Warwick's industry turns profit from academic expertise

May 8, 1998

Tony Tysome and Harriet Swain go in search of the Midlands, a region that is busy bridging an east-west divide, increasing participation rates and developing links

The University of Warwick is probably the United Kingdom's most successful post-war university in terms of earning power, generating nearly Pounds 85 million last year alone, writes Harriet Swain.

Since it opened in 1965, it has developed a series of money-spinning schemes that now provide more than 60 per cent of the university's income.

The most successful scheme is Warwick Manufacturing Group, which in less than 20 years has grown from one man and a desk to 400 staff and a Pounds 50 million turnover. It has partnerships with more than 500 organisations from governments to multinational firms. Outside its Coventry base, it has operations in China, east Asia and South America.

The group was founded in 1980 by Kumar Bhattacharyya, who is responsible for much of its success. But nothing would have happened without the backing of the university, which, in return, gets most of the profits. The Higher Education Funding Council provides only 10 per cent of the group's turnover.

WMG aims to cover every element behind a successful firm, from training engineers and managers, through manufacturing methods to corporate strategy and government policy. Its ethos is to bring academic expertise to industry and industrial relevance - and cash - to the university.

In WMG's advanced technology centre in Coventry are scientists and people on secondment from industry testing equipment and experimenting with production techniques. This is complemented by the nearby international manufacturing centre.

More than 1,200 post-graduate and 150 doctoral students study with the group, which also trains about 5,000 industrialists a year. Professor Bhattacharyya leads strategy development sessions and operates programmes specifically for regional enterprises.

But its influence is international. The Business Advanced Technology Centre, set up with Pounds 10 million from the Malaysian government, is in its fifth year of operation. The group has a similar centre in Thailand, supported by Thai industries, and a $200 million centre for engineering management is being built in Calcutta.

Already registered?

Sign in now if you are already registered or a current subscriber. Or subscribe for unrestricted access to our digital editions and iPad and iPhone app.

Have your say

Log in or register to post comments

Featured Jobs

Dean of the School of Life and Medical Sciences UNIVERSITY OF HERTFORDSHIRE (MAIN ADDRESS)
Research Fellow in Regime and the Public Sphere GERMAN ASSOCIATION FOR EAST EUROPEAN STUDIES
Research Assistant CAMBRIDGE ASSESSMENT

Most Commented

Elderly woman looking up at sky

A recent paper claims that the quality of researchers declines with age. Five senior scientists consider the data and how they’ve contributed through the years

Otto illustration (5 May 2016)

Craig Brandist on the proletarianisation of a profession and how it leads to behaviours that could hobble higher education

smiley, laugh, happy, funny, silly, face, faces

Scholars should cheer up and learn to take the rough with the smooth, says John Tregoning

Eleanor Shakespeare illustration 19 May 2016

Tim Blackman’s vision of higher education for the 21st century is one in which students of varying abilities learn successfully together

James Minchall illustration (12 May 2016)

An online experiment proves that part of the bill for complying with the Freedom of Information Act is self-inflicted, says Louis Goddard