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21 April 2017, 05:27
A university has signed a multimillion-pound partnership agreement with oil and gas giant Total to boost research and education.
The five-year agreement between Heriot-Watt University and Total will be worth a minimum of £2.5 million, the education institution said.
The Partnership Agreement covers global research and development as well as educational activities undertaken jointly by Total and Heriot-Watt, including sponsored PhD and post-doctoral studies, guest lectures and presentations, internships and scholarships.
Scotland's First Minister Nicola Sturgeon visited the Edinburgh Campus of Heriot-Watt on Thursday, where the agreement was signed by Elisabeth Proust, Managing Director of Total E&P UK, and Dr Gillian Murray, Deputy Principal, Business and Enterprise, at the university.
Ms Sturgeon said: "Ensuring the future of Scotland's offshore industry is a key priority for this government and it is hugely encouraging to hear the positive impact this partnership will have for both the oil and gas sector and our university system.
"Not only will this provide an excellent opportunity to harness the technological advances Scotland's universities are so famed for, but it is also set to help ensure Scotland's oil and gas sector will continue to prosper for future generations.''
The partnership will also cover seminars and training events, career, business and education forums and conferences and university and industry-based site visits.
Dr Murray said: "This is the latest development in a long-term and much-valued partnership between Total and Heriot-Watt University. Such partnerships and joint ventures are key to the way the university operates and are of great value to development and the wider economy.
"This Partnership Agreement covers education as well as research and development, underpinning the future success of the offshore oil and gas industry and the Scottish Government's economic priorities. With this in mind we are particularly delighted that the First Minister was able to join us to celebrate the signing.''
During their visits the First Minister and representatives of Total E&P UK met with key academics involved in Total-funded research, development and education, and toured high-tech laboratories and centres at the university's Institute of Petroleum Engineering.
Ms Proust said: "Total is proud to announce our five-year partnership with Heriot-Watt University. Today's ceremony formally acknowledges and strengthens Total's long-term commitment to research conducted by leading academics at this world-renowned university.
"It is vitally important for Total and Heriot-Watt to continue to work together to progress, develop and embrace new and innovative technology through research projects that will help define and shape the future of the offshore industry.
"We are delighted that the First Minister was able to come and see for herself not only the scale of our ambition but also some examples of the type of robotic technologies which will help the transformation of the oil and gas industry.''
Total is also a sponsor of Heriot-Watt University's year of Robotics.