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Schlumberger’s connections to Cambridge University

Cambridge's planet-killer

Schlumberger operates in Cambridge for a key reason: the University of Cambridge, and the unique academic prestige that can be gained through association with it.

Schlumberger's entanglements with the University of Cambridge are some of the most extensive in higher education globally. Schlumberger uses these relationships to subsidise and greenwash its business activities. By funding PhD scholarships, fellowships and a professorship, Schlumberger makes its activities look more legitimate, and constructs a pipeline of engineering talent. Some of the publicly funded projects Schlumberger is involved with are transparently about increasing fossil fuel extraction - giving Schlumberger knowledge and tools to make more profit without assuming the financial risk of research.

Research Centre

Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre opened in 1982, as part of its "global research drive". It was renamed Schlumberger Gould Research Centre in 2012, after Schlumberger's retiring Chairman and CEO, Andrew Gould.

The centre has departments specialising in drilling, chemistry, fluid mechanics, and geophysics. It even operates its own model oil rigs!

While few Cambridge residents have heard of Schlumberger, many will recognise the award-winning architecture of Schlumberger Gould Research Centre's 'tent building' at High Cross, Madingley Road, CB3 0EL. This address is part of the University of Cambridge's West Cambridge Site, with a 70-year lease to the land signed by Schlumberger and the University in 1983. This permits Schlumberger to continue using Cambridge as a base for research into fossil fuel extraction until at least 2053 - 3 years after the world must reach net-zero carbon emissions.

Connections to the University do not stop there, however, as Schlumberger has stated that it "benefits from strong collaborative links with Cambridge University to drive innovation and support its long-term vision."

The centre also provides Schlumberger with additional social legitimacy by sponsoring the annual Mineralogy Society Schlumberger Award which, since its founding in 1990, has been won by two University of Cambridge academics.

Professorship

Professor Raymond Goldstein became the University of Cambridge's Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems in 2006. His research group is known as the Goldstein Lab.

The Goldstein Lab's research is not directly connected to fossil fuel extraction. Instead, it sanitises Schlumberger's reputation through nature-focused academic papers, and lighthearted news articles about ponytail physics. Meanwhile, the Goldstein Lab receives additional funding from the John Templeton Foundation - one of the top funders of the American climate denial industry.

Scholarships and fellowships

Schlumberger Cambridge International Scholarships, funded by Schlumberger in partnership with the University's Cambridge Trust, are valid at all 32 colleges, and "available to PhD applicants in subjects relevant to the work of the Schlumberger Gould Research Centre in Cambridge."

The Schlumberger Foundation's most recent annual report revealed that there were 39 of its Faculty for the Future fellows studying at the University of Cambridge in 2019. This was more than any other university in the world, with Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) trailing behind in second place with its 17 fellows.

Doctoral training

EPSRC Centres for Doctoral Training (CDTs) are PhD research programmes, funded jointly with industry and public money. Schlumberger funds five of these centres at the University of Cambridge:

Research

The Magnetic Resonance Research Centre (MRRC) at the Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology has a history of research collaborations with Schlumberger.

The Laboratory for Scientific Computing at the Department of Physics "is almost entirely commissioned by industry" and Schlumberger is one of their current partners.

Colleges

Churchill College counts the Schlumberger Professor of Complex Physical Systems among its fellows. In addition to this, Churchill has awarded an honorary fellowship to Dr Simon Bittleston - who has worked at Schlumberger for over 35 years, starting this career at none other than Schlumberger Cambridge Research Centre. Dr Bittleston also sits on the board of Churchill's Møller Institute.

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Sources

Research Centre
Professorship
Scholarships and fellowships
Doctoral training
Research
Colleges

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