The NERC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) in Oil & Gas is a collaboration of 7 core academic partners (Aberdeen, Durham, Heriot-Watt, Imperial College London, Manchester and Oxford universities and the British Geological Survey), 12 associate academic partners (the universities of Birmingham, Cardiff, Dundee, Exeter (Camborne), Glasgow, Keele, Newcastle, Nottingham, Royal Holloway, Southampton and Strathclyde and the National Oceanography Centre), 9 core industry sponsors (BP, Cairn Energy, ConocoPhilips, Premier Oil, OMV, Shell, Statoil, Total and Woodside Energy) and 5 associate industry sponsors providing support 'in kind', Halliburton/Neftex, Nautilus, PGS, Schlumberger and Spectrum.
The Centre was awarded and established in 2013 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 28 4-year PhD studentships based in the 17 HEI partners in the 2014/15 entry cohort and 30 students in the 2015 cohort. The CDT will recruit up to a further 35 PhD students for entry in October 2016.
NERC also announced on 16th December 2015 that the Research Council will provide funding for a fourth annual student intake in October 2017 to allow time for a re-commissioning process to be agreed that will apply to all NERC's CDT/DTP partnerships.