BP commits $4 million to UT engineering research

Wynne Davis

British Petroleum announced Thursday that it will give $4 million to the University to fund research focused on industry projects in the oil and gas fields in various departments of the Cockrell School of Engineering. 

John Ekerdt, associate dean of the engineering school, said these projects will allow faculty and students to work with BP engineers to investigate solutions for real issues that BP encounters.

“We believe that addressing America’s energy challenges requires long-term partnerships between the private sector and leading educational and scientific institutions,” BP spokesman Brett Clanton said. “UT’s world-class strengths in engineering and geosciences made it a natural fit for this partnership.”

A joint governance board will select the projects that start off the partnership and any additional projects that are funded from BP’s commitment.

One of the initial projects called “Human in the Loop” will look at the human element in taking preventative measures as real-time signals are provided to a machine that a person monitors in case something were to go wrong, Ekerdt said. This specific project will involve analyzing and working with the control of processes that make sure the machine operates correctly.

“I think that this is an example of how universities and industry can work together to solve problems that are real and that people can watch and see the implementation of their solutions,” Ekerdt said. “It’s a very good example of use inspired research.