Free pizza, a Ferrari and three free trips to the oil sands in a private jet were just part of Shell Canada's forum announcing a $1.15 million investment to the University of Calgary's Institute for Sustainable Energy, Environment and Economy Mon., Feb. 26.
"This is one of many such announcements that have been made by Shell and that will be made by Shell," said ISEEE managing director Dr. Robert Mansell.
The investment is in the name of ISEEE but will be funneled to ISEEE's partners in the areas of business, engineering, earth sciences, environmental design, natural resource law and information technology.
"There are two pieces [to the investment,]" said Mansell. "The $750,000 is for equipment. The other announcement that was made today is for the Shell Experiential Energy Learning program. That is a program where we will allocate $50,000 a year for student field visits and activities and $50,000 per year for student projects, something like [the] solar car."
Mansell estimated that 25 to 40 students per year will get the opportunity to participate in the SEEL field program. He specified the $750,000 will be used to purchase research equipment for associate professor of petroleum and chemical engineering Dr. Harvey Yarrington and his students.
"[Yarrington] is doing specific work on improving the technology for bitumen extraction," said Shell Canada President and CEO Clive Mathers. "This is absolutely vital work and he's a world class professor so we're helping sponsor him."
Mathers said a stronger relationship would benefit both parties.
"I do not see this as a process of commercialization," said Mathers. "I see this as a process of relationship. I have to be visible as a representative for my company and I think it's entirely proper that I should make people aware of the careers that we offer. We've had a relationship with the university since the beginning."
Mathers said that fieldwork is important to students because it gives them practical experience about what they learn in the classroom.
"Calgary is our hometown," said Mathers. "The university will rely on us in terms of fieldwork and we will rely on them for pure research, which will ultimately lead to better technology."