Money for MUN

Colin MacLean
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Memorial University president and vice-chancellor Dr. Gary Kachanoski (left) and Hege Rogno, vice-president of offshore upstream with Statoil Canada, stand alongside a symbolic cheque after announcing a $1-million donation. — Photo by Joe Gibbons/The Telegram

Petroleum research at Memorial University got a shot in the arm Monday.

The sum of $2 million will go to the university over the next five years to create two new research chair positions.

MUN hopes to have the jobs filled by this spring.

The money is a joint investment by Norwegian oil company Statoil Canada and the arm’s-length government organization Research and Development Corp. (RDC). 

This money will allow the university to invest in an area that will continue to see growth in the province and to attract some world-class talent, said MUN president Gary Kachanoski.

“These kinds of resources allow us to go out and recruit the best scientists in this area across the globe,” said Kachanoski.

The two newly hired faculty researchers will work in the field of reservoir engineering, which is basically the study of how to get oil out of the Earth.

In addition to their research, the chairs will eventually facilitate the creation of a new MUN research program based on petroleum engineering. Kachanoski added there is no set schedule yet for the creation of the new program, and for the immediate future the university will focus on filling the two new research chairs.

It is hoped the work of these two people will result in MUN graduates entering the workforce in a growing field, and with its investment Statoil will stand ready to reap the benefits.

Statoil is currently in the exploratory phase of its Newfoundland and Labrador operations. It has several projects underway here and already has a stake in some of the province’s current offshore oil production.

But someday in the near future the company will start producing oil from its Newfoundland and Labrador holdings and when that day comes it will need all the specialized people it can get, said Hege Rogno, vice-president of offshore upstream with Statoil Canada.

“This is a long-term investment,” she said in reference to the company’s oil exploration efforts.

“To get there we need to find the resources in the ground, but we also need the people to help us build. So investment into education and training is of immense value and immense importance to us. So we see this as a win-win,” she said.

Investments like the one made Monday can also lead to further opportunities in both the research and technology fields, said Keith Hutchings, minister of innovation, business and rural development and minister responsible for the RDC.

The minster also praised both of the donors and the university for their foresight and hard work.

“Their combined effort demonstrates the real commitment that exists in advancing the province’s oil and gas industry. This commitment exemplifies what can be accomplished through the cumulative and collective strength of academia, industry and government,” said Hutchings.

cmaclean@thetelegram.com

Organizations: Statoil, Research and Development

Geographic location: Newfoundland and Labrador

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Recent comments

  • Really people
    November 23, 2011 - 17:51

    Do you guys have to complain about every little thing. It's my least favorite part about your province. It seems like all a lot of people do it hold out to their hand to the government and complain about the other. This is a pretty common practice at universities ALL OVER THE WORLD. Far be it for smart people in Newfoundland actually get educated in a field where there are jobs here. Stop complaining, take some responsibility for yourselves and grow up.

  • Richard from CBS
    November 23, 2011 - 12:38

    I agree with Kent and Thump. However we have a corporate run federal government which is probably where the 99% should focus its energy on change.

  • Kent
    November 23, 2011 - 09:41

    I agree... MUN is flirting with questionable acamedic ethics by taking research. money from big business. It has been proven that it taints biases researchers' outcomes. Futhermore, because the NL academic and business community is so small, these influences are felt to a greater degree. No amount of education can insulate people from impropriety, despite what some academics would have you believe.

  • Mister thump
    November 22, 2011 - 12:03

    I expect there will be no string attached that might impinge on academic freedom as is the norm for corporate "donations.".