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New environment centre for oil and gas research

03 Dec 2013

A new £8m training centre aimed at helping the oil and gas sector put environmental science at the heart of responsible management of the planet has been announced.

The University of Manchester is a core partner in the new NERC-funded Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) that 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. The research council 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.

The Centre consists of seven core partners (Manchester, Heriot-Watt, Imperial College, Aberdeen, Oxford, Durham 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).  Manchester’s input to the bid was led by Professor Kevin Taylor from the School of Earth Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences.

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.”

Professor Jonathan Redfern, Head of Basin Studies and Petroleum Geoscience,  said: ”This new initiative builds on the growth of the Basins Studies and Petroleum Geoscience Group in SEAES, which runs the successful and internationally recognized Petroleum Geoscience MSc in Exploration, and Petroleum Geoscience MSc for Reservoir Development and Production, a large Petroleum Engineering Undergraduate BEng MEng course run jointly with the School of Chemical Engineering and Analytical Science, and has a very strong research profile, with more than 30 PhDs in the school funded largely by Industry on oil/gas related research.”

Professor Hugh Coe, Head of SEAES, added: "The NERC DTC will enable us to bring together our School's research strengths in geosciences and our applied oil and gas research, allowing PhD student training at the interface between NERC-supported and industrial research."


Notes for editors

Further details:

For further information contact:

Media Relations
Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
The University of Manchester

Tel: 0161 275 8387