Professor Lord Bhattacharyya: The man who knows what’s really happening to UK manufacturing

More than any other individual in a generation Professor Lord Bhattacharyya has fought to arrest manufacturing decline from 30% of GDP in the mid 20th century to its current 10%, from where he is confident it can grow.

He was instrumental in the resurgence of Jaguar Land Rover in 2008, persuading Tata Motors to buy the business. It was the company’s salvation. In March this year Jaguar Land Rover reported record sales of 49,099 vehicles in one month alone.

In 1980 Professor Lord Bhattacharyya founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG), insisting that graduates with engineering skills alone were not going to save Britain’s blushes in global manufacturing, strong management and associated skills were essential to help the sector regain lost ground. WMG now has an annual programme of over £180 million and is a beacon of manufacturing, research & development and business education.

Who is this man who’s done so much for British manufacturing? Kumar Bhattacharyya arrived in England from Dhaka in 1961 with an engineering degree from one of India’s top technological research hubs to work at Lucas Industries, then one of the UK’s biggest engineering companies. The company supported him in achieving first a Masters then a Doctorate.

He started at the University of Warwick at the invitation of,the then Vice-Chancellor, Jack Butterworth and became the first Professor of Manufacturing in the UK. Professor Lord Bhattacharyya was appointed a CBE in 1997 and knighted in 2003. He was made a life peer, in 2004, as Baron Bhattacharyya of Moseley in the County of the West Midlands.

In 2002 the President of India presented him with the Padma Bhushan by for services to Science and Technology. Last year he was elected to the Fellowship of The Royal Society for his contribution to engineering research and education