By DARA BUTTERFIELD
The Wood Foundation – set up by local oil magnate Sir Ian Wood – has donated £4.5 million to Robert Gordon University to ensure it becomes a global centre of excellence in oil and gas and remote healthcare.
The Oil & Gas Institute, which will receive £3.1 million of the donation, aims to become a world-class centre of excellence in oil and gas, building on the thinking, creativity, experience and facilities which have been built up through more than 40 years’ experience with North Sea oil and gas.
This follows the announcement of the foundation’s £500,000 donation to the university’s Oil and Gas Institute in 2013.The university will match fund the donation with a major investment of its own and seek further support from other donors.
The Institute will develop four distinct knowledge centres in drilling, operations, decommissioning and business excellence. These will be led by industry experts and academics who will work closely with industry on the research and education required to maximise recovery of the world’s hydrocarbon resources and to make decommissioning commercially and environmentally effective.
Sir Ian Wood said: “RGU is renowned for its strengths in oil and gas and remote healthcare, both of which play a vital role in our local economy. The Wood Foundation is pleased to be able to support the University in its quest to build globally recognised centres of excellence through the development of international research, bespoke industry solutions, collaborative research and Masters levels’ programmes.
“By attracting industry experts and internationally renowned academics to lead the teaching, consulting and research programmes, the Oil & Gas Institute will be able to provide a valuable resource for the industry world-wide.
“More importantly, it will help secure Aberdeen’s future as an international oil and gas hub long after our own resources have been depleted.”
Professor Ferdinand von Prondzynski, Principal of RGU, said: “We are extremely grateful for the huge generosity of The Wood Foundation. Sir Ian’s leadership in the oil and gas industry is universally recognised, most recently in the response to the Wood Review on maximising recovery in the UKCS.
“It is hugely significant to RGU to have his support as we develop our ambitious plans for the Institute and create investment and continuing prosperity in the North-East of Scotland.”
The initial donation of £500,000 by the Wood Foundation allowed RGU to establish the Oil & Gas Institute and appoint its first director, Paul de Leeuw, who said: “The knowledge centres, which will be led by industry experts recruited from the sector, will provide the overall direction for RGU’s oil and gas teaching and research programmes.
“With the UK Continental Shelf decommissioning market growing rapidly in the next few years we see this as a key area for RGU to build its capability in terms of both teaching and research.
“Alongside the knowledge centres the Institute will recruit teams of leading academics to pursue market-orientated world class research making it a significant player and employer in the sector.”
The Wood Foundation was set up in 2007 to invest both money and expertise in making a lasting difference to people and communities in Africa and Scotland by helping them to help themselves.