2008 Joint Meeting of The Geological Society of America, Soil Science Society of America, American Society of Agronomy, Crop Science Society of America, Gulf Coast Association of Geological Societies with the Gulf Coast Section of SEPM

Paper No. 5
Presentation Time: 2:40 PM

A Paradigm Shift for Industry-Academic Collaboration: The ExxonMobil (FC)2 Alliance - Fundamental Controls on Flow in Carbonates

AGAR, Susan M., ExxonMobil Upstream Research Company, PO Box 2189, Houston, TX 77252-2189, susan.m.agar@exxonmobil.com

Over the last two decades, major oil companies have pursued and tested various approaches to R&D in response to changes in their business environment. Universities have also explored different research models in response to adjustments in government funding and expanding opportunities to build alliances. These changes prompt further questions concerning collaborative research relationships between industry and academia and the approaches that deliver most value to all parties.

Over the last year, an innovative scheme has been developed within ExxonMobil Upstream Research to achieve cutting-edge research objectives within a collaborative industry (ExxonMobil)-academic Alliance. This experiment involves a thematic research framework in the European region to address "Fundamental Controls on Flow in Carbonates". The (FC)2 framework is designed to be a dynamic research community involving academic participants selected on a competitive basis. Individual researchers and students are funded by ExxonMobil to undertake research relevant to an overall, broad research theme. However, in contrast to more traditional consortium models, external researchers are encouraged to design joint research projects with ExxonMobil researchers and all parties are urged to seek innovation at the boundaries of their respective disciplines through flexible research planning and frequent community interactions.

Using an options approach, ExxonMobil is enabling academic and ExxonMobil researchers to explore potential collaborations at relatively low initial cost to all parties. Directed by scientists, this grass-roots Alliance allows quick identification and support of new ideas and the natural growth and termination of research relationships as mutual interests determine. A similar approach is used in the Pharmaceutical industry but the application in geosciences is novel, can offer more potential benefits for all Alliance parties, and can deliver broader social and scientific impacts overall.