$1 Million Gift from NOV Boosts UH Engineering Research

The Donation Will Allow Graduate Students to Work with NOV Engineers

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A gift from NOV will allow students earning their PhDs in mechanical engineering to work alongside the company’s engineers on some of the biggest challenges facing the energy industry. Photo: Getty Images

National Oilwell Varco has donated $1 million to the Cullen College of Engineering at the University of Houston, a gift that will allow students earning their PhDs in mechanical engineering to work alongside the company’s engineers in a state-of-the-art facility on some of the biggest challenges facing the energy industry.

The money will be used to support graduate students to work at a new facility built by NOV in South Houston.

“NOV is very pleased to continue its partnership with the University of Houston on advanced research,” said Clay Williams, National Oilwell Varco Chairman and CEO.  “The talented and creative minds we get to work with at UH bring the most cutting-edge thinking in academia to solve our customer’s challenges.  Our partnership accelerates technology solutions in our market place while also supporting the education of the next generation of engineers for our industry.” 

The project will address issues including:

  • The effects of corrosion and erosion of CO2 in subsea production applications
  • Better predictions of the expected lifespan of equipment in the high pressure and high flow real-world environments
  • Developing big data and analytics tools to predict lifespan, condition and performance of critical drilling, production and pumping components

"This generous gift will give graduate students at the Cullen College of Engineering the opportunity to work side by side with NOV's world-class engineers to find solutions to real-world challenges,” said Joseph W. Tedesco. Elizabeth D. Rockwell Dean of the Cullen College. “They will be working on issues that are critical to the future of the industry, impacting both the safety and the efficiency of operations.”

The project will target PhD students working with Matthew Franchek, mechanical engineering professor and founding director of the UH subsea engineering program. Franchek said the students will benefit from access to new facilities and equipment, as well as the opportunity to work with data generated in the field.

The donation is eligible for $750,000 in matching funds from the Texas Research Incentive Program, created by the Texas Legislature to encourage the private sector to work with public universities.

“It will allow us to do things we have not been able to do before,” said Franchek, who noted the gift is part of an ongoing partnership with NOV that has offered a number of advantages for engineering students at UH.  “The relationship is growing.”

The gift contributes to the goal of raising $1 billion in the UH “Here, We Go” Campaign, the first major fundraising campaign in more than 25 years in support of University priorities, including energy initiatives.

Eloise D. Brice, UH vice president for advancement, said the gift bolsters the important relationship the University shares with the region it serves.

“NOV has been an important partner for UH and for its energy-focused programs,” Brice said. “This gift continues that relationship and adds to the University’s ability to prepare our students for the future.”

Paula Myrick Short, UH senior vice president for academic affairs and provost, agreed that the partnership with NOV will expand opportunities for students.

“The ability for our graduate students to work with state-of-the-art equipment to search for solutions to industry problems is an exceedingly valuable opportunity,” she said.