Professor Syamantak Bhattacharya
Role at Solent
Professor Syamantak Bhattacharya is Provost of the University. He deputises for the Vice-Chancellor, and leads the development of the academic strategy, planning and insight by working closely with the Executive Board, the wider University community, and external stakeholders. As Provost, he ensures all academic KPI targets are fulfilled; and TEF, REF, and KEF and all other relevant academic regulatory requirements are successfully delivered. Professor Bhattacharya ensures the academic community performs in providing an innovative and viable programme portfolio, transformative student experience, impactful research, and societal benefit through knowledge exchange. He offers the critical academic voice as the custodian of freedom of speech to lead the community in pursuit of truth whilst guiding the operation of the University to be sustainable.
Professor Bhattacharya has been affiliated with Solent University since 2016. Between 2020 and 2022, he was the Pro Vice-Chancellor of Research and Knowledge Exchange (R&KE), when he led a much-improved REF 2021 outcome and developed and implemented the University's R&KE Enabling Strategy 2025, which puts the infrastructure for the REF2027 submission with four overarching research themes and six KE priorities. He strategized major institution-wide systemic transformation to bring a better research culture through several work strands among academics and professional services. It includes the new professoriate and research lecture and seminars series, a revised PGR study programme, the Postgraduate Certificate in Research Methods Award launch, and research centres and groups. He has successfully repositioned the value and importance of research among the University's executive, academic and professional services staff, and its governing body.
Professor Bhattacharya's primary emphasis has been to bring more research-informed teaching to the classroom, normalise and celebrate the concept of academics engaging with research and knowledge creation, commercialise our research, and impact businesses and communities. He has successfully grown the University's R&KE income, involved with local, sectoral, national and global funders and influenced the winning of several new projects such as the UK Government's Skills for Property Fund through the ILO and a multi-year train the trainer consultancy with several maritime training institutes located globally. He also led the successful submission of the Public Engagement Manifesto, which in recognition will imminently lead to an award from the National Coordination Centre for Public Engagement (NCCPE).
Professor Bhattacharya is also on the University's governing body as a member of the University's executive team and has also led several institutional initiatives. These include the annual strategy and planning recruitment and promotion of academic staff with research excellence, review of the academic portfolio of the growth subjects, leading the launch and the delivery of the South Coast Institute of Technology (IoT) project, and capital funding from the Office for Students.
Between 2016 and 2020, Professor Bhattacharya was the Dean of the Maritime, Science and Engineering School, which he transformed significantly from pedagogic and operational standpoints. He led the modernisation of academic deliveries and reshaping of its international reach. He built an effective senior management team, revised the staff structures and roles, and reduced the staff base by a third, leading to the growth of the School's market share, income and contribution. The operational restructuring involved aligning staff to the University's corporate culture, relocating over 90 staff, and leading a significant capital investment, including building Europe's largest maritime simulation centre in Southampton.
As Dean, Professor Bhattacharya also led international partnerships through franchise and articulation agreements in places such as Athens. His emphasis has been commercialisation and winning clients such as Clyde Marine. He also worked closely with key stakeholders such as the UK Chamber of Shipping, the Royal Navy and Lloyds Register of Shipping, the Maritime & Coastguard Agency, the Merchant Navy Training Board, and Solent LEP, from where the University received £7.5m worth of funding for the new maritime provisions.
Between 2008 and 2016, Professor Bhattacharya was affiliated with Plymouth University as an associate professor where he undertook research, teaching and management duties. Prior to this, he received a Nippon Foundation Scholarship in 2004 to read for his doctoral award at Cardiff University, which he completed in 2009. Before moving to academia, he worked for 15 years in the maritime industry, including two years as a ship's captain on large international tankers and another two as a senior manager in a shipping company in Singapore.
At the beginning of 2020, Professor Bhattacharya received the prestigious Hind Rattan (Jewel of India) Award, awarded annually to eminent persons of Indian origin and is considered the highest civilian award for the Indian diaspora, in recognition of his outstanding contributions to education.
- Fellow of the Higher Education Academy
- Governor, South Coast Institute of Technology
- Independent Governor, Peter Symonds College
- Associate Fellow, Seafarers International Research Centre, Cardiff University
- Vice-Chancellor’s Group
- Academic Board
- Research and Knowledge Exchange (Chair)
- Learning and Teaching and Student Success (Chair)
- Honorary Degrees and Titles
- Academic Portfolio and Partnerships (Chair)
- Joint Negotiating and Consultative
- Academic Promotions