Wednesday 5 February 2020
Professor Syamantak Bhattacharya, Dean of Solent University’s Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering, has been presented with the prestigious Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award for “outstanding services, achievements, and contributions to education (maritime)”.
This Indian diasporic award is granted annually to eminent non-resident persons of Indian origin (NRIs) by the NRI Welfare Society of India. It is considered the highest award for NRIs given in recognition of their outstanding services, achievements, and contributions in their respective fields.
The award was presented at a ceremony attended by government dignitaries, members of the Supreme Court of India, and international diplomats, in New Delhi on Saturday January 25 2020, on the eve of India’s Republic Day.
Speaking after the ceremony Professor Bhattacharya said: “It is a great honour to receive this award from my country of birth. Having my passion and commitment to education recognised in this way is a great honour, and testament to the exciting way in which maritime education and training is evolving at Solent University. Major investment in our facilities, alongside research and curriculum development will help us build on our world-renowned Warsash heritage, working with maritime industries across the globe to ensure our academic and training programmes are relevant for current and future marine professionals.”
Born in Calcutta, Professor Bhattacharya attended St Lawrence High School in the same city. Following in his father’s footsteps, he joined the merchant navy in 1989. He sailed for 13 years, the last two as the ship’s Captain on large international oil tankers. He then went to work in Singapore as a Safety and Commercial Manager of a fleet of ships.
During his seafaring career, Professor Bhattacharya continued his studies at the Nautical Colleges in Bombay and South Tyneside, UK. In 2004, he changed course and started on his academic voyage as a doctoral student at Cardiff University. He was awarded his PhD in 2009, at which point he was already employed by Plymouth University.
Professor Bhattacharya has been Solent University’s Dean of the Warsash School of Maritime Science and Engineering since 2016. Aided by a £43m University investment, he has overseen critical change management programme to maritime education at the University, including the opening of the UK’s largest maritime simulation centre last May. He has also led the development of new maritime and engineering programmes, the alignment of vocational awards to academic qualifications and the expansion of global partnerships.
Professor Bhattacharya has also been active in research and published several research articles in academic journals, and was a leading contributor to the 2014 Research Excellence Framework.