ESF@10 – An Interview with Dr. Ian Jones

ESF@10 – An Interview with Dr. Ian Jones

18 December, 2019

The mission of the EAGE Student Fund goes hand in hand with EAGE’s
education offering. With the help of our instructors, the association
supports lifelong learning across disciplines. Many of EAGE’s instructors
also support the EAGE Student Fund through donating or volunteering for
our activities. For the ESF@10 series, we interviewed Dr. Ian Jones, long-
term EAGE member, short course instructor and supporter of the ESF.

Ian works in Chertsey, UK at ION Geophysical as a geophysical advisor.
His work relates primarily to migration and velocity model building, but he
is also involved as a teacher at ION as well as the wider geoscience
community. In the latter position, Ian is also delivering many short courses
for EAGE, both supporting the community and the EAGE Student Fund with
his work and contributions. Ian has been a member of EAGE since 1984 and
was the recipient of the 2018 EAGE honorary life membership.

You know EAGE and its activities through and through. Why is the
mission of the EAGE Student Fund important today?

In higher education today, the costs of study and associated cost-of-living
are commonly very high, to the extent that some students might be
discouraged from undertaking university studies. Bursaries and travels
grants can make a significant difference to an individual and live up to
their potential. Consequently, from the viewpoint of our professional
society – the EAGE – providing resources and opportunities to encourage
students to enter our profession and facilitate ongoing career development, is vital.

What kind of challenges do you see for potential students interested in
earth sciences?

As already noted, the costs associated with studying, whether that be in
committing to a course in the first place or in attending EAGE events during
study, can be prohibitive. Some may be lucky enough to draw on the
support from relatives or, more likely, that a form of student loan is
available. Either route can make students feel discouraged at the thought of
accruing significant debts. EAGE supported bursaries and travel grants help
mitigate some of these concerns in a very real way.

At the same time, for any organisation such as the EAGE there is always
pressure to keep the membership subscription dues to a minimum. This,
plus the tendency to focus on immediate needs may cause investments in
the student community may be overlooked. Hence, spreading the load of
fund-raising for the next generation is a prudent strategy, whether that be
in encouraging individuals to donate, adding a small surcharge to the
general membership fee, or in soliciting donations from companies. Once
such funds are secured, the EAGE will be in the position to continue to
deploy the relevant resources to the benefit of existing and future students.

In addition to the growing costs of academic studies, what are the
challenges facing students in geoscience and engineering today? How
can the Fund help?

Perhaps the largest issue looming on the horizon for geoscientists today is
the bad press given to anyone associated with the hydrocarbon industry. As
an industry, we have been abysmally lacking and woefully inadequate in
demonstrating and highlighting the positive contribution that our work
makes to society worldwide – access to energy, heating, lighting, transport or
more subtle contributions via advances in chemical engineering and
medicine. Instead, rather than being seen as a valuable contributor to
society, we are often vilified.

As earth scientists we know de-carbonization is necessary, and our industry
is strongly supporting and developing alternative energy solutions. In the
meantime however, it is counter-productive to denigrate the contribution of
our industry to society. Through the EAGE Student Fund there are
opportunities to spread a message of more positive, accurate and
constructive information – to highlight the good our industry does and to
encourage participation within it. By working together rather than pitting
groups against each other we can make the strongest advances.

Thank you very much for these insights! To conclude: why do you think
people or organizations should contribute to the EAGE Student Fund
today?

An investment in education is an investment in the future. Such a focus
secures not only our own wellbeing, but also that of the next generation. As
mentioned, students and the industry face challenges which we need to
tackle. In the area of geosciences and geotechnical engineering, the EAGE
Student Fund offers such a mechanism to achieve this.

Dr. Ian Jones teaches EAGE Education Tour 13: Velocities, Imaging, and
Waveform Inversion – The Evolution of Characterizing the Earth’s
Subsurface. Learn more about his short course. In addition, he
presents and chairs at a variety of sessions at EAGE conferences.

About the author

Maarten van Schaik administrator