Warwick Manufacturing Group
The Warwick Manufacturing Group (today known as WMG) is an academic department at the University of Warwick, providing research, education and knowledge transfer in engineering, manufacturing and technology. The group provides taught and research degrees for postgraduate students at the University of Warwick campus in England, and at overseas centres in China, India, Singapore, Malaysia, Cyprus, Russia and Thailand.
|Director||Professor Lord (Kumar) Bhattacharyya (1980–2019)|
|Campus||Semi-rural (University of Warwick)|
The Warwick Manufacturing Group was founded in 1980 by Kumar Bhattacharyya to support the reinvigoration of UK manufacturing through research and knowledge transfer (Bhattacharyya, made a life peer in 2004, became chairman of WMG). Its first venture was a part-time master's degree for senior industry staff; this considered technology and management as a unified whole, with modules taught at a purpose-built residential centre. While the course was initially criticised by academics, it proved popular with industry and companies began to send staff to WMG in greater numbers.
Bhattacharyya then decided to provide industry-related research services too, convincing the university to loan money for a centre where academics could collaborate with industrialists on the development of new products for the aerospace and automotive industries. The advanced technology centre was officially opened on 8 January 1990 by Margaret Thatcher and its success (and the income generated) allowed WMG to build two further buildings to enable expansion into other areas, including healthcare, construction, pharmaceuticals, mining, information technology and food and drink where learning from the manufacturing industry could be applied to similar processes and services.
This success has led several subsequent British Prime Ministers to visit WMG to demonstrate their support for WMGs innovation and applied research. Tony Blair visited WMG during the 1997 and 2001 Election Campaigns. Gordon Brown laid the foundation stone of WMG's Digital Laboratory shortly before becoming Prime Minister and stated that "WMG’s work is based on very strong collaboration with industry and provides a prime example of how the knowledge created in our universities can be transferred to make a difference in the real world".
Theresa May and her Chancellor Philip Hammond visited WMG together in 2016. May's visit was later credited with inspiring the Prime Minister to support a British Industrial strategy by the Business Secretary, Greg Clark. Clark stated that "Kumar (Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman of WMG) created this, all those connections, all of those links between education and jobs and technology. During all the time I’ve known Lord Bhattacharyya he’s been a big champion for the West Midlands. One of Theresa May’s first visits as Prime Minister was here and she saw for herself what is possible. As a result, I think the industrial strategy has taken such a prominent position in the post-Brexit plan".
In 2007, the group rebranded as WMG (instead of Warwick Manufacturing Group) to reflect its move to more diverse activities outside its manufacturing roots.
WMG is based in six buildings on the University of Warwick campus:
- International Automotive Research Centre
- International Manufacturing Centre
- Engineering Management Building (Westwood campus)
- International Digital Laboratory (completed 2008)
- International Institute for Product and Service Innovation (completed in 2012)
- International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing (completed in 2014)
The group is leading the construction of the new National Automotive Innovation Centre on the University campus.
In 2011, WMG accounted for 30 percent of the university's research activity and had over 2,500 postgraduate students, 650 studying full-time at Warwick. Just 20 of 450 staff and 10 percent of its £120 million annual research budget was funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for England.
Research is organised into a number of research groups covering design, materials, manufacturing, systems and business research. Areas of focus include business innovation, low-carbon mobility and healthcare. Further programmes focus on supporting small to medium-sized enterprises through projects such as the National Business to Business Centre, the West Midlands Collaborative Commerce Marketplace and the International Institute for Product and Service Innovation.
WMG is also home to the Institute of Digital Healthcare, a partnership with Warwick Medical School which aims to bring improvements to health and wellbeing through innovative digital technologies and services.
Past research programmes have included the Premium Automotive Research and Development (PARD) Programme, the Low Carbon Vehicle Technology Project (LCVTP), the Premium Vehicle Customer Interface Technologies (PVCIT) Centre and the Vehicle Energy Facility.
WMG provides undergraduate engineering courses (in conjunction with the School of Engineering). However, its student population is mainly postgraduate students organised in the following way:
- Full-time masters degrees in engineering, technology operations and business
- Part-time professional programmes for those working in industry
- Overseas programmes
- PhD and Engineering Doctorate (EngD) programmes
In 2009, WMG was awarded the Queen's Anniversary Prize for Higher and Further Education, formally presented at a ceremony at Buckingham Palace on 19 February 2010.
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- "Tony Blair Arrives at Warwick". Getty Images. 10 May 2001.
- "Gordon Brown unveils foundation stone of Warwick Digital Lab". University of Warwick. 20 May 2007.
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- "Prime Minister and Chancellor of the Exchequer visit WMG".
- Gilbert, Simon (28 April 2017). "Government wants Coventry & JLR at heart of global car industry". Coventry Telegraph. Retrieved 27 March 2018.
- "International Digital Laboratory" (PDF). MADE. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- "International Institute for Product and Service Innovation". University of Warwick. Retrieved 10 December 2013.
- "International Institute for Nanocomposites Manufacturing". University of Warwick. Retrieved 3 September 2014.
- "WMG Research Areas". WMG. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "High Value Manufacturing Catapult". Technology Strategy Board. Retrieved 11 October 2012.
- "Premium Automotive Research & Development". WMG. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "New £5m lab gives West Midlands manufacturers super powers". Advantage West Midlands. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Launch Day For Project Set To Ensure Britain's Place At The Heart Of The Next Industrial Revolution – In Low Carbon Transportation". WMG. Retrieved 1 July 2010.
- "Super bike helped by new £5 million lab that gives Midlands manufacturers super powers". WMG. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- "Midlands gets a new unique hybrid powertrain testing facility". WMG. Retrieved 8 August 2011.
- "Watch: First look behind the scenes at Coventry's new WMG Academy for Young Engineers". Coventry Telegraph,. 16 May 2014. Retrieved 29 September 2014.CS1 maint: extra punctuation (link)
- "Professor Sujit Banerji, Executive Director Postgraduate Programmes, International Manufacturing Centre The University of Warwick". The Royal Anniversary Trust – Commentary. Retrieved 3 March 2014.
- "Queen's Anniversary Prize awarded to WMG". The Boar. 2 March 2010. Retrieved 3 March 2014.