Press release

Minister for the Constitution presents University of Warwick with Royal Warrant

Today the Minister for the Constitution presented Warwick Manufacturing Group (WMG) with a Royal Warrant signed by Her Majesty the Queen.

Minister Chris Skidmore awarded the Royal Warrant to WMG at the University of Warwick, officially conferring her Majesty’s recognition with the title of the Regius Professor of Manufacturing (Engineering).

The title of Regius Professorship is a rare and prestigious award given by Her Majesty the Queen to recognise exceptionally high quality research at an institution. The University of Warwick was one of 12 universities honoured to mark Her Majesty’s 90th Birthday. Previous to this, only 14 had been granted since the reign of Queen Victoria. It is believed that the first Regius Professorship was conferred to Aberdeen University in 1497 by King James IV.

After presenting the warrant the minister was given a tour of WMG’s world-class facilities which have helped them secure this prestigious title. He also met Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, to hear more about their collaborative research and development and education programmes.

Recipients of new Regius Professorships have been selected by open competition, judged by an independent expert panel of business and academic experts. A Regius Professorship is a well-deserved reflection of the exceptionally high quality of teaching and research at an institution.

Chris Skidmore, Minister for Constitution, said:

The UK has some of the best universities in the world and I feel very privileged to be able to recognise them with such a prestigious award. The manufacturing research at the University of Warwick is an exemplar and means that our country can remain innovative and agile in the global market for generations to come. All of the universities receiving a Regius Professorship can consider themselves truly deserving of this great honour.

Professor Lord Bhattacharyya, Chairman of WMG, said:

Having founded WMG in 1980 to invigorate UK manufacturing, it is a wonderful honour to be bestowed upon the group. This is recognition to every member of staff, over the last 35 years, who has contributed to our success. I am immensely delighted to have been granted this prestigious Regius Professorship in Manufacturing for WMG.

In the past, Regius Professorships were created when a university chair was founded or endowed by a royal patron. Previously, they were limited to a handful of the ancient universities of the United Kingdom and Ireland, namely Oxford, Cambridge, St Andrews, Glasgow, Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Trinity College, Dublin.

Announced in the government’s Productivity Plan in July, the new Regius Professorships celebrate the increasingly important role of academic research in driving growth and improving productivity over the past 90 years.

Notes to editors

The University of Warwick has previously been honoured with a Regius Professorship in Mathematics in 2013. This was one of 12 awards which were bestowed to mark Her Majesty’s Diamond Jubilee.

The creation of Regius Professorships falls under the Royal Prerogative, and each appointment is approved by the Monarch on ministerial advice. For the Diamond Jubilee 12 Regius Professorship were created but prior to that only two others have been awarded in the last century, to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin in 2009. Before then, the most recent Regius Professorship was created by Queen Victoria.

The new posts of Regius Professor are:

  • University of Manchester: Materials
  • University of Cardiff: Chemistry
  • Queen’s University Belfast: Electronics and Computer Engineering
  • University of Glasgow: Precision Medicine
  • Newcastle University: Ageing
  • University of Liverpool: Chemistry
  • Aston University: Pharmacy
  • University of Warwick: Manufacturing (Engineering)
  • Institute of Cancer Research (University of London): Cancer Research
  • Imperial College London: Infectious Disease
  • University of Southampton: Ocean Sciences
  • University of Oxford: Mathematics

All entries were assessed by the expert panel on the merits of their application alone, against a scoring system based on the criteria:

  • national and international recognition of excellent research across any field or fields of research, (1 to 5 points)
  • the leading role of the university in translating the research into use in wider society as a contribution to knowledge, or to solving a problem (1 to 15 points)
  • a direct and significant benefit to the UK’s economic effectiveness and productivity at a regional or national scale (1 to 15 points)
  • other factors, such as the chance to mark a significant event in history of the institution or field of research (1 to 5 points)

The chair of the expert panel was Anne Glover (Chief Exec Amadeus Capital Partners (angel investors), trained as a scientist, ex-NED at Technology Strategy Board and currently on PM Council for Science and Technology; honorary Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering).

Other panel members include:

  • Baroness O’Neill (Philosophy and public policy, current chair the Equality and Human Rights Commission, former President of the British Academy, former Chair Nuffield Foundation; Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, University of Cambridge).
  • Sir Robin Saxby (Founder, former Chief Exec and former Chair ARM and past president of IET; visiting professor, University of Liverpool and Fellow of Royal Academy of Engineering).
  • Baroness Finlay (Professor of palliative medicine at Cardiff University, past president of the Royal Society of Medicine).
  • Rowan Douglas (CEO of the Capital, Science and Policy Practice at Willis Group and Member of the PM’s Council for Science and Technology and also Chairman, Willis Research Network, Willis Group and also member of the council of NERC).