UK honours Kumar Bhattacharyya for key role in British engineering
The Theresa May government has announced two dedicated tributes to continue the legacy of Kumar Bhattacharyya, who long played a pivotal role in British engineering and manufacturing, before his death on March 1 aged 78.
Bhattacharyya, an alumnus of the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur, advised the Tata Group over several decades. He was a member of the House of Lords and the recipient of several awards and honours in India, the UK and elsewhere, including the Padma Bhushan and the British civilian honour of CBE.
Business secretary Greg Clark announced the two tributes (to open from later this year) in the House of Commons on Tuesday, designed to reflect Bhattacharyya’s life and achievements in engineering education, and industry-academia collaboration.
They are: A Bhattacharyya Award for sustained collaboration between universities and industry. The award will be administered by the Royal Academy of Engineering; and a Bhattacharyya Engineering Inclusion Programme in the South West Midlands area.
Clark told MPs: “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 reflects both these important aspects of his work,” Clark added.
Bhattacharyya was the Regius Professor of Manufacturing at Warwick University and fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering. As the founder of WMG he was widely recognised globally for his position as a leading light in the fields of manufacturing, engineering and technology.
Andy Street, mayor of the West Midlands, 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”.
“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”.