Warwick peer puts £1 million where his mouth is

February 25, 2010

A professor has made a £1 million donation to his university - and wants other academics to follow his lead by giving to their employers.

Lord Bhattacharyya, director and founder of the WMG unit at the University of Warwick, made the donation to support science grants and awards.

Warwick said it was "one of the largest-ever personal donations to a UK university by a serving member of academic staff".

Lord Bhattacharyya said: "In America it is quite common if you have spent such a lot of time in the place where you work. Universities are basically charities. I would like to encourage others to give.

"It doesn't have to be such a big amount. Collectively, small amounts become big amounts. Philanthropy is important and should be encouraged in universities."

He added that as a relatively new institution, Warwick, which was established in 1965, "doesn't have the privilege of other universities' large endowments".

Lord Bhattacharyya joined Warwick in 1980, establishing the Warwick Manufacturing Group - now known simply as WMG - the following year.

The group's mission is to aid UK manufacturing through the application of cutting-edge university research and effective knowledge transfer. It now employs more than 300 full-time staff with a further 150 associates.

In May last year, Warwick announced a £50 million fundraising campaign to support its strategy to rise up the global university rankings.

Lord Bhattacharyya said he recently spoke in the House of Lords to urge the Government to make it easier for universities and companies to work together to generate wealth through technology.

The peer said he hoped his "personal financial contribution underlines how serious I am when I call on businesses and the Government to enhance the support they provide to UK researchers".

He said: "I have seen the university grow. It is a wonderful university - in my judgment, one of the best. For a new university to do what it has done is remarkable. This is a little thing I could do for the university."

He added: "Of course, I did have to consult my wife."

john.morgan@tsleducation.com.

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