A total of one thousand and Ninety (1,090) shortlisted candidates are participating in a one week intensive oral interview process leading to the award of PTDF 2017/2018(PhD) scholarships. The awards cover studies under the Fund’s Overseas Scholarship Scheme, the in-country Local Scholarship Scheme; Split-Site PhD programme as well as the new initiative of tuition free postgraduate study programmes facilitated by partnership agreements with institutions in Brazil, France, Germany and China.

A Central Selection Committee made up of academics and industry experts was constituted by the Fund to conduct the oral interviews for the PhD candidates  based on four broad areas open for sponsorship. These are Geosciences, Environment, Management and Engineering.

Inaugurating the PhD Scholarship Central Selection Committee, the Executive Secretary, Petroleum Technology Development Fund, Dr. Bello Aliyu Gusau, described this year’s selection interview as the first of its kind, being a one stop exercise that will produce beneficiaries in 4 different areas of award.

According to him “It is from this exercise that we are going to derive beneficiaries of the Local Scholarship in Nigerian Universities; secondly, it is from this exercise that we are going to get those who will benefit from the Overseas Scholarship programme, thirdly, it is from this same exercise that we are going to get people who are going to benefit from other collaborations and partnerships that we are building especially in Germany, France, China and other places. Equally important is the fact that it is from this same exercise that we are going to derive the beneficiaries of our Split-Site PhD programme”.

The PTDF Executive Secretary said that in the last one year, the Fund had been working on how best to redirect the traffic of scholarship awardees away from foreign universities to Nigerian universities without losing the required value and standard. “It is in the pursuit of this that we met with Vice-Chancellors of Federal Universities and we had extensive discussions on what needs to be done. We have expressed some of our concerns especially in terms of duration and completion time. In addition to that we are also trying to build our own institutions. We have an Institute in Kaduna -the National Institute of Petroleum Studies (NIPS) and we have developed it to a level that we can inaugurate the Split-Site programme there”.

A breakdown of the participants in this year’s oral interview for selection of candidates for PTDF PhD scholarship, indicates that five hundred and twenty-Nine (529) submitted doctoral proposals in areas of Engineering and Renewable Energy, Three Hundred and Sixty-Six (366) on Environmental Management, and One Hundred and Ninety Five (195) on Computing and Geosciences.

The screening committee is expected to interview and assess the candidates based on the scoring template provided by the Fund which include the quality of their research proposals, its relevance to the oil and gas industry among other criteria set for the exercise.

The Fund from 2001 to date funded the training of 5,024 scholars in various fields related to the oil and gas industry under the Overseas and Local Scholarship Schemes. 3,545 were for Master’s (MSc), 1,156 (PhD) and 323 benefitted from the undergraduate Local Scholarship Scheme of the Fund.