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Soundbites: Comments

"May I give the House an opportunity to recognise the enormous contribution [Lord Bhattacharyya] has made to technical education in our country? Through the Warwick Manufacturing Group, he has driven forward the reputation of Warwick University to become one of the best universities in the world. He has also supported, I am glad to say, the university technical college, opened only last month; and he and I will visit it tomorrow. I thank him for his support because Jaguar now wants a second one. His personal contribution in the whole scale of technical education is quite remarkable."

Lord Baker of Dorking, commenting in the House of Lords debate, October 2014


"I founded Warwick Manufacturing Group in 1980. Since then, WMG has grown from a single office hoping to help Britain’s automotive sector innovation into a multi-disciplinary applied research and teaching institution employing hundreds of researchers. In WMG laboratories, you find applied scientists working alongside entrepreneurs and commercial engineers, developing innovations in fields from functional nanomaterials to digital healthcare to advanced battery technology. This work is done with long term industrial partners from global companies like Jaguar Land Rover, TVS, Geely, Bosch and Proton, to small local designers and entrepreneurs. Many of these partnerships have lasted two decades or more, a testament to their commercial value, as we at WMG expect businesses to pay for their research themselves."

Lord Bhattacharyya writing for Policy Network, September 2014


"How can we spread success more widely? First, we must help more businesses invest in Britain for the long term. We are beginning to do this with the UK Business Bank. However, compared to our competitors our help is insignificant. The Business Bank must be greatly expanded. Secondly, we must encourage industry sectors to work together to identify the scientific challenges that will shape global markets, and fund the R&D that will solve them."

Lord Bhattacharyya commenting in the Birmingham Post, January 2014


"The automotive industry in the UK has seen a recent resurgence, but for the UK to remain internationally competitive we must create urgently a critical mass in research excellence. Our vision is to create the National Automotive Innovation Campus where we link people, research and world-leading infrastructure to create and develop novel technologies. NAIC will be an ‘engine’ for economic growth, with wide economic benefit, and sustained growth from the creation of world-leading technologies."

Lord Bhattacharyya on announcement of NAIC agreement, September 2013


"In Britain today...we really want to concentrate on the best. You have to concentrate on R&D. We have competency in this country, we have brilliant engineers. We can be niche."

Lord Bhattacharyya, Financial Times, July 2013


"Last week I attended a seminar at the Royal Society, where scientists, entrepreneurs and business leaders discussed how to bridge the academic-industrial divide to support growth. For the first time the Royal Society has taken on that challenge. There is a real opportunity for growth here, if only we seize it. We should use procurement to stimulate demand and get scale for innovation; push firms to invest in skills, and give tax incentives to smaller firms; use business banks to support innovation investment in sectors and regions with high growth potential for reshoring manufacture and services; and refocus research funding and increase applied technology funding to encourage both inward and domestic investment in innovation. Of course, the obvious question is: how we can pay for such a programme? It is not easy but it could be done."

Lord Bhattacharyya, House of Lords debate on Growth, May 2013


"You have to have a strategic relationship with companies. You should be at the heart of it - you shouldn't be an outpost... That's what growth is. You have to be able to tell companies your idea and let them try it out for themselves. That is really important. That is real technology transfer."

Lord Bhattacharyya interview in The Sunday Times, March 2013


"The automotive industry in the UK has seen a recent resurgence, but for the UK to remain internationally competitive we must create urgently a critical mass in research excellence. Our vision is to create the National Automotive Innovation Campus where we link people, research and world-leading infrastructure to create and develop novel technologies. NAIC will be an ‘engine’ for economic growth, with wide economic benefit, and sustained growth from the creation of world-leading technologies. It will enable academic and industry teams to work together in state of the art buildings, with tailored equipment and digital solutions to create and integrate breakthrough technologies with a whole system approach crossing multiple disciplines."

Lord Bhattacharyya on the announcement of National Automotive Innovation Campus, October 2012


"There are many excellent manufacturing companies creating jobs and hope for our young people across Britain. To help young people get these good jobs, we must improve Britain's vocational education. The University Technology Colleges are a worthy project, which we at Warwick University are supporting with our proposed WMG Academy."

Lord Bhattacharyya from The House magazine, October 2012


"Anyone who gets behind growth should be encouraged. We have to work in a highly competitive, open and global environment. It is a perception that growth will only come from advanced manufacturing but that is not always the case. High- and low-end can often be subjective depending on the sector. So it is not always straight forward."

Lord Bhattacharyya from Insider News, August 2011


"When I meet people overseas they really are bemused by references to advanced manufacturing, and I must admit I share their puzzlement. There is often a perception that the words refer to aerospace, but to me there is only ever manufacturing... If we take Jaguar Land Rover as an example, it spent almost £1bn on research and development, and they compete with manufacturers all the way round the world but should that be called 'low' manufacturing? Would someone suggest that all the drugs created by AstraZeneca are not the product of advanced manufacturing and what about Formula 1 - is that not also advanced? To me, the issue is whether manufacturing is competitive . It doesn't matter which sector companies are in - aerospace, defence, medical technologies or anything - if they can compete with the French, the Germans and with everyone."

Lord Bhattacharyya writing in Midlands Business Insider, April 2011


"To secure access to the world's fastest-growing markets we need partnership with the world's new titans. One of the best ways to do this is to make inward investment more attractive. Overseas investment is needed to build British business. Our current growth in manufacturing is encouraging, but the British economy still suffers from low rates of capital investment, as it has for 50 years. If small manufacturing enterprises are to be the seedbed of innovation, exploitation of their ideas requires investment from larger, generally foreign, firms."

Editorial in House magazine, January 2011


"This region has been dominated by the professional sector but growth doesn't come from there. Across the world growth is being driven by manufacturing. I have just been to Singapore and it is manufacturing that is helping them grow - 22 per cent of its economy is manufacturing and not finance as many might assume. In Germany, it is manufacturing that is getting them out of recession.

Interview in the Birmingham Post, 23 September 2010


"Why do even successful, visionary leaders and companies often get it so badly wrong? Because predicting the future is impossible. But though we cannot predict the future, we can anticipate future challenges. We cannot know what advances in battery technology or carbon capture will be developed in the next decade, but we can ask how we will meet our energy needs and find solutions…So the first duty of a leader is to understand these coming challenges and act on them vigorously."

Speech at the Triennial Conference of Asian Association of Management Organisations and Hong Kong Management Association, 14 September 2010


"We need a change of culture, so I propose the creation of an arm's-length innovation bank to develop technology as a source of wealth creation. If we put together all the different sources of funding from applied science across Government, we could create a £1 billion-a-year applied research fund with no extra funding. We should integrate both funds with other funding, like enterprise capital funds, the higher education innovation fund, launch aid and the regional venture capital funds. This would create an innovation bank, which would encourage entrepreneurs, researchers, business leaders and inward investors to create wealth in Britain. It could be a one-stop shop."

House of Lords debate on Enterprise & Innovation, 04 February 2010


"At WMG’s Digital Lab researchers are using digital technologies to train surgeons via virtual surgery, and to create software that will help combat child obesity. We are working with new technology and media companies to develop “real virtuality” – with applications ranging from serious gaming to architecture and low cost house building. These research programmes are exciting, and the businesses involved in them believe they will grow and expand. Yet we at WMG still feel like the exception, when we should be the norm."

Speech at Insider Spark - Where Education Meets Business event in Birmingham, 22 January 2010


"In manufacturing there is no substitute for producing outstanding products, well-designed and of high reliability, based on a sound understanding of market needs and produced at a price that smart customers find attractive. As the world drags itself out of a recession of unknown severity and uncertain duration, the most important thing will be a recommitment to free markets. Protectionism would mean the world would end up going backwards. When times are tough, manufacturing companies need to be bold. It is a time for innovation, new investment in R&D, effective design, efficient processes and exceptional reliability. From bold innovation will come brilliant technology and spectacularly successful companies that create wealth. Britain has some wonderful manufacturing companies; the problem is not one of quality – but rather of quantity. As we move back to a balanced economy in which manufacturing will play a key role, we must create the right environment in which manufacturing can flourish."

Expert comment on publicservice.co.uk


"We should offer an ‘innovation lottery’ so it is easier for companies to get funding for small-scale research with academic partners. We need a culture change so that knowledge transfer is central to academic life. We must bring manufacturers, researchers and customers together so they can share ideas to improve products…We must bring science and society together and government can play a major part in making that happen."

Lord Bhattacharyya writing in The Engineer, October 2009


"As director of WMG at the University of Warwick, I have long believed that science and technology are central to almost every issue we face as a nation. Over the past decade, science and technology issues have become frontline news, and academic research has increased in prestige. At the same time, the increase in higher education funding has meant expansion, a growth visible in the new buildings we see on every university campus…This increased funding, as well as our growing understanding of the world, means there is hardly any aspect of our national life where scientific research is not making a vital contribution."

House of Lords debate on Science, Engineering and Technology, 04 June 2009


"Innovation entails risk. We should distribute that risk to secure outstanding growth from success, not pursue a bureaucratic, risk-averse approach. If we take these steps, the industry, technical excellence and flexibility of Britain's manufacturers and exporters will lead us to growth sooner than many think. If we are bold, Britain will grow."

House of Lords debate on the Economy, 07 May 2009


"The car industry is facing huge challenges over the next decade, from emissions to safety regulations, and a new generation of high-tech but low-carbon cars will be required. The companies that best meet these global needs will grow as the world emerges from recession. We have a unique tactical opportunity…However short-term advantage must be supported by long-term investment. Investment for the future requires access to capital today. We need a level playing field with our competitors in Europe and the United States."

House of Lords debate on the Automotive Industry, 19 Jan 2009


"Some 400,000 people in the West Midlands depend on manufacturing; maybe the same amount indirectly. If we can just get through the current crisis, backed by the government, then manufacturing in the West Midlands, which is already highly competitive, will be in a very strong position when the upturn comes."

Birmingham Post, 18 November 2008


"This project will become more important as demand for energy becomes one of the defining features of our global environment. Many of these social conflicts are ripples caused by the need for economies to secure their energy future. So if we can find ways of managing demand more effectively the long term consequences will not be just less polluting cars or more efficient factories, but a less dangerous world."

From a speech at IIT Kharagpur when he was awarded the Honorary Doctor of Science, August 2008


According to Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman of this year’s Maxa judging panel, the applicants this year were of higher calibre, even though there were fewer entries received. All of them had exploited the strengths of Singapore, including its integrated economic structure, and the R&D culture. ‘Innovation and change has to be continuous,’ said Prof Bhattacharyya, who is also a professor of manufacturing and director of Warwick Manufacturing Group at the UK’s Warwick University. ‘It has got to be relentless in a world where everybody is chasing the last Singapore dollar to make it world competitive, especially when you are surrounded by countries that are relatively low cost.’

Singapore Business Times, 13 November 2007


"To achieve success in the UK, investment in mass higher education at post-graduate level is critical. There is a strong case for increased skills funding at graduate level to build our capacity for applied research. At the top end of our skills base, the private sector should contribute a greater share. We must encourage companies to invest in solving the most complex technical problems."

House of Lords debate on the UK skills base, 28 June 2007


"I remember the late Lord Butterworth, when I started at Warwick and there were huge cuts in the university sector, giving me a chair and saying, "Get on with it". I was lucky enough to find a vice-chancellor who gave me the freedom to do that. He said, "I will not interfere—get on with it. If it fails, it's your fault, and if you succeed it's our success. I did not mind because I cherished the freedom he gave me. Because of that freedom, we have attracted hundreds of millions of pounds in private funding and produced highly rated research and excellent teaching."

House of Lords debate on Higher Education and the Economy, 19 April 2007


"In the business world, it is no longer possible to imagine a successful business that is not part of the digital economy. The transformation is directly linked to the liberalisation of the global telecoms market. Unbundling has transformed the industry. Competition has driven innovation, cost reduction and new markets. It has been the spark plug for competitiveness in all sectors."

House of Lords debate on Competitiveness, 11 January 2007


"China, which produced less than a million cars at the end of the previous decade, is already producing 3 million cars a year and is well on the way to becoming the world's second largest car manufacturer. That progress means that British companies and governments should not patronise those in the developing world by implying that only we can be at the top of the technology and skills pyramid. Our competitive advantage should involve a fiscal framework to attract and maintain investment. Alongside this, there should be emphasis on both maintaining an expertise in skills and an R&D base, and in building mutually beneficial partnerships with companies in developing countries."

House of Lords debate on the Address, 27 November 2006