awarded a Lucas Fellowship at Birmingham. However, his acumen and ability soon became known to a great many other people. This included Lord (then just plain Jack) Butterworth who in 1980 persuaded him to move to the University of Warwick to found and lead what was to become WMG (formerly Warwick Manufacturing Group).
The range of people seeing something special in Kumar was not confined to his professional life, in 1981 he married Brigid Carmel Rabbitt, known to all as Bridie and together they set about restoring their home.
Just a few short years after WMG’s foundation the leadership of the embattled Austin Rover group, at British Leyland, turned to Lord Bhattacharyya and his new team for advice on adapting and innovating automotive design and professional development.
Read more here.
It is with the deepest regret that we report that Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG at the University of Warwick, passed away on Friday 1st March after a short illness. His passing was peaceful and he was with his family, who are in our thoughts and prayers.
Sir David Normington, Chair of Council and Pro-Chancellor of University of Warwick said:
“Long before I joined the University of Warwick Council, I knew of Professor Lord Bhattacharyya as an adviser to successive Prime Ministers and Secretaries of State and a tireless advocate for UK manufacturing industry. Then, as Chair of Council I had the great good fortune to see close up his extraordinary commitment to University of Warwick, to Coventry and the West Midlands and to UK plc.
“He was a force of nature. He pushed at boundaries, he changed lives, he created jobs, and he set the standard for how universities should work with industry. Most of all, for so many of us, he was also a kind and generous friend. We shall miss him terribly but here at Warwick he will remain our inspiration for many years to come.
“We send our love and deep condolences to Bridie and his family.”
Warwick’s Vice-Chancellor Professor Stuart Croft said:
“Professor Lord Bhattacharyya served for four decades at Warwick founding and leading WMG. However his service goes far beyond this University. The achievements of WMG, particularly his own wisdom, passion, and advocacy of the importance of manufacturing, technology, research teaching, and training has helped guide regional, national and international leaders, business figures and policy makers. He has helped preserve and create jobs and transform companies, economies, and individual lives, above all in our region. We mourn the passing of a unique man but we also celebrate all that he has achieved and are thankful that those achievements will have a massive impact for years to come.”
The University will post a longer tribute to his life and achievements in the coming days. Professor Lord Bhattacharyya's life touched so many people who we know will want to show their respects and commemorate his life and achievements. We therefore envisage that there will be a memorial event in due course and we publish the arrangements when they are available.
It was Professor Lord Bhattacharyya’s wish that the University ask Professor David Mullins to become the Acting Head of WMG and he has accepted that role. Professor Mullins said:
“It has been a great honour and privilege to have worked so closely with Professor Lord Bhattacharyya for over 20 years. At this sad time, we are all focused on growing the amazing organisation for research, education and impact that he created for national and international benefit.”
The road running past the Prof. Lord Bhattacharyya Building (the home of the National Automotive Innovation Centre) will now be known as Lord Bhattacharyya Way.
Councillor George Duggins, Leader of Coventry City Council said,
“We wanted to celebrate and honour a man who has done much for Coventry – helping to promote the skills of the city around the world.
“We are proud to be recognising a man who has done the same for business and employment and who not only has an amazing drive, commitment and passion for manufacturing – but also for seeing it succeed in our city.
“So, for a man who has put our city on the road to success, made sure we are heading in the right direction, and kept us streets ahead of the competition – we thought this would be the perfect honour.”
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya delivered a lecture entitled: ‘The mobility revolution: How innovation in automotive energy systems, intelligent vehicles and service customisation will transform how we travel,’ before being presented with a commemorative medal from Professor Roger Owen.
This has led to the exciting new EPSRC Tata Steel Prosperity Partnership flagship investment in long-term use-inspired fundamental research, where Swansea University and WMG come together to create a new ‘virtual factory’ for rapid alloy prototyping.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya began his career as graduate apprentice at Lucas; subsequently gaining an MSc in Engineering Production and Management, and PhD in Engineering Production at the University of Birmingham.
A new multi-million-pound ‘Smart City Mobility Centre', to be established in Warwickshire and the West Midlands was announced last night (Monday 12th November 2018) at the Coventry and Warwickshire Automotive Dinner in Warwickshire’s Coombe Abbey Hotel.
WMG Chairman Professor Lord Bhattacharyya announced that Europe’s first multi-million-pound Smart City Mobility Centre will be based at the University of Warwick’s Wellesbourne campus, with driverless capable vehicle testing on the University of Warwick’s campus in Coventry and Warwickshire.
The Centre brings together WMG’s research expertise and Jaguar Land Rover’s leading research and engineering capabilities.