Dr. Achyuta Samanta, Hon’ble Member of Parliament (Rajya Sabha), Founder of Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) & Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KIIS) deepened the educational links between Indian & British Universities during his visit to Warwick Manufacturing Group on May 22, 2018. Consulate General of India, Birmingham facilitated this interaction with support from Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, Founder & Chairman of Warwick Manufacturing Group. Lord Bhattacharyya cordially greeted Dr. Samanta, Hon’ble MP, Consul General of India, Birmingham, Dr. Aman Puri, Dr. Debanjan Chakrabarti, Director East & Northeast India, British Council & Mr. Vikramaditya from KIIT & KISS Group of Institutions.
The event commenced with a presentation by Lord Bhattacharyya at the board room of the prestigious International Manufacturing centre of WMG. In the presentation, Lord Bhattacharyya pictured how WMG has grown and has become one of the world’s top applied research centres, with a reputation for academic excellence and business results spanning the globe. Over 550 employees are part of this dynamic academic department of the University of Warwick. Working across the globe, it constitutes of seven research and education centres on the Warwick campus, with three more under development & delivering education programmes in seven countries, and collaborating globally on research and development. WMG is now a unique academic institution, which is now the manufacturing department of the University of Warwick (ranked 7th in the league table of UK universities and 51st internationally) It has collaborations with over 500 global organisations and 450 local small companies and over 2,200 post graduate and 250 doctoral students. With an impressive 2,200 Master’s students and 250 Doctoral students forging strong relationships with over 1,000 global companies. WMG also supports 1,800 SMEs through dedicated programmes. To date, over 35,000 students have studied with WMG, from 75 countries. Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya’s presentation also included his key contributions behind the Tata’s acquisition of Jaguar-Land Rover
This was followed by a tour of International Manufacturing Centre which is WMG’s largest building occupying 7,000m2 on the University of Warwick campus. The IMC’s impressive Engineering Hall showcases some of WMG’s cutting edge research and a team of expert technicians and engineers work with the students and business partners on projects and demonstrators. A variety of projects, which have been undertaken with global companies to develop new products or improve processes, are represented highlighting capabilities in materials, manufacturing and digital technologies. There are dedicated areas for laser welding, joining, metal processing, high strain rate testing, additive layer manufacturing, injection moulding and other machining. There are also sections dedicated to student engineering projects.
The delegates were informed about WMG’s first purpose-built facility, opened in 1986 by Prime Minister, Margaret Thatcher. Originally named the Advanced Technology Centre, IARC was established by Professor Lord Bhattacharyya with the vision of creating a dedicated facility that would be an integral part of WMG’s philosophy of working closely with industry. The Energy Innovation Centre in IARC is the home of WMG’s new Energy Innovation Centre. Co-funded by Government and industry, the £13 million centre will capitalise on the growing electric and hybrid vehicle battery market, which has been estimated to be worth £250 million for the UK by 2020. The combined facilities will provide a one-stop shop for battery characterisation plus abuse testing and an electric and hybrid drive test facility. The Centre will build on the UK’s world class research base in electrochemistry. It will focus on the development of a new generation of high performance batteries designed to be more economic and stable, yet boast higher energy density levels than those currently available on the market.
The tour continued to The National Automotive Innovation Centre which provides a critical mass of research capability combining automotive expertise nationally and internationally. NAIC will be a unique resource, with an environment to foster collaboration, cohesion and cross-fertilisation of knowledge. NAIC will address the shortage of skilled R&D staff across the automotive supply chain, developing the talent required for the demands of emerging technologies and engaging future generations of engineers. £150 million is being invested in the NAIC capital building and its research activities through a long-term commitment between Jaguar Land Rover, Tata Motors European Technical Centre, WMG and the University of Warwick, along with an expanding network of supplier companies. The government (Higher Education Funding Council England) has also provided £15 million of funding to support the capital project. The facilities at the centre included state-of-the-art equipment.
Dr. Achyuta Samanta inspired and motivated the attendees by his speech. In his address, he spoke about his institutions & the importance of education in life. He emphasized that only through education, inclusive and sustainable growth can be achieved in a country’s economy. He mentioned that his institutions imparts education to upwards of 50,000 students and provides direct employment to 10,000 individuals, and have created over 100,000 indirect employment opportunities. The Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences also happens to be the largest residential tribal institute on the planet which provides free education/ boarding & lodging and living for 27,000 students. He added that the institutions have created more than 100 successful entrepreneurs across the country. He thanked both Lord Bhattacharyya and Dr. Puri for arranging such a platform for him to share his experiences and struggle.
Lord Bhattacharyya lauded the efforts and struggles of Dr. Samanta. He addressed him as a ‘Holy Man’ and said that his philanthropic deeds are commendable. He assured him full assistance for any of his good deeds. He also added that the achievements of his Institutes speak for themselves; rising from a strength of 20 students to above 50,000. He also mentioned about the various ongoing developments in the field of science, technology. He said that these kind of bilateral visit will further foster the multifaceted relationship between Indian & British Universities.
Dr. Aman Puri, Consul General of India, Birmingham, expressed his sincere gratitude to Lord Bhattacharyya for hosting the event at the prestigious Institute. He acknowledged Dr. Samanta for his time, and appreciated his contributions to the society. Dr. Puri said that during 2010 around 40,000 Indian students came annually to study in the United Kingdom. Today, the number is less than 20,000. According to one study, Britain is likely to face a shortage of 100,000 engineers by the year 2020. Most industry experts believe that this shortage will affect sectors across the British economy, and could be the single most important challenge, as Britain tries to maintain its leadership role as an innovation driven economy’’. He also added that in the next few decades, India is likely to be the single most important source of skilled manpower for the world. Britain needs to continue attracting the brightest and the best from all countries, including from India, to retain its competitive edge.
Dr. Puri also acknowledged Lord Bhattacharyya’s contributions in supporting Indian companies towards Research & Development. He mentioned how Lord Bhattacharyya played a crucial role in the acquisition of JLR by Tata Motors in 2008. JLR was turned around in a matter of 2 years, thereby saving thousands of jobs in the UK. This also made TATA’s, which is India’s largest conglomerate, as the single largest employer in the UK, in the manufacturing sector. This was the most outstanding and shining example of UK-India Economic partnership. Today a total of 700 JLR & TATA Motors personnel work with WMG doing critical research & Development.
Prof. Nathu Puri, owner Purico Group, Gurpreet Bhatia, Deputy Lord Lieutenant, Cllr. Rajash Mehta, Mayor of Telford, Paul Sabapathy, Former Lord Lieutenant, Dame Asha Khemka OBE DBE, Principle and Chief Executive, West Nottinghamshire College, Mr. Parmjit Chima, Head of Engineering, Harper Adams University, Dr. Bimal Arora, Assistant Professor, Aston Business School were among the attended dignitaries. The networking reception received enthusiastic participation from representatives of the business community, academicians, well established alumni of reputed universities, business school students and other interested stakeholders.