Warwick Manufacturing Group will work on major research and development programmes with aerospace giant BAE systems after agreeing a wide-ranging deal.
The group, which is based at the University of Warwick, has agreed a memorandum of understanding to work with BAE on areas like new materials and cyber technology. Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, chairman of WMG, said the agreement would allow research and development for BAE and Jaguar Land Rover to benefit both firms.
Lord Bhattacharyya, who warned the House of Lords this week that barriers threaten trade relations between the UK and India, said the company had been involved in WMG’s new international doctorate centre.
He said: “There are a lot of things we do for JLR and BAE which can be useful for both parties. We are going to be involved in R&D over a wide area.
“We deal with BAE in a fairly big way but now we have a memorandum of understanding which includes R&D, joint work on other sectors, training and also working abroad.
“It is a very wide-ranging agreement and allows us to do a lot more training with them and work on R&D and cyber security and things like that.
“BAE will also be involved with our masters programme and doctorate programme. They were a big part of the new doctorate centre.”
Lord Bhattacharyya said the agreement would mean an interchange of staff between WMG and BAE. It comes amid a period of expansion for the group, which was named among the Government’s elite network of Technology and Innovation Centres earlier this year.
He said: “We are talking about broad-ranging areas like new materials, fabrication, nanotechnology.
“There are a lot of things that are happening in the automotive and aerospace industries and with our close relationship with JLR there are a lot of areas that cross over. This is one of the biggest agreements we have signed – it encapsulates almost everything.”
Lord Bhattacharyya added: “We are expanding like nobody’s business anyway. We will be probably getting another 10 professors in areas like robotics and cyber security.’’
Cliff Robson, director industrial capability for BAE Systems’ air sector, said: “Working with industrially-aligned universities is important to help maintain and develop our capabilities and our people in particular. Consequently we are looking forward to developing this relationship with WMG.”
Elsewhere, Lord Bhattacharyya called for the British to be “more welcoming” to encourage greater trade with India.
Speaking in the House of Lords, he said while British exports to the subcontinent had surged by 10 per cent a year in the 1990s to 14 per cent a year since the millennium, our share of Indian imports had fallen from six per cent to just 1.5 per cent over the same period.
He added: “We make it difficult for ourselves by putting up needless barriers. We need immigration rules, but we should show flexibility for those who have a lot to contribute.”