BP announced Monday that it has launched a new $7.2 million scholarship program for talented science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) undergraduates who study at nine selected universities in the UK.
BP said that in its first year the program will provide 90 scholarships, each worth around $7,950, so that 10 scholars at each of nine universities will be sponsored by the company. As the program is rolled out of its initial four years it will be expanded, so providing a total scholarship fund of around $7.2 million. Eventually, annual scholarship funding from the program will amount to around $2.9 million per year.
Universities that have been selected by BP to participate in the scholarship funding program include Bath, Birmingham, Cambridge, Durham, Manchester, Nottingham, Oxford and Strathclyde, as well as Imperial College (part of London University).
BP said that its new scholarship program is aimed at building capacity in skills and knowledge that is "greatly needed in the energy industry" and will focus on supporting the education and development of the next generation of the UK's engineers and scientists. Undergraduate students will be able to apply for a scholarship via on online application form, ability test and face-to-face interview with BP, the firm added.
"This is about taking a longer-term view for us and encouraging really great students who are really passionate about science and engineering to study those subjects at some really great universities," BP head of graduate resourcing Emma Judge told Rigzone in a phone interview.
Judge said that BP wanted to play its part in ensuring the quality of STEM graduates in the future.
"The scholarship program encourages students to do that and, importantly, once they are actually studying those subjects, it will keep them engaged with us," she pointed out, adding that those undergraduates who win scholarships will also gain a head start when applying for internships and graduate positions with BP later on.
How students fund their degree courses became a highly-controversial issue in the UK this year after the country's coalition government, along with more than 60 universities, went ahead with plans to make students pay tuition fees of up to $14,310 (GBP 9,000) per year, compared with a maximum charge of $5,228 (GBP 3,290) previously. As recently as 1998, undergraduates in the UK were not required to make any payments at all for their tuition at university. Thousands of students are expected to protest against tuition fees, along with other issues, this Wednesday in London at a demonstration organized by the National Union of Students.
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