August 02, 2013

Chief technology officers at Tata scout technology opportunities in the UK

Chief technology officers (CTOs) and other senior Tata executives with R&D interests from several Tata companies, including Tata Industries, Tata Steel, Jaguar Land Rover, TCS, Tata Chemicals, Metahelix Life Sciences and Tata Elxsi, visited the UK from July 29 to August 2,  to explore the scope for collaboration with the UK universities and research institutes. The delegation visited Imperial College London and the University of Cambridge and met academic heads and researchers covering disciplines as varied as advanced materials, manufacturing technologies, digital technologies and life sciences.

The visits to the universities were coordinated by the members of the CTO team, who are also alumni of the institutions. Dr Debashish Bhattacharjee, global CTO of Tata Steel coordinated the Cambridge visit and Dr Anthony Harper, head of research and advanced system engineering at Jaguar Land Rover, coordinated the Imperial College visit.

On the final day, Tata Limited, which represents the group in the UK and Europe, organised a morning seminar with the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), the Technology Strategy Board (TSB) and the key Research Councils, led by the Secretary of State for BIS, Rt Hon Dr Vince Cable MP. This session covered a wide range of themes including government support for research collaboration and cross-disciplinary research programmes such as the ’Future Cities’ programme sponsored by the TSB.  

KRS Jamwal, executive director, Tata Industries, commented, “The UK is a natural location for R&D collaboration given Tata’s strong presence in the country and the excellent track record of British universities in applied research. Successful projects, like JLR’s collaboration with Warwick University, result from a careful examination of the strengths of the particular institutions, and the convergence of their research aims with the companies’ business objectives. This visit also demonstrated the seriousness of the UK government to encourage research collaboration, and provided concrete ideas for our CTOs to consider. The minister’s presence was greatly appreciated and he also highlighted Tata’s profile in the UK.”

The final session took place at York House in Twickenham, once the London home of Sir Ratan Tata.

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