New Centre to support oil and gas research and the environment

New Centre to support oil and gas research and the environment

The new Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT), funded by NERC, 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 reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration and extraction.

As well as NERC’s £2.8m investment, the consortium has already committed to invest £5.2m. NERC is expecting to leverage up to four times its investment from overseas universities and institutions, and business.

The CDT will support a minimum of 90 postgraduate students, 30 of whom will be funded by NERC, all of whom will benefit from being embedded alongside world-class researchers and industry partners in the form of placements, mentoring, facilities and equipment.
Led by Heriot-Watt.

The Centre consists of seven core partners (Heriot-Watt, Imperial College London, Aberdeen, Oxford, Durham and Manchester universities and the British Geological Survey) and a further 12 associate partners (Birmingham, Camborne, Cardiff, Dundee, Glasgow, Keele, National Oceanographic Centre (NOC), Newcastle, Nottingham, Royal Holloway, Southampton & Strathclyde). The successful bid was led by Heriot-Watt's Institute of Petroleum Engineering’s new Professor of Exploration Geoscience, Professor John Underhill.

Professor Underhill said, "I am absolutely delighted that our inclusive bid has met with NERC’s approval and look forward to working with our colleagues and partners in the training of the next generation of geoscientific and environmental PhD researchers in oil and gas. The bid’s success illustrates the breadth, depth, credibility and quality of research carried out in the Institute of Petroleum Engineering, the School of Life Sciences and the School of Engineering and Physical Sciences at Heriot-Watt University and the important role we play in delivering training excellence in building the UK’s national earth and marine science capability."

Professor Duncan Wingham, chief executive of NERC, said, "Looking across the sectors that provide growth in the UK’s economy, and where a strong understanding of the environment is absolutely essential, it is hard to think of one where the need is higher than in oil and gas. It’s vital that NERC contributes to ensuring growth with responsible environmental management for the industry."

Universities and Science Minister David Willetts said, "Working alongside leading businesses in the oil and gas sector to improve our skills base is vital to the success of the government’s industrial strategy. NERC’s plans to develop a centre for doctoral training will support the growth of the UK’s offshore oil and gas resources and attract further overseas investment, keeping the UK ahead in the global race."

Ariel photograph of Offshore Gas and Oil Platform
A new £8m training centre, led by Heriot-Watt, has been announced, aimed at helping the oil and gas sector put environmental science at the heart of responsible management of the planet.