The Royal Academy of Engineering
, at the University of Warwick, have shortlisted 11 exceptional collaborations for the inaugural Bhattacharyya Award. With a cash prize of £25,000, it will be presented to the team which best demonstrates how industry and universities can work together — winners will be announced on 16 September.
The Bhattacharyya Award is funded by the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy and was announced in July 2019 as a tribute to the late Professor Lord Kumar Bhattacharyya, the Regius Professor of Manufacturing at the University of Warwick and founder of WMG.
Starting his career as a graduate apprentice at Lucas Industries, Professor Lord Bhattacharyya became Britain's first-ever Professor of Manufacturing. Having seen first-hand how slowly academic advances were translated into real business and social change, he founded WMG in 1980 to help business innovate and help university researchers to innovate.
Academic excellence with industrial relevance has always been at the heart of WMG, and today, it is one of the world’s top applied research centres, with a reputation for academic excellence and business results spanning the world.
The shortlist features collaborations that address some of the most pressing national and global challenges, from cybersecurity and medical simulation to powering the aircraft of the future.
The shortlist includes: Imperial College London and Shell; Loughborough University and Rolls Royce; Queen's University Belfast and the Centre for Secure Information Technologies; Swansea University and the Steel Strategic Alliance; The University of Manchester and BP; University of Bath and the Institute for Advanced Automotive Propulsion Systems; University of Cambridge and the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction; University of Leeds and Simulation Solutions Ltd; University of Sheffield and Siemens; University of Surrey and the 5G Innovation Centre; and University of York and the High Integrity Systems Engineering group.
Science Minister Amanda Solloway said: “We are extremely proud to be funding the Bhattacharyya Award, which encourages collaboration between our universities and businesses. By working hand-in-hand, academic advances can be quickly translated to industry, bringing forward game-changing innovations and helping us to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic.”
Professor Dame Ann Dowling, former president of the Royal Academy of Engineering, is chair of the judging panel for the Bhattacharyya Award. She said: “Lord Bhattacharyya was a strong advocate of an effective industrial strategy, seeking a revitalisation of skills policy, a growth in apprenticeships, a focus on the impact of research and training and technology partnerships between industry and universities.
“We received some fantastic entries that showcase best practice in developing effective collaborations between universities and industry – we hope that these will inspire productive new partnerships in the future.”
Margot James, executive chair at WMG, University of Warwick added: “The Bhattacharyya Award amplifies the approach Professor Lord Bhattacharyya took in transforming how universities research and educate to meet the needs of industry and society. Supporting genuine collaboration to create relevant and impactful research and enabling education programmes that nurture the brightest talent.”