One of the world's leading integrated energy companies Chevron has invested more than $5.7 million to establish an endowment capable of supporting a Professorial Chair in Gas Process Engineering in perpetuity at The University of Western Australia.
Today's announcement builds on the success and growth of a vital partnership that began in 2008 with the appointment of Professor Eric May to what was then a new professorial appointment.
UWA Vice-Chancellor, Professor Alan Robson, and Chevron's General Manager for the Greater Gorgon Area, Mr Colin Beckett, established the partnership which has since widened to involve UWA's Energy and Minerals Institute and Chevron's involvement in the Western Australian Energy Research Alliance, to build a gas process engineering initiative in Western Australia that has already delivered world-class outcomes.
Professor Robson said the partnership between UWA and Chevron reflected the crucial role of high-quality University research in the energy sector. "The UWA-Chevron partnership is bringing real and substantial benefits to the industry which ultimately flows to the wider community," Professor Robson said.
Chevron's funding to UWA is part of an ongoing commitment to the company's prestigious global University Partnership Program, which also includes Stanford University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Texas A&M University.
Director of the UWA Energy and Mineral's Institute, Mr Tim Shanahan, said the program had enabled UWA to include more industry input into engineering education and was one of many exciting developments in the University's Faculty of Engineering, Computing and Mathematics.
"The program supports the aim of the Energy and Minerals Institute to bring together world-class researchers with key industries to get the best out of mining in our resource-rich State," Mr Shanahan said.
In addition to the funding from Chevron, UWA will provide more than $2.1 million to support ongoing training and research in gas process engineering by Professor May and his team. This new funding builds upon the $2.2 million already invested by Chevron since 2008 to fund the Professorial Chair, two post-doctoral research fellows and two PhD students working at UWA on gas process engineering.
The Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering will become the fifth Industry-funded Professorial Chair established at UWA in perpetuity.
Professor Eric May said program outcomes over the past three years included six industry-run workshops in natural gas processing, LNG production and natural gas hydrates; several seminars describing cutting-edge technologies to industry; thirty $500 prizes and two $5000 scholarships awarded to top students studying gas process engineering at UWA; more than $313,000 invested in new major laboratory teaching equipment; and training of 11 PhD students.
"In addition, in the area of gas processing research we have secured more than $8 million in funding for new projects and facilities, completed five major research projects for local industry, and presented many of the results widely by hosting and attending major international scientific and engineering conferences," Professor May said.
Professor May went on to say that Chevron's foresight would lead to a legacy of sustained, high-quality academic and industry-oriented outcomes that would further enhance Perth's reputation as a world energy hub.
The official signing ceremony for the endowment of the Chevron Chair in Gas Process Engineering in perpetuity will be held at The University Club of WA on Friday (December 9 2011 from 9am-10.30am).