A leading early career scientist from The University of Western Australia has been appointed to a new Woodside Professorship in Computational Geoscience at UWA as part of a five-year program to establish the State as a world centre of excellence in geoscience.
Associate Professor Jeffrey Shragge, who gained his PhD at the world's No. 1 university in computer science - Stanford University - will lead an alliance between UWA and Perth-based oil and gas company Woodside to develop new computational geoscience research toward improved understanding of WA's vital North-West Shelf energy resources.
Associate Professor Shragge said Perth was experiencing an exciting convergence of major international science projects, giving Western Australia an increasingly high profile in the global scientific research community.
"WA has the National Geosequestration Laboratory Project, the Square Kilometre Array to build the world's biggest radio telescope and the Pawsey Centre Supercomputer, together with billions of dollars of investment on North-West Shelf oil and gas projects," Associate Professor Shragge said. "It's an opportune time to take on this valuable new role."
"Computational geoscience, and seismic imaging in particular, allows us to make three-dimensional models of the earth's structure that can be interpreted to assist in exploring and developing oil and gas resources, as well as assessing geologic suitability for carbon geosequestration projects. Models can be used to quantify natural hazards such as earthquakes, tsunamis, landslides and analyse mining activities."
UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Paul Johnson said the scientific world was changing as research collaborations became increasingly multi-faceted.
"The University plays a vital role in the global community as we educate more people from across the world and seek solutions to some of the world's biggest challenges," he said.
"Partnering with Woodside provides UWA's Schools of Physics, Earth and Environment, and our Faculty of Science a strategic opportunity to enhance the University's research capacity and educational programs in computational geoscience. It enables us to reach higher levels of overall performance compared with best practice worldwide.
Woodside's Executive Vice-President Technology, Feisal Ahmed, said Woodside was pleased to support UWA's commitment to education and research in the oil and gas industry.
"The appointment of a Woodside Professor in Computational Geoscience aligns with our focus on being a leader in innovation and technology," Mr Ahmed said.
"UWA research in this area helps to build capability and drive innovation in the local oil and gas industry, and supports our efforts to continue discovering and developing new energy reserves.
"We welcome Associate Professor Shragge's appointment and look forward to continuing our strong partnership with UWA."
The aim of the funded Professorship is to enable high-quality research into computational geophysics and high-performance computing, teach and supervise undergraduate and postgraduate students in that discipline, and provide additional support to UWA's Centre for Petroleum Geoscience and CO2 Sequestration (CPGCO2) and UWA's Woodside-Chevron Chair in Geophysics, Winthrop Professor David Lumley.
Woodside will provide UWA with funding to help fund the Professorship for five years. Professor Lumley was instrumental in creating the new position and is also contributing significant co-funding. The UWA Geoscience Foundation strongly supports the new position.
Nicola Holman (EMI Communications) (+61 8) 6488 7586 / (+61 4) 19 716 311
Daniel Clery (Woodside Communications) (+61 8) 9348 3944 / (+61 4) 67 716 190
Michael Sinclair-Jones (UWA Public Affairs) (+61 8) 6488 3229 / (+61 4) 00 700 783