A new masters degree programme is being launched to drive forward innovation in the oil and gas industry following collaboration between the Oil & Gas Innovation Centre (OGIC) and Scottish universities.
The MSc in Oil & Gas Innovation will be coordinated by the University of Aberdeen and will initially be available through seven Scottish universities, with the first intake in January 2016.
The research-led programme will focus on developing new technologies with UKCS applications in exploration, production and decommissioning and is aimed at individuals with industry experience or companies with innovative ideas that they wish to develop.
The Scottish Funding Council has committed to funding 30 candidates in the first year of the programme, which will be available as a one-year full-time degree or part-time over two or three years.
The need for the new MSc programme was identified following a gap analysis of the higher education innovation landscape undertaken by OGIC and Scottish universities in the autumn of 2014. In the first instance it will be available through the University of Aberdeen, Robert Gordon University, University of the Highlands & Islands, University of St Andrews, Heriot Watt University, University of Strathclyde and Glasgow Caledonian University. Other institutions are expected to join the programme as it develops.
While primarily research-led, the programme will include modules on business innovation and technical modules related to the specific areas of research being pursued by candidates.
OGIC provides a single access point to the knowledge and capabilities of Scottish universities for the oil and gas industry. It can part-fund and provide management support to projects with the potential to deliver technology solutions to the exploration, production and decommissioning challenges facing the UKCS and assist SMEs to identify other public funding sources. OGIC effectively links more than 2,500 oil and gas operators and service companies to 450 academic staff and researchers in Scotland working in oil and gas related areas.
Key aims for OGIC are to stimulate knowledge exchange and research activities and to provide an environment that supports the development of the next generation of business innovators, academics and entrepreneurs in Scotland.
Ernie Lamza, OGIC’s chief operating officer, said: “The new MSc programme is an exciting development that stems from identifying a real need within the industry and academic communities in Scotland. OGIC and the participating universities believe that it will have a significant impact on innovation in the oil and gas sector and the Scottish Funding Council’s commitment to fund places reflects this.
“Its targeted, research-led programme will help to stimulate and fast track innovation related to technologies with oil and gas applications by harnessing the world class expertise within Scotland’s universities and our business community.
“The programme is particularly aimed at individuals and companies with research ideas that require development and is tailored to candidates with industry experience as well as the relevant academic backgrounds,” said Mr Lamza.
Professor Judith Masthoff, from the University of Aberdeen, said: “The University of Aberdeen is at the forefront of energy-related teaching and research, and we are delighted that OGIC has selected us to co-ordinate the new MSc in Oil & Gas Innovation.
“The oil and gas industry is a key part of Scotland’s economy, and it is vital that our universities use their abundant skills and expertise to ensure a long-term future for the industry, in what is an increasingly challenging global marketplace. Our universities play a major role in driving innovation in the sector, and the new MSc programme will build on this through the development of new technologies, and by training the next generation of industry leaders.
“We look forward to working with our counterparts across Scotland on this exciting new programme,” said Professor Masthoff.