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The University of Southampton

Oil and gas training centre welcomes ?1m industry investment

Published: 4 July 2014

Six of the oil industry's biggest names have confirmed additional funding support for the new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil and Gas, of which the University of Southampton is an associate partner.

BP, Shell, BG, ConocoPhillips, E.ON and Total have together pledged more than £1 million to underpin a Training Academy for 90 PhD students over the next six years. This brings total funding for the Centre, which is led by Professor John Underhill at Heriot-Watt University, to more than £9 million. The Natural Environment Research Council (NERC) has allocated £2.7 million to the centre and the remaining £5.2 million will come from the Centre’s academic and affiliated partners over the next six years.

Minister for Universities and Science David Willetts said: "The shared funding from industry and government that is going into this centre will nurture a future generation of experts to provide technical and intellectual leadership for decades to come in one of the UK's great industries. It is an excellent example of how our industrial strategy is helping industry and government to work together and align research investment with priorities for economic growth. I am delighted that businesses are supporting the new centre so strongly, it is a vote of confidence in how the consortium led by Heriot-Watt, with support from the Natural Environment Research Council, have designed the programme."

The Centre will focus on creating a highly skilled workforce with expertise that can be used across the wider energy and environmental sectors, as well as filling skills gaps in the oil and gas sector. This will equip the industry with the skills needed to meet the future challenges of energy security.

Dr Justin Dix, Head of the Geology and Geophysics Research Group at the University of Southampton, is co-ordinating the National Oceanography Centre’s Graduate School participation in the CDT. He said: "The successful funding of the Training Academy will be of tremendous benefit to PhD students undertaking research as a member of the CDT. It will provide high calibre skills to complement those gained in individual research programmes, give students a broader context to their projects and create a community field for the thirty students spread across the UK.”

The European President of the American Association of Petroleum Geologists (AAPG), Keith Gerdes of Shell will chair the Industrial Advisory Board of the CDT on behalf of NERC. He said: “This Centre is a truly game-changing initiative and represents the most exciting development in the provision of training for the energy industry in the UK that has occurred during my career.

“The consortium of universities led by Heriot-Watt includes major UK providers of world-class teaching and research in petroleum geoscience and related subjects. The collegiate structure and inclusive nature which is at the heart of this construct is extremely attractive to many members of the industry and will create a ‘one stop shop’ for industry and academic engagement for both research and recruitment.

“I am delighted to be involved in such an innovative, student-centric project designed to attract and train top postgraduate talent for the future energy industry.”

Of the Centre’s 90 postgraduate students, 30 will be funded by NERC. All of its students will benefit from being embedded alongside world-class researchers and industry partners in the form of placements, mentoring, facilities and equipment.

Ocean and Earth Science


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