Kumar Bhattacharyya, Baron Bhattacharyya Biography

Kumar Bhattacharyya, an Indian British engineer, was a visionary who founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) at the University of Warwick. With a focus on engineering, manufacturing, and technology, WMG has become a leading academic department providing research, education, and knowledge transfer. Recognized for his contributions, Bhattacharyya was appointed as a life peer in 2004 and served as chairman of WMG until his passing. Born in Dhaka, British-India, he displayed exceptional intelligence and academic prowess from a young age. After pursuing higher education in India, he ventured to Britain and began his career with Lucas Industries, a key supplier to the British car and aerospace industries. Inspired by the dynamic business environment, Bhattacharyya completed his doctorate and became a lecturer. It was during his tenure at the University of Warwick that he established the Warwick Manufacturing Group, with the support of Vice-Chancellor Jack Butterworth. In addition to his academic achievements, Bhattacharyya also served as a government adviser and held a position in the House of Lords as a member of the Labour benches.

Quick Facts

  • British Celebrities Born In June
  • Also Known As: Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharyya, Baron Bhattacharyya, The Lord Bhattacharyya
  • Died At Age: 78
  • Born Country: England
  • Philanthropists
  • Educators
  • Died on: March 1, 2019
  • Place of death: Birmingham, United Kingdom
  • City: Dhaka, Bangladesh
  • More Facts
  • Education: University of Birmingham

Childhood & Early Life

Kumar Bhattacharyya, Baron Bhattacharyya, was born as Sushanta Kumar Bhattacharyya on 6 June 1940 in Dhaka, which was then part of British-India. His father was a professor of Chemistry at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur. Bhattacharyya excelled in academics and enrolled at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kharagpur to study Mechanical Engineering. After graduation, he got an opportunity to become a graduate apprentice at Lucas Industries in the UK. Thus, he moved to Britain in 1961.


Bhattacharyya worked as a graduate apprentice at Lucas Industries for the next six years. Lucas Industries was a family business that had been founded in 19th century Birmingham and was the main supplier of parts to the British car and aerospace industries. Bhattacharyya proved to be a fast learner and displayed a natural flair for business management. Upon the completion of his apprenticeship, he was offered the Lucas Fellowship and entered the University of Birmingham, where he earned an MSc in Engineering Production and Management and a PhD in Engineering Production. He was appointed as a Lecturer even before he completed his PhD at Birmingham.

He moved to the University of Warwick in 1980, where he became Professor of Manufacturing Systems. Bhattacharya had plans for establishing a manufacturing education program for industry, which received the support of the Vice-Chancellor, Jack Butterworth. Thus, he founded the Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) in 1980 with the aim of supporting the reinvigoration of UK manufacturing through research and knowledge transfer. The group first launched a part-time master’s degree for senior industry staff, with modules taught at a purpose-built residential center. The course was initially criticized by academics, though it became popular with the industry, and soon many companies were sending their staff to WMG to attend this course. Bhattacharyya also decided to provide industry-related research services, and thus, a center where academics could collaborate with industrialists for research purposes was opened in January 1990. This center was a success and led WMG to expand into other areas like construction, mining, and information and technology.

Awards & Achievements

In 1997, Bhattacharyya was awarded CBE for Services to Industry and Technology. The same year, he was awarded an honorary Doctorate of Science (DSc) by the University of Technology, Malaysia, where he also held a Honorary Professorship. The Institution of Electrical Engineers honored him with the Mensforth International Gold Medal for outstanding international contribution to manufacturing engineering and management in 1998. In 2002, he received the Padma Bhushan from the President of India for his services to Science and Technology. Bhattacharyya was knighted in 2003 for his contribution to Higher Education and Industry. He was made a Life Peer as Baron Bhattacharyya of Moseley in the County of the West Midlands in 2004. In 2014, he was honored with the Coventry Award of Merit for outstanding personal achievement in raising the status of UK engineering and manufacturing and for his service to the promotion of the University of Warwick and the City of Coventry.

Personal Life, Legacy & Death

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya was married to Bridget and had three children. He died following a short illness on March 1, 2019, at the age of 78.

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