Abstract

The World Economic Forum's (WEF) Human Capital initiative has been implemented at Satbayev University (SU), Almaty, Kazakhstan for the last two years. Participating in this effort are Chevron, Eni, Shell, and the Colorado School of Mines (Mines). This paper assesses the effectiveness of project components, such as industry guest lectures, summer internships, and program improvement and provides lessons learned for human resources development initiatives.

This paper utilizes the qualitative research method in which data are collected through focus group interviews. Key participants of the study include students enrolled in the WEF program and faculty members. Moreover, the interviewing process involves students that are not part of the WEF program as a control group to measure progress made with additional benefits.

The article explains major challenges of talent development in higher education institutions. It has been determined that the local specifics, especially students' socio-economic and educational background, play an important role on future academic success. For example, students encountered difficulties with understanding course materials and industry guest lectures, which is attributed to English language barriers. Yet, select students have had strong success in the upper-intermediate and above levels. Students' internships revealed that summer experience has greatly strengthened their practical knowledge and skills, opened eyes to industry settings, and more importantly, influenced better planning of career paths. Students reported internships not only provided an industry outlook but also perspectives of continuing graduate studies. It is noted that workforce development requires sufficient faculty development in a case of scarce human resources. The competent and adequate faculty, especially in petroleum engineering (PE), is a prominent problem in most developing oil and gas countries. This issue was articulated among stakeholders, and the project results demonstrate the successful case of company support to raise professional competencies of SU faculty.

This paper covers the human capital development challenges within the WEF project framework, and based on scientific evidence, further elucidates the project-specific tools to propagate similar initiatives around the world. Kazakhstan's experience, as a former Soviet Union state, brings useful suggestions to transform higher education talent development to match the industry-wide standards. It is highlighted that an effective industry-academia collaboration develops from shared visions, values, and goals.

Introduction

The world today is, as is often called, volatile, uncertain, complex, and ambiguous (VUCA) and requires a quick, adaptive, problem-solving response. The oil and gas industry is no exception; indeed, its VUCA environment can be dated back to the Suez Crisis, which has been followed by periodic fluctutations in oil prices until today. Academia, on the other side, is generally conservative, slow-changing, and closed, particularly in the Former Soviet Union countries. Such conditions have led to, and still lead to, a significant mismatch between the industry needs and academic output in terms of the quality and quantity of graduates. There is no single recipe for this kind of problem. As universities are encouraged to develop 4C's: critical thinking, communication, creativity, and collaboration in their students, VUCA reality can be effectively solved similarly by first implementing the industry-academia collaboration.

Industry-University Collaboration

Collaboration is unquestionably important to address society problems and produce innovations. As Plewa et al. (2013) defined, such cooperation provides "the diffusion of creativity, ideas, skills and people with the aim of creating mutual value over time". It can be viewed as a win-win for all involved stakeholders who would attempt to establish, develop and facilitate a relationship for the sake of mutual benefit and strategic growth (Rybnicek and Königsgruber, 2019).

From the universal perspective, academic institutions are an effective platform of knowledge and skill transfer to produce well-trained specialists who do not require a huge investment at the early stage of their careers. Furthermore, universites act as government and industry-funded research hubs for research and development (R&D) activities, and, ideally, develop innovative ideas by challenging the existing ones. Commercialization of new knowledge is appealing to the business community, while the traditional role of universities in developing countries, as in Kazakhstan, is gradually switching from teaching-dominated to research-focused. Therefore, "…patenting, technology transfer offices, science parks or incubators" (Rybnicek and Königsgruber, 2019) can only be achieved after establishing a sustainable pipeline of qualified and creative workforce.

The other important consideration is the collaboration mechanism itself. In most cases, the industry-university alliance is intermittent, short-term and underdeveloped (Rybnicek and Königsgruber, 2019). The engagement of three stakeholders, such as government, industry and the university, is the most successful model of joint performance. This approach allows all participants to create competitive advantages in the achievement of common objectives (Dooley and Kirk, 2007). Moreover, the role of governmental agencies, (i.e., Ministries of Education and/or Energy and/or Labor) is critical, alongside professional organizations, in facilitating such cooperation.

The organizational mechanism has been examined in a greater detail by Plewa et al. (2013), who emphasized the four pillars, such as trust, communication, understanding, and people, as the main determinants of the collaboration success. Earlier study by Bruneel et al. (2010) also confirmed trust, collaboration experience, and the breadth of communication as the three critical factors. Rybnicek and Königsgruber (2019) based on the thorough review of about 500 articles grouped success factors into four main categories (Table 1).

Table 1

Factors, aspects and elements of industry-university relationship

FactorsInstitutionalRelationshipOutputFramework
Elements 
  • Resources

  • Structure

  • Willingness to change

  • Process

  • Controlling

 
  • Communication

  • Commitment

  • Trust

  • Culture

  • Partner selection

  • Image

  • Expectations

  • Experience

  • Role of leadership

  • Team expertise

  • Conflicts

 
  • Objectives

  • Knowledge transfer

  • Technology transfer

 
  • Environment

  • Intellectual property

  • Rights

  • Contracts

  • Geographical distance

 
Recommended practice Flexibility Honesty Clarity Awareness 
FactorsInstitutionalRelationshipOutputFramework
Elements 
  • Resources

  • Structure

  • Willingness to change

  • Process

  • Controlling

 
  • Communication

  • Commitment

  • Trust

  • Culture

  • Partner selection

  • Image

  • Expectations

  • Experience

  • Role of leadership

  • Team expertise

  • Conflicts

 
  • Objectives

  • Knowledge transfer

  • Technology transfer

 
  • Environment

  • Intellectual property

  • Rights

  • Contracts

  • Geographical distance

 
Recommended practice Flexibility Honesty Clarity Awareness 

Project Highlights

The collaboration between the oil and gas industry and academia has recently drawn interest in Kazakhstan, in particular at Satbayev University to carry out a pilot project of the World Economic Forum's to produce well-trained graduates for industry (Syzdykov and Ozkan, 2019).

Up to now, the project has accomplished the following objectives:

  • Revised petroleum engineering curriculum;

  • Improved course materials;

  • Delivered guest lectures (both from Mines’ professors and industry experts);

  • Held faculty development workshops;

  • Organized summer internships at Chevron, Eni and Shell oilfield sites; and,

  • Supported PhD candidates in a form of visiting scholarships.

In addition to the abovementioned, the project has evolved to a strong faculty research support program, including funds for research projects, support of visiting scholar program, faculty awards and student contest programs.

Mines has supplied ten PE courses and supporting materials to SU (Table 2). Moreover, during their visits, Mines professors attended classes, observed teaching, consulted SU faculty on the course materials, including lectures, homework, and exam assignments. This faculty-to-faculty interaction has led to the exchange of ideas and valuable feedback on the delivery of the courses.

Table 2

Mines provided course materials

No.CourseStudent Year
1. Drilling Engineering Reservoir 3rd 
2. Reservoir Rock Properties 3rd 
3. Reservoir Fluid Properties 3rd 
4. Completion Engineering 3rd 
5. Reservoir Engineering I: Primary Recovery 3rd 
6. Reservoir Engineering II: Secondary and Tertiary Recovery 3rd 
7. Reservoir Engineering III: Reservoir Simulation 4th 
8. Well Stimulation 4th 
9. Petroleum Facility Design 4th 
10. Multidisciplinary Design 4th 
No.CourseStudent Year
1. Drilling Engineering Reservoir 3rd 
2. Reservoir Rock Properties 3rd 
3. Reservoir Fluid Properties 3rd 
4. Completion Engineering 3rd 
5. Reservoir Engineering I: Primary Recovery 3rd 
6. Reservoir Engineering II: Secondary and Tertiary Recovery 3rd 
7. Reservoir Engineering III: Reservoir Simulation 4th 
8. Well Stimulation 4th 
9. Petroleum Facility Design 4th 
10. Multidisciplinary Design 4th 

An academic partner (Mines) and project sponsoring companies, such as Chevron, Eni, Shell offered workshops and guest lectures on technical and non-technical topics (Table 3). Technical topics included lectures with in-class activities for faculty and WEF group students, while workshops covered professional faculty development topics.

Table 3

Workshops and guest lectures covered by the industry experts and CSM

Guest Lectures/WorkshopsDelivered byFor studentsFor faculty
Production Engineering: General overview/Acid Stimulation technology in Tengiz Chevron Yes No 
Well Logging: Reservoir Surveillance/Novel technology in Tengiz Chevron Yes No 
Closed Hole Circulation Drilling Chevron Yes No 
Tengiz Formation Water and it's impact on D&C Operations Chevron Yes No 
Petroleum Reserves Classification and Evaluation Eni Yes Yes 
Energy Economics Eni Yes Yes 
Climate Change Eni Yes Yes 
Primary Recovery Shell Yes Yes 
PVT, Simulation, Forecasting Shell Yes Yes 
Integrated Waterflooding Shell Yes Yes 
Individual Plan Development Shell No Yes 
Coaching Shell No Yes 
Course and Syllabus Design, Innovative Teaching Methods and Assessment Mines No Yes 
Project (Problem)-based Learning Mines No Yes 
Guest Lectures/WorkshopsDelivered byFor studentsFor faculty
Production Engineering: General overview/Acid Stimulation technology in Tengiz Chevron Yes No 
Well Logging: Reservoir Surveillance/Novel technology in Tengiz Chevron Yes No 
Closed Hole Circulation Drilling Chevron Yes No 
Tengiz Formation Water and it's impact on D&C Operations Chevron Yes No 
Petroleum Reserves Classification and Evaluation Eni Yes Yes 
Energy Economics Eni Yes Yes 
Climate Change Eni Yes Yes 
Primary Recovery Shell Yes Yes 
PVT, Simulation, Forecasting Shell Yes Yes 
Integrated Waterflooding Shell Yes Yes 
Individual Plan Development Shell No Yes 
Coaching Shell No Yes 
Course and Syllabus Design, Innovative Teaching Methods and Assessment Mines No Yes 
Project (Problem)-based Learning Mines No Yes 

Methodology

The methodology for overall assessment of the program includes using a knowledge, skill, and attitude (KSA) assessment described in the following paragraphs.

Knowledge, Skill and Attitude (KSA) Framework

The assessment of an individual's KSA is part of an organization's development of human resources. In particular, the KSA concept relates to training and development at the workplace and is required to perform tasks. In order to understand KSA, the definition of each element is provided by reference to different sources.

According to Acene (2013), knowledge is defined as: "an organized of facts, principles, procedures and information". Krishnaveni (2008) classified knowledge into three elements, including (1) declarative, (2) procedural and (3) strategic. The first type of knowledge defines the storing of information in our memory. Procedural knowledge refers to questions about how and when to implement stored information, while strategic knowledge is used to plan, track and alter goal-oriented activities. The author further sets out concepts of skills and attitudes as follow: "it is the general capabilities to perform a set of tasks developed as a result of trainings and experience. A skill is a proficiency at doing something, beyond just knowing about it… Attitudes are employees’ beliefs and opinions that support or inhibit behaviour".

The author applied to the concept of competence the ability to perform tasks without actually understanding them. There are two steps in the growth of skills. The compilation stage is linked to the lower level and the achievement of the high level of ability called the automatic stage. The last stage is important to raising the number of failures at work.

With regard to attitude, the Krishnaveni explains that the attitude can hold positive or negative feelings about objects or events (e.g. organizational value). This aspect of KSA is important and powerful as it affects the motivation, happiness, actions and, ultimately, success of the individual. Kantane et al. (2015) differentiate knowledge and skill from attitude in the context of evolution. Knowledge and skills are more dynamic in a growth stage than the individual's attitude.

Several researchers have incorporated the theory into higher education. (Litchfield, 2009) The three elements expected by the workplace should be included in the development of instructional events, tasks, evaluation, tests, teaching methods and the curriculum program. Litchfield recognizes that improvements in teaching and evaluation are a long cycle and a daunting challenge. It is important to reflect the shifts, the welcoming headers of the institution, the specific mindset of the instructor and the planning. Comprehensive, consistent and systematic growth of the faculty contributes to the academic success.

Methodological Background

Qualitative research that has a deep understanding of the impact of the WEF on student and faculty development was chosen for this assessment. The focus group approach to research design was acceptable between the qualitative methodology for conducting a thorough study and the development of comprehensive outcomes. Four focus groups included undergraduate students who were both participants and non-participants of the WEF project and faculty members who taught either or both to the WEF cohort and/or non-WEF students (Table 4). Four group interviews were conducted with a total of 17 participants and lasted 60-75 minutes each. All candidates were carefully and precisely selected, taking into account age, gender, place and academic achievement to provide a diverse feedback. The faculty members of the focus group included both lecturer and professorship positions.

Table 4

Interviewees

Focus GroupNumber of participantsType of research
WEF cohort (4th year) Focus group 
Non-WEF students (4th year) Focus group 
WEF faculty members Focus group 
Non-WEF faculty members Focus group 
Total 17  
Focus GroupNumber of participantsType of research
WEF cohort (4th year) Focus group 
Non-WEF students (4th year) Focus group 
WEF faculty members Focus group 
Non-WEF faculty members Focus group 
Total 17  

Results

The results of the interviews and other assessments provided several insightful outcomes from both the student and the faculty groups.

Student Development

The results of the interviews show that the WEF initiative is having a positive impact on Kazakhstan's petroleum society and is a fruitful project. The students see the project as a breakthrough in the current state of the education system leading to improved academic excellence quality. Some call the WEF initiative "great investment and contribution in our own".

WEF and non-WEF faculty members, in particular, highlight the advantages of the resources provided by Mines, opening up opportunities for cooperation with Mines and leading oil and gas companies. The WEF cohort further confirmed the identical view. The study shows a partnership that helps to network closely with Mines, touch on the industry's practical problems, feel the culture of the industry, develop technical skills, run the industry-oriented research project, enhance the academic program's quality, and level institutional recognition. Additionally, the faculty claims the project has brought skyrocketing enthusiasm, professional accountability and high employability to the students. Both students from the WEF cohort and non-WEF group point out the Mines’ lecture materials and industry summer internships as remarkable and useful for their future careers.

Interestingly, for two groups of students the development within KSA is diverse. The WEF Faculty highlighted the selected students' high curiosity, ambition, responsibility, and motivation. When the cohort joined the project, these students welcomed great opportunities for future career planning amid coming difficulties in language term and high academic requirements. In addition, they assume that English-educated classes could provide higher employability in multinational companies and prestige than the non-WEF group. A non-WEF group of students had also high motivation and intellectual ability, according to some faculty interviewed. This view is based upon the observations of the course materials by similar students. The English language barrier was the only impeding factor not to join the project. This point was supported by students not in the WEF group. These students said they were reluctant to leave the confortable classroom environment dominated by Kazakh / Russian.

On a behavioral level, the faculty describe that most students lack maturity related to life and career, such as, goal-setting, action planning and taking responsibility for such. It was reasoned that such behavioral attidues could be derived from earlier childhood, family status, past school setting and current financial circumstances. Some undergraduates perceive that immaturity as being related to the generation: those born before and after 2000. While there is no scientific assertion, the younger generation is more motivated and aware than the previous peers.

Knowledge Dimension

The WEF project's four main components played a major role in extending student academic expertise such as group projects, guest lectures, course materials, and internships (Figure 1). The numerous opinions regarding the most beneficial sources of information have been established. The WEF cohort agrees that group projects are the most successful way to learn, expand and apply information because of high engagement and a clear understanding of the roles among team members. Non-WEF students believe the most important tools were the course content.

Figure 1

Four main types of activities within WEF project.

Figure 1

Four main types of activities within WEF project.

Group projects

Students in the WEF group stated that group projects have an important effect on the development of their learning. Providing flexibility in the selection of topics and team members was essential to their performance, outcome, and fulfilment. The highly competitive environment was in particular a major driver of their development. Demanding faculty requirements led to acquiring PE software knowledge (e.g. Petrel, Eclipse, and Techlog). All faculty interviewed share the same opinion. On the other hand, the non-WEF students have not mentioned group projects in their list, which might be due to the lack of students and faculty interest in such a professional learning method.

Course materials

The WEF project began with the enhancement of the PE curriculum and, in particular, the course materials to meet the current needs of the industry. With that aim in mind, as indicated in Table 1, Mines prepared and passed ten courses to SU faculty. These materials, according to the WEF faculty, saved their time greatly from designing and creating new courses and, more importantly, introduced a modern teaching paradigm, distinct from the heritage of the Soviet Union. In addition, the SU faculty appreciated the quality of the courses well prepared, organized, realistic, thorough and challenging. It results in a new way of thinking and seeing the courses. From the perspective of WEF students, course materials were demanding, which was accepted because it made students strong in facing the future industry challenges.

Guest lectures

Guest lectures were primarily delivered in English for SU students and faculty supported by experts from the sponsoring companies and Mines. WEF faculty acknowledge high-quality materials bearing state-of-the-art technical advances, perspectives, unique industrial problems and field cases within Kazakhstan 's giant fields. Some guest lecturers covered petroleum engineering fundamentals that signaled students to understand and raise their interest in fundamental knowledge and theoretical background. The non-WEF faculty and students think the language barrier is restricting the number of listeners and thus causing low interaction and comprehension. Appropriate context to understand the lectures was needed. Nonetheless, because of their importance, the faculty is pleased to communicate with the experts to receive advice and transfer information to the students. WEF students emphasized advantageous delivery method of full two-three days with combination of theoretical and practical parts and additional motivation towards the future career. Several students contend, however, that guest lectures were overly long. All interviewed students expressed their satisfaction with guest lectures.

Internships

The organisation and the actual internship experience have been highly regarded by the WEF class. In general, the internships tend to be beneficial in acquiring practical experience, academic and industrial understanding, and future careers. The faculty members see opportunities to upgrade existing knowledge and share technology and methods between students and colleagues. Though internships significantly influenced the development of skills and attitudes rather than the knowledge development dimension.

Skill Dimension

Since the WEF pilot project aimed at the students’ overall preparedness for the industry, skills mastery has been as crucial as the knowledge dimension. The activities shown in the Figure 1 each contributed to the development professionalism and soft skills competency. These skills are graphically illustrated in the Figure 2.

Figure 2

Skill development within WEF project.

Figure 2

Skill development within WEF project.

The WEF cohort reported that group projects and associated competition played a key role in developing competencies, such as time management, decision-making, and presentation skills. Moreover, group projects helped to integrate their leadership skills, active listening, teamwork, selecting peers, assigning project work based on the individual member's capability and knowledge. Several students have mentioned acquiring research skills, such as technical report writing, document skimming and scanning, as well as learning of coding.

Many communication and networking skills were improved during summer internships and guest lectures, according to interviewees. This can be closely related to the sound advice industry professionals and Mines faculty gave to students. They also confirmed that reaching out to professionals in appropriate settings has impacted their self-confidence and desire to become an engineer.

Non-WEF students, on the other hand, have stated the need to diversify composition of teams so that they can sharpen necessary skills for group projects. This can be explained by the fact that, in SU as in Kazakhstan in general, Kazakh, Russian, and English-speaking groups study separately. While recent policies allow for such a combination, students are reluctant to establishing effective communication outside their preferred speaking language.

Non-WEF students also found that group projects have contributed to the development research skills, such as scientific literature review, critical thinking, and data collection and analysis. It also confirms what the WEF students have said. All groups agreed that they had an unformed skills toolbox that evolved over the course of the project. Since the student body that did not participate in the WEF pilot project is represents the majority, the above assertion might be positively biased, but offers an optimism to keep the momentum and include as many undergraduates as possible.

PE faculty shared a common perspective on the progress of students and stated that it would be a matter of time to see fruitful outcomes. Having three full semesters of PE classes with heavy learning workloads definitely impacts student experience. Several faculty attempted to include case-studies instead of mid-term and/or final exams, and agreed that the industry involvement would significantly change a game plan. Faculty's vision is that such engagement can lead to student productivity and problem-solving skills. Finally, the faculty noted that the majority of Kazakhstani students are reserved in sharing their thoughts and opinions, to communicate with peers, and to work as a whole team. It is suggested that minor courses be added to improve students’ soft skills and be taught by industry experts.

Attitude Dimension

The WEF pilot project has also implied a significant shift in the attitudes of the students. Their role, professional responsibility, lifelong learning, and self-study have specific global impacts (Figure 3). These three components are discussed separately and address the "what, how, and where" questions.

Figure 3

Attitude development within WEF project.

Figure 3

Attitude development within WEF project.

Global impact of their decision

The first and most important aspect of attitudes is how students understand the effect of engineering on society. Summer internships, undergraduate projects and student participation in extracurricular activities, such as SPE events, the ‘Student Energy Challenge’ competition organized by the KazEnergy Association and Shell Kazakhstan, the ‘Student Digital Fest’ are believed to be the seed of engineering decisions. Final-year diploma projects include economic and environmental aspects, which also aim to raise awareness among students about the role of engineers. Furthermore, a new "Environmental Management" course has been proposed to be introduced in the PE curriculum.

Professional responsibility

Summer internships and group projects have had the most influence on the attitude of the student to professional responsibility, according to the faculty and students. The study shows interaction with industry through internships allows the students to be cognizant of their professional role. Some students have had special attention or mentorship from the company engineers and this has had a positive impact on their attitude. For example, the student interviewees referred to warm welcoming meeting with top management, having individual mentors during the internship, and even meeting at the airport upon arrival. In addition, communication with company experts during guest lectures is the factor that contributed to the growth of students. Accordingly, all focus group participants accept that these acts contribute significantly to increasing the sense of obligation during their studies and future careers.

Lifelong-learning and self-study

WEF students point out that the WEF project has built a competitive environment that brings together diverse and powerful performers into one community. The primary factors for promoting lifelong learning and self-study were the high intensity of competition and group projects. Industry and the world as a whole demand that employees constantly learn new knowledge and skills. It is also essential for the scientific community to embrace the value of collaboration and lifelong learning. On the other hand, the WEF faculty has stated that SU PE undergraduates lack a sense of lifelong learning and will require additional guidance from the faculty.

Discussion

Due to this analysis of the overall WEF program, several challenges and suggestions for both students and faculty aspects have arisen.

Challenges and Suggestions

Notwithstanding a big step forward, a number of interviewees described several obstacles in terms of achieving high results in student development. In this regard, students point out an overwhelming amount of course materials, insufficient time to learn and represent information, excess class size, issues in the coordination and distribution of courses, lack of expertise and ability in teaching proficiency. A few students expressed their inability to improve skills and expertise because the university did not provide laboratory experiences. Petroleum process simulators and visualizers are therefore recommended to "feel and understand the oil and gas industry" faculty said.

Both students and faculty faced difficulties in converting units (SI vs. Field Units), translating into Kazakh / Russian languages, and interpreting some of the course notes and guest lectures. They said, "Good translated content yields good results." The students complained about guest speakers who did not have an interactive approach with the audience. The faculty suggested to adequately match the teaching workload and format with the students’ comprehension of class materials.

In all aspects of KSA development, all interviewees recognize that the industry support of academic processes is needed. For instance, the industry is suggested to fund research contests, offer real industry cases for undergraduate diploma projects besides technical lectures, organize meetings to discuss engineering profession and inspire students.

Students and faculty expressed an opinion that all classes in the curriculum must be in English. This is explained by the increased chance of employability in a multinational company and readiness for the global job market. In reality, the greatest concern of students was to find a job in the current worldwide oil and economic crisis.

As shown in Table 1, the relationship between industry-university in dimensions of flexibility, honesty, clarity and awareness was challenging throughout the project. These aspects are highly recommended for a successful realization of the project and further development of mutual partnership.

Faculty Development

The students expressed gratitude to the faculty for their contribution to their growth. One student of the WEF said:

"The faculty members have great backgrounds. To contribute to education, they choose a university, not an industry."

A non-WEF student has also added:

"Some professors teach not only technical knowledge and skills, but also how to contribute to the community (planting trees, helping orphans, etc.)"

WEF professors noted that the transformation of society begins with the development of the faculty. Khlaifat and Qutob (2013) claim governmental support of universities plays a crucial role in development of a state's innovative capability. There is need to increase expenditure on academia as practiced in developed countries. The government is seeking to raise the wages and reputation of educators, but it is still inadequate. The study found that professors are struggling with financial difficulties. Low-paid salaries in the education system are the main reason for high turnover and low motivation. As a result, it is difficult to retain, in particular, young professionals who are more inclined to higher-paid industry jobs. It is proposed that social security services and tax exemptions be used as a solution. The students argue that when there is no enthusiasm and encouragement in educators, it adversely affects student success. The faculty overload and lack of time was also described as a key factor preventing them from continuing professional development.

The interviewed faculty clarified that all stakeholders should be involved in the growth of the faculty. The sponsorship of SU PhD candidates to carry out their research in the leading US institutions has been a positive start. Recent transfer of facilities for drilling fluids laboratory from Baker Hughes, a GE company and KazPetroDrilling is helpful to run high-quality research and increase research opportunity. The faculty believes that further cooperation between the industry and university in the field of PhD support should continue and bring together eminent Kazakh scientists in the field of petroleum engineering. This will also allow the university to increase its research capacity and to carry out industrial projects. Having Mines as an academic partner helps to improve research through joint grant applications, peer-reviewed publications and faculty exchange programs.

Conclusion

This study contributes to PE literature by showcasing the outcomes of the WEF project in the development of students and university faculty in Kazakhstan. We have deliberately focused on aspects of human capital's knowledge, skills and attitudes aspects. Each component of the WEF project has played an important positive role in the KSA dimension. The participants generally agree that the results of the project are progressive and that the challenges are temporary and solvable. Only the unity of efforts between all stakeholders was needed.

The WEF initiative has created a new era of cooperation between the industry and the university in Kazakhstan, where such ties are uncommon and often end at the embryonic stage. In addition, oil prices are falling and the financial implications of the current global pandemic threat are lagging between the two sides. Despite this, the SU faculty and students firmly believe that the project has a great future and success. The project can be further scaled up to the state level if appropriate government aid is given. The authors and the SU faculty have made an effort to help to improve local human capital and share these lessons with the global community.

This paper was selected for presentation by an SPE program committee following review of information contained in an abstract submitted by the author(s). Contents of the paper have not been reviewed by the Society of Petroleum Engineers and are subject to correction by the author(s). The material does not necessarily reflect any position of the Society of Petroleum Engineers, its officers, or members. Electronic reproduction, distribution, or storage of any part of this paper without the written consent of the Society of Petroleum Engineers is prohibited. Permission to reproduce in print is restricted to an abstract of not more than 300 words; illustrations may not be copied. The abstract must contain conspicuous acknowledgment of SPE copyright.

Acknowledgements

The authors are grateful to Chevron, Eni and Shell for the WEF project's financial support, as well as the various company respesentatives for their feedback on individual project components.

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