Thirty-one Nigerian academics and research interns including nine professors and four senior lecturers were last week inducted for a one-year sabbatical programme and research internship in Shell companies in Nigeria at a ceremony held at the Port Harcourt Headquarters of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria (SPDC).
Drawn from 10 Nigerian and one British universities, the 31 participants are the highest in the 40-year history of the Shell Nigeria sabbatical programme and the number represents 40 per cent increase over the 22 intake for 2019 who concluded their programmes last December.
“The annual sabbatical and research internship programmes continue to form key aspect of our effort to contribute to the development of higher education in Nigeria. It is a mutually beneficial relationship in which Shell obtains specialised services from the professors and senior lecturers, while they, in turn, acquire industry experience and exposure to new technologies that can be ploughed back to the university curriculum,” explained Shell Nigeria’s General Manager, External Relations, Igo Weli.
The academics and research interns are from the University of Ibadan; University of Benin; University of Port Harcourt; Federal University of Technology, Owerri; Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State; Rivers State University, Port Harcourt; University of Calabar; University of Ilorin; Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomosho; Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka; and Manchester Metropolitan University in the United Kingdom.
According to Weli, “The programme enables professors on sabbatical within the year to conduct researches in identified areas and share their findings with the company for application in the industry, while the research internship programme involves Master’s and Doctoral degree students who are offered one-year placements to acquire work experience in either SPDC or Shell Nigeria’s deepwater company, Shell Nigeria Exploration and Production Company (SNEPCo), in addition to undertaking researches leading to the award of post-graduate degrees by their respective institutions.
The Shell sabbatical and internship programmes help Nigerian academics and postgraduate students to build industry knowledge and understanding in such fields as biodiversity, petroleum engineering, geophysics, environmental impact assessment, community and occupational health, oil spills remediation, social performance, and oil and gas exploration.