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Perceptions, expectations, transparency and reputation: A view from across the pond AGI Leadership Forum – Sept. 2008 Public-private Partnerships in the.

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Presentation on theme: "Perceptions, expectations, transparency and reputation: A view from across the pond AGI Leadership Forum – Sept. 2008 Public-private Partnerships in the."— Presentation transcript:

1 Perceptions, expectations, transparency and reputation: A view from across the pond AGI Leadership Forum – Sept Public-private Partnerships in the Geosciences Colin P. North University of Aberdeen, Scotland, UK

2 Cause for concern? GSA Sedimentology Division: Fall 2007 –Teaching of Sedimentology forum at Seds and suds icebreaker How meet industry need for sedimentologists? –Where will they come from? US supply too small? –How build and support quality teaching? –What about the smaller colleges? Perceptions – of duties, roles –Industry too passive? Academe too demanding? Expectations – of funding, responsibilities –Entitlement, or required to be earned?

3 Perceptions & expectations Industry comments: –We pay our taxes too... its a Society problem... –Its not our business, shareholders dont want it... –Too many, too small colleges to be practical... –Going to UK to get employees University comments: –Not enough public money available... –Good science (& teaching) deserves support... My thoughts: –So what do we do in UK? How overcome issues?

4 Outline Aberdeen University - a window into UK hydrocarbon and mining industry interactions –Typical of major universities with vocational aims, e.g. Leeds, Manchester, Imperial College What we do for industry –Training, research, public education Why does it work? –Record of success? Is it sustainable? When does it go wrong? –Threats and weaknesses Generic lessons and observations

5 Aberdeen - wheres that? Aberdeen Edinburgh Glasgow London 500 miles

6 University of Aberdeen Over 500 years old –Geology taught since 1860s, Mineralogy bias –Steadily rising geology student numbers ~ 15 years against background of falling science intakes Petroleum industry links? –Petroleum Geology MSc since 1973, first oil 1975 –Ambivalent to petroleum industry until ~1987 –Now heavily linked at all levels We had to work at it, it didnt just happen –Oil Capital of Europe – we make good use of this but it is not itself essential to success Companies follow excellence

7 Geoscience Products Each year, we produce graduates: –35+ BSc Petroleum Geology or Geoscience –25+ MSc Integrated Petroleum Geoscience (IPG) –16+ MSc Oil & Gas Enterprise Management –10+ PhD in industry-relevant topics 90% MSc and PhD output goes immediately to industry (mostly petroleum) –Some MSc to PhD; a few PhD stay in academia Industry-relevant research activity –Basic and applied topics, publication crucial

8 Geoscience Products US$ 8M annual research income –~75% industry (e.g. JIPs), ~25% government (KTP) Areas related to energy –Deep-water frontier group –Injected sands group –Terrestrial reservoirs group –Fluids: organic geochemistry, inclusions … –Non-destructive characterization of materials Earth systems science: environmental change –Climate change and terrestrial erosion –Extreme events and meteorite impacts

9 Exemplar research theme: Injected sands group Geological recognition of subsurface remobilisation of sand Reinterpretation of core, logs, & seismic Better reservoir modelling and more efficient engineering

10 Industry research success? Have original ideas & vision, clear deliverables –Make industry aware of them !!! Interactions throughout project life –Not just limited to funding and final report –Mutual understanding of needs, expectations –Much more time-consuming than if public funded Defining problems – analysis of their data –Honest dialogue on business problems, potential (dont over-egg the pudding) Technology transfer –Testing ideas on their projects, training

11 One-year MSc in IPG Tightly structured and prescribed, intensive –Developed, delivered just for this MSc program –Full-time, immersive... life-changing ! Taught components – 7 months –Instruction, practicals, fieldwork, teamwork –Geoscience plus industry-expected generic skills Individual technical project – 4 months –Mostly placed with a company (some out of town) Recruit best students we can get –Keep up quality by cap on class size & origin –Importance of reputation, studentships

12 One-year MSc in IPG Focus on industry destination, needs –The nature of the oil industry, business awareness –Role of geoscientists in that industry Dealing with uncertainty Pragmatism or technical perfection? –Communication with related disciplines Needs and vocabulary –Preparation for interviews, assessment centres –Ready for polishing through on-job experience MSc students often outperform PhDs –Impression at interviews –Readiness for employment

13 Industry interactions Studentships to our MSc IPG course –Industry direct to Department (~10) –UK Government advanced training (5 NERC) –Industry for specific persons (e.g. 3 Thai, 1 Brunei) –Overseas government schemes (3 PTDF Nigeria) –Yearly arrangements, not endowments In-kind support –Software: Landmark, Kingdom, Petrel (>$10M) Direct contributions, small and large: –Tutors, data, core store, exercises, projects Catalyst for industry awareness of Dept.

14 Student centred training Primary aim is shaping a human resource –Not about scientific output

15 Recipe for success? Done best when: –Know industrys needs... –and have own vision, so a leader not a follower –Regular dialogue with industry: transparency –Work with industry on curriculum and delivery –Creates good reputation –Will survive economic cycles

16 Comes easily? You benefit from your location !! –Perception? Envy? Yes... –e.g. drilling centre, core store and no... work hard to get all this support –And have to keep working at it every year Depends heavily on personal contacts –Projects not automatic, studentships re-justified –Rotating staff, duties in companies Depends on impressions created –Employability of graduates, quality of training

17 U.S.A. Masters MS in N. America generally research degree: –One year mix of generic courses, & frame project –One year research and dissertation (mini-PhD) –Same model as most of Western Europe –But Calgary setting up UK-type version !! Differences, from industry perspective? –Business understanding negligible or accidental Varies with supervisors contacts, research topic –Students more mature (older !) May know much more about some things But lack breadth of knowledge –Two-years not guaranteed, often slips

18 PhD training Three-year research degree: –No coursework, minimal transferable skill courses –Assessment by thesis (coherent single argument) –Writing may slip into year 4, but hard on longer Govt. funding for PhDs denied if average >4 years –Often straight from BSc (age 21), finish by age 25 Typically part of larger theme: –Project determined in advance, advert for students –Funding in place in advance, usually for 3 years –Full-time - rare teaching-assistant finance in UK –Industry relevance & skills gained highly variable

19 U.S.A. PhD Typically 4 to 5 year research degree –Year 1 for project formulation, coursework –Can be more a collection of papers than thesis Funding more piecemeal –But have teaching assistant scheme to get started Differences, from industry perspective? –As UK, business awareness & skills very variable –Much more mature, often age on exit –Deeper science knowledge, often have papers out –More polished, more experienced

20 Decision-makers ? Interaction with public bodies –More limited, diluted in UK – public sector small –No explicit training for public sector geoscience –Professional registration still rarely needed Government measures of –Research rating = overall institutional status –Affects Govt. funding (but not industry?) –Teaching quality = little effect on MSc and PhD Government policy? –Routed through professional body - e.g. GSL –Indirectly influence through industry friends

21 Cultural differences USA = personal responsibility paramount –Alumni much more likely to help Europe = looks to society, government –History of state oil companies forced to fund –Altruism taken into account e.g. in licensing –State funding means alumni less active Extreme case of industry funding: –Petronas Malaysia fund a whole university

22 How increase support? Is this where AGI Societies have key role? –Networking, showcasing, facilitating? –Wrapped up with Q: What are Societies for? Government has little money to give out –Universities are oil industrys research labs Highly dependent on personal contacts –No such thing as institutional reputation? Get self and ideas known: –Conferences, papers - personal company visits –Events at institution: workshops, open-days –Be in, or set up, industry-relevant meetings

23 Personal industry links: Society industry links:

24 Problems we face PhD students (good ones) hard to recruit –Going to industry via MSc –Academic future not attractive Post-doctoral researchers hard to find –Sucked into industry after PhD –Disillusioned by lack of faculty posts, lifestyle, pay Faculty staff (good ones) hard to recruit & keep –Consequence of above, global competition –Industry-skilled ones drawn away –Institutional reputation and vision crucial

25 Lessons ? Manage perceptions and expectations Academe not entitled to industry funding –Not industrys business to do fundamental training –But everyone benefits from sharing responsibility Trust and respect –Openness and open-minded = transparency –Taking the time to understand each others needs Importance of reputation, record of delivery –Have to keep working at it, this is time intensive –Does it require critical mass in academic units? Strategic alliances with other institutions?

26 Thank you for listening

27 Reviewing All journals struggling Reviewing expected, but not respected (credited) by employers –So is what gets the push (or done badly) when time is tight Real pain for editors, slowing up publication –Commonly have to approach at least 6 (often 8 or more) before get 2 signed up Ultimately bad for everyone –Science inadequately checked

28 Background Personal experience: –with BP (oil and coal) for 8 years –18 years university research and teaching –teaching, supervision and curriculum adviser from BSc to PhD –8 years as Director of the MSc in IPG –industry-funded research projects, both single and consortium (JIP) funded –convener industry-supported research conferences –involved with SEPM and AAPG; editor JSR 4 years


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