R&D key to success, especially in the oil business

Companies, scientists and engineers are continually pioneering possibilities to keep up with demand for oil and gas. Picture: PA
Companies, scientists and engineers are continually pioneering possibilities to keep up with demand for oil and gas. Picture: PA
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Research and Development (R&D) is vital for Scottish SMEs to sustain success and reap rewards, whilst encouraging staff to develop their full potential.

A passion for ingenuity means you touch Scottish inventions in all walks of life. But there is still considerable potential to improve the conversion rate of good science and engineering into benefits for the economy. This is where Aubin excels.

Oil and gas is a high-technology industry. There is no magic wand to solve the world’s energy troubles and so companies, scientists and engineers are continually pioneering possibilities to keep up with demand.

Clever techniques and technologies are vital to overcome today’s challenges and meet future needs. These innovations are discovered through continual investment in R&D, and for the UK to remain in pole position we must ensure the work is carried out here.

The importance of R&D cannot be over emphasised. Every aspect of exploration and production is impacted by it – this is not always fully recognised in the UK.

Conversely, Brazil realised that national investment in R&D is vital to building local industry and tackling technical challenges. Thus the country made it a legal obligation to invest in R&D, which has proven to be a crucial for encouraging a strong national development policy and boosting social and economic indicators.

If we had followed suit 20 or 30 years ago and put the same emphasis on research for our engineering and science-based industries who knows what we could have achieved?

At Aubin we are committed to investing heavily in R&D. Around one-quarter of our staff are involved in it, which for a company of our size is considerable.

As well as financial benefits, the ultimate prize is personal fulfilment for our staff. We can give young chemists and engineers the chance to see a project develop from the spark of a good idea through rigorous tests in our laboratory and finally to its sale and successful deployment in the field. The freedom to explore fresh ideas is a compelling opportunity for any ambitious technician and will transform the way we think and work. This is a priceless prospect and a valuable investment.

• Paddy Collins is CEO of materials technology and engineering specialists, Aubin.