The University of Western Australia is pleased to announce the appointment of Professor Phil Watson to the role of Shell Chair in Offshore Engineering to strengthen research and industry collaboration in WA’s offshore petroleum industry.
Professor Watson succeeds Professor David White, who is taking up a new position at the University of Southampton. Since the Shell Chair was established five years ago, UWA research has been applied to 10 Shell projects worldwide, advancing research into important areas such as vessel motion under wave action and the development of oceanographic and geotechnical data.
Shell is committing to a five-year extension of the Shell Chair, which was created to strengthen WA as a hub for offshore engineering excellence, and has grown significantly through the 2016 launch of the $10 million five-year ARC Research Hub for Offshore Floating Facilities, known as the OFFshore Hub.
UWA Director of the Oceans Institute Professor Erika Techera said the appointment of Professor Watson and the investment by Shell for a further five-year collaboration with UWA highlighted the importance of high quality cross-disciplinary research and education to address the challenges and opportunities presented in the ocean.
“Professor Watson’s appointment and Shell’s support of UWA shows that expertise and investment are continuing to grow, as UWA works to solve the challenges of offshore energy production,” Professor Techera said.
Jan Flynn, Lead Metocean Engineer at Shell Australia, and Shell’s Manager of the Shell-UWA Chair initiative said the Shell Chair activity over the past five years was an example of the value that university-industry collaboration could create.
“Shell’s business has benefited from research created by the Shell-supported team and UWA’s offshore engineering group. We look forward to continuing our partnership for the next five years,” she said.
Professor Watson completed his PhD at UWA and has held high profile roles in the consulting sector. He was formerly a director of Advanced Geomechanics (later Fugro AG) in Perth, and helped create research-inspired engineering solutions that have been applied across the oil and gas industry in Australia and globally. He joins UWA from Fugro where he was the Global Director of GeoConsulting.
Professor Watson said he was pleased to be appointed to the role and relished the chance to be able to partner with Shell on research that would benefit and impact the future of the offshore petroleum industry.
“From my industry experience working at the intersection of research and practice, I see the clear value created by close partnerships such as the Shell Chair and the OFFshore Hub,” he said. “I look forward to leading and promoting UWA’s world class offshore engineering team and helping advance research in this important area.”
Professor Erika Techera (Director of the UWA Oceans Institute) (+61 8) 6488 7263
Jess Reid (UWA Media and Public Relations Advisor) (+61 8) 6488 6876