£1.5m gift creates new Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education role at Warwick Manufacturing Group

Margot James MP and professor Lord Bhattacharyya pictured in 2016
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A private philanthropic gift of £1.5m from a Warwick alumnus has created a new role in Warwick Manufacturing Group, entitled the Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education.

The new role will continue the late Lord Bhattacharyya’s legacy enhancing WMG’s academic expertise in the understanding, development and teaching of engineering and manufacturing internationally.

The late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya passed away on the 1st March 2019, and in order to endure his legacy to global manufacturing and innovation, the new role of Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education will enhance WMG’s exceptional academic expertise in the understanding, development and teaching of engineering and manufacturing.

The Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education will be a senior post and will be a member of the WMG Education Executive, that will drive forward innovations in research-led teaching and scholarship, using the evidence to bring about the changes the late Lord Bhattacharyya wanted to see in the world.

This will include new ways to inspire young people from different backgrounds to pursue Engineering careers through the WMG Academies for Young Engineers, degree apprenticeships, and professional skills programmes, along with an opportunity to explore innovation in the higher education space more widely.

In 2016 WMG – an academic department providing research, education and knowledge transfer in engineering, management, manufacturing and technology – was awarded a Regius Professorship in Manufacturing, which was bestowed by Her Majesty the Queen in recognition of the transformational contributions that Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya made to UK manufacturing.

The new role of Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education will complement the Regius Professorship and celebrate Lord Bhattacharyya’s impact on engineering and manufacturing internationally.

The new post will provide academic leadership at the interface between research and teaching, helping to ensure that WMG’s fundamental and applied research outputs in engineering and manufacturing are placed at the heart of a teaching agenda that promotes and embeds innovation.

Margot James, Executive Chair of WMG, University of Warwick, said: “We are incredibly grateful for such a generous gift from a member of our alumni community, which will enable the new Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education role to ensure that Professor Lord Bhattacharyya’s emphasis on the pursuit of excellence in education is preserved.

“We anticipate that the successful appointee will extend further WMG’s teaching partnerships with industry and our international partners in Asia, enabling us to facilitate high quality and meaningful professional, international and intercultural learning opportunities, that broaden the global perspectives of our students.”

Professor Stuart Croft, Vice Chancellor of the University of Warwick, said: “We are extremely grateful to the alumnus who has gifted such a generous amount despite the financial impact of the pandemic. Donations like this help us stay committed to enhancing and exceeding education standards.

“The new role of Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education at WMG will continue Professor Lord Bhattacharyya’s legacy, and help us thrive in connecting education, research and industry, setting up our graduates for a successful future.”

Professor Robin Clark, Dean of WMG, University of Warwick said: “WMG is an internationally renowned academic department of the University, known for bridging the gap between industry and academia, working with companies and organisations on both fundamental and applied research and importantly the development of education programmes which will provide the skills needed for both the current and future needs of industry.

“The new Lord Bhattacharyya Chair in Education role will help us to further develop the relationship between our teaching and our research. In doing this it will enable us to develop an evidence base on which to create innovative, engaging and authentic learning opportunities for a diverse range of students. This, with strong industry links, is something that we feel Professor Lord Bhattacharyya would be excited about.”

While the generous gift of £1.5m from a Warwick alumnus will establish the post, the University is seeking further philanthropic support to achieve its goal for the Chair. It is hoped the new role will be recruited to in 2022.