R.K. Mutatkar as a student of Prof. S.C. Dube, worked with Prof. Irawati Karve for ten years till she passed away in 1970. He was first Head of the Department of Anthropology, and first Professor-Director of the Interdisciplinary School of Health Sciences, University of Poona (now Savitribai Phule Pune University). He pioneered teaching of Medical Anthropology in India in 1974. He Chaired UGC Panel on Anthropology and Curriculum Development Committee which produced model anthropology curriculum for UGC in 2001. He has been Chairman of Indian National Confederation and Academy of Anthropologists (INCAA).
He established an academic institution, 'The Maharashtra Association of Anthropological Sciences' in 1976, and is the patron of 'Society for Indian Medical Anthropology'. Prof. Mutatkar initiated research on social aspects of Leprosy at WHO, Geneva in 1981. He chaired the first working group on AYUSH in Public Health for the XI Five Year Plan. He chaired the first Scientific Advisory Group of the Social-Behavioural Research Division at the ICMR. He has been a recipient of Tagore National Scholarship bestowed by Ministry of Culture (GoI), affiliated to Anthropological Survey of India.
Prof. Mutatkar has been honoured with 'International Gandhi Award for Leprosy' by Hon. Vice President of India as Chairman of International Jury Board and 'Adiwasi Sevak Puraskar' by Governor of Maharashtra.
His books "AYUSH in Public Health" (2 Volumes) (2016) "Tribal Health and Malnutrition" (2018) and "Sexuality and Sexual Behaviour—Social Science Perspectives" (2019) have been published by Concept Publishing Co. Pvt. Ltd., New Delhi