The NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil & Gas is a collaboration of 6 core academic partners (Aberdeen, Durham, Heriot-Watt, Imperial College London and Manchester universities and the British Geological Survey), 11 associate academic partners (the universities of Birmingham, Cardiff, Dundee, Exeter (Camborne), Keele, Newcastle, Nottingham, Oxford, Royal Holloway, Southampton and Strathclyde) and 8 core industry sponsors (BP, Cairn Energy, ConocoPhillips, Equinor, ExxonMobil, Shell, Total and Verus Petroleum) and 6 associate industry sponsors providing support 'in kind', AGR TRACS Training, GeoTeric, Halliburton/Neftex, Nautilus (RPS Training), PGS, Schlumberger and Spectrum.
The Centre was initially awarded 3 annual entry cohorts in 2013 and was established with the aim of training the next generation of geoscientific and environmental researchers in oil and gas, providing them over their studentship with a total of 20 weeks’ joint training delivered by academic, governmental and industry experts from the Earth, Environment and Applied Business sectors. There is also an annual graduate school conference at which students present their results and showcase the best academic research in oil and gas to the industry, government and academic peers.
Research is focussed on four areas:
- Environmental Impact & Regulation
- Extending the Life of Mature Basins (e.g. North Sea)
- Exploration in Challenging Environments
- Unconventional Oil & Gas Resources
The Centre aims to create a highly skilled workforce with expertise that can be used across the wider energy and environmental sectors. It will equip industry with the skills needed to explore, sustain and reduce the environmental impact of oil and gas exploration and extraction at a time of economic challenge and focus on responsible environmental management.
The academy of talent currently comprises 27 4-year PhD studentships based in the 17 HEI partners in the 2014 entry cohort, 26 students in the 2015 cohort, 32 students in the 2016 cohort, 28 students in the 2017 entry cohort and 17 students in the 2018 entry cohort. The fourth cohort for 2017 entry is unique in that the recruitment of students is the result of the Research Council extending its funding due to the CDT's obvious successes in its early operations. The NERC CDT in Oil & Gas is the only such partnership to receive an extension to date. The 2017 cohort also benefits from the largest award of National Productivity Investment Fund (NPIF) studentships made by NERC from its government allocation to any of its CDTs in the 2017 call. The fifth cohort for 2018 entry also benefits from NPIF studentship funding from NERC.