Professor Lord Bhattacharyya was born in Dhaka and after graduating from the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, one of India's premier technological research institutes, he was invited to become a graduate apprentice at Lucas Industries in the UK. After completing his graduate apprenticeship, he was offered the Lucas Fellowship and entered the University of Birmingham where he attained an MSc in Engineering Production and Management and a PhD in Engineering Production. Before completing his PhD, at Birmingham, he was appointed as a Lecturer and began the process of establishing a manufacturing education programme for industry there.
Chairman and Founder of WMG
In 1980, he was invited by Jack Butterworth, then Vice-Chancellor of the University of Warwick, to start a premier manufacturing, education and research group. He became the first Professor of Manufacturing in the UK. These were the foundations for Warwick Manufacturing Group, which is today known simply as WMG. The Group started small with just an office, the Professor and his secretary; but by working collaboratively with industrial partners, the group rapidly grew.
From being the first manufacturing group in the UK, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has built WMG into the largest manufacturing research and education group in the world. It has a current annual programme of over £180 million which includes industrial and in-kind support. From WMG's inception to the present day, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been a passionate advocate for academic engineering, with WMG being a beacon of manufacturing R&D and business education for 34 years.
Baroness Thatcher former British Prime Minister, who opened WMG, and subsequently visited the Group four times, said “I would also just like to say one word again about Professor Bhattacharyya, because he really has been a true pioneer. His name is now known the world over. It’s marvellous to see industry and academics working more closely together than ever before with a cross fertilisation of new ideas.”
In the House of Lords, Lord Kenneth Baker has recognised Professor Lord Bhattacharyya for "the enormous contribution he has made to technical education in our country".
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya was appointed a CBE in 1997 and knighted in 2003. In 2004, he was made a life peer as Baron Bhattacharyya of Moseley in the County of the West Midlands. In 2014 he was elected to the Fellowship of The Royal Society for his contribution to engineering research and education.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has published extensively in the field of manufacturing and he is an advisor to many companies and organisations around the world. 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.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has been instrumental in many large scale inward investments in the UK, most recently the Tata acquisition of Corus and Jaguar Land Rover. He has been intensively involved in the British automotive industry and is working with Jaguar Land Rover on the development of new technologies and manufacturing processes. One significant development, that Lord Bhattacharyya has cultivated, is the National Automotive Innovation Centre, which will create and develop novel technologies to reduce our dependency on fossil fuels and to reduce CO2 emissions. In addition to other work on the latest advances in automotive technology, it will also develop a stronger supplier base in the UK.
Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has worked in close partnership with India throughout his career. He has worked with Dr Abdul Kalam, the former President of India, since Dr Kalam was Director of India's Defence Research and Development Organisation. For the past 20 years, he has worked with the Confederation of Indian Industry and numerous companies including Tata Motors, Bharat Forge and TVS Motors.
Honours and Awards
A list of some of the presitigious honours and awards that have been presented to Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya in his recent career:
- Honorary Freedom of the City of Coventry: in recognition of his impact on the City of Coventry (2015)
- Lifetime Business Achievement Award: presented by the Coventry Telegraph for contribution and the key role he has played in enhancing the region’s long-standing reputation for research and innovation in the automotive sector (2015)
- Honorary Doctorate: Doctor of Laws awarded by Monash University in Australia in recognition of his work to reinvigorate global manufacturing and advising industry and international governments (2015)
- City of Coventry Award of Merit: For outstanding personal achievement in raising the status of UK engineering and manufacturing and for his service to the promotion of the University of Warwick and the City of Coventry (2014)
- Honorary Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.): Awarded by the Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar, presented by the President of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee (2013)
- Honorary Membership: Awarded by the Society of Manufacturing Engineers for his ability and stature, plus contribution of his substantial skills and talent to accomplish the goals of society (2011)
- Honorary Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.): Awarded by the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur (2008)
- The Duncan Davies Medal: Awarded by The Research and Development Society for outstanding contribution to research and development in the UK (2005)
- Honorary Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.): Awarded by the University of Birmingham (2004)
- Life peerage, UK House of Lords: created Baron Bhattacharyya of Moseley in the County of the West Midlands and entered UK House of Lords (2004)
- The Asian Guild Award: for outstanding contribution to science and technology (2004)
- Honorary Doctor of Business Administration (DBA): Awarded by Hong Kong Polytechnic University (2003)
- Knight Bachelor (KT): Award of Knight Bachelor for services to Higher Education and Industry in the Queen's Birthday Honours (2003)
- Padma Bhushan: Awarded by the President of India for services to Science and Technology (2002)
- Sir Robert Lawrence Award: Awarded by the Chartered Institute for Logistics and Transport for services to Logistics (1999)
- Honorary Fellowship: Awarded by the Chartered Institute for Logistics and Transport (1998)
- Mensforth International Gold Medal: Awarded by the Institution of Electrical Engineers (now Institution of Engineering and Technology) for outstanding international contribution to manufacturing, engineering and management (1998)
- Honorary Doctorate of Science (D.Sc.): Awarded by University of Technology, Malaysia (1997)
- Commander of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (CBE): Awarded CBE for services to Industry and Technology (1997)
- Honorary Professorship: Awarded by the Ministry of Machinery, Beijing, China (1994)
- Honorary Professorship: Awarded by University of Technology, Malaysia (1993)
- Honorary Professorship: Awarded by Hong Kong Polytechnic University (1992)
- Doctor of the University (D.Univ.): Awarded by the University of Surrey (1992)
- Fellow of the Royal Society (FRS): For his contribution to engineering research and education (2014)
- Fellow of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers - IMechE (2005)
- Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (2004)
- Member of the International Academy of Technological Cybernetics (2003)
- Fellow, National Academy of Engineering (India) (1999)
- Fellow, World Academy of Productivity Sciences (1999)
- Founding Honorary Fellow, Institute of Logistics (1996)
- Companion of the Chartered Management Institute (1996)
- Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering (1991)
- Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (1975)
- Member of Advisory Group to Nurse Review of UK Research Councils
- Past Chair of the Indo-British Science and Technology Partnership Committee
- Past Chair of UK Manufacturing Excellence Awards
- Past Member of Council for Science and Technology, advising UK Prime Minister (1993-2003)
- Past Member for National Consumer Council (1990-1993)
- Past Member of UK Committee for Investment and Competitiveness
- Past Member of Trade Partners UK and India Adviser, Department of Trade and Industry
- Past Member of Education and Training Exports Group, Department for Education and Skills
- Past Member of Board of the West Midlands Development Agency and Innovation and Technology Council
- Past Member of West Midlands Committee of the Further Education Funding Council
- Past Member of Policy Advisory Council, Institute of Public Policy Research
- Past Advisor to Prime Minister of India on matters of industrial policy
- Past Advisor to Prime Minister of Malaysia on matters of technology policy and past member of Business and Technology Advisory Committee
- Past Advisor to Government of South Africa on matters of science and technology
- Member of Advisory Committee, National University of Singapore
- Member of Scientific Advisory Board for the Singapore Institute of Manufacturing Technology
- Past Chair of Singapore's MAXA manufacturing excellence awards and of the International Review Panel for Singapore's A*STAR research institutes