Introduction to Center

The UTEP Department of Geological Sciences has developed a unique educational idea: Entrepreneurial Geosciences. We say that the ‘discovery’ phase of resource development is unique, and we propose a Center of learning devoted to this phase. This is the entrepreneurial and high risk-taking stage of resource development and production. Certainly, subsequent entrepreneurial actions add to the value or lower the cost of the product.

Executive Summary (The Extended Description can be found here)

Entrepreneurial geoscience is different than Silicon Valley incubator activities. An accompanying Table is available which elaborates these differences.  Exploration for natural resources, oil/gas and minerals, is a unique activity.  Success means discovery, which is achieved by creative application of diverse skill sets, often by a multidisciplinary team.  How is discovery achieved?  What can be done to nurture the discovery impulse and the technical and social capabilities of people?

1. Establishment of the  Center of Entrepreneurial Geosciences (CEGS) at UTEP

Center for Entrepreneurial Geosciences is established at UTEP (January 1, 2014) and is designed to become a nationally and globally significant Center for the development of entrepreneurial leadership and action in mineral and energy exploration. The Center is built on the assets of the Department of Geological Sciences, University of Texas @ El Paso, UTEP, which has a long history of mineral and petroleum exploration. Since 1975, it has been a premier Department on the UTEP campus to grant Doctoral Degrees.

The Center consists of an Academic Program coordinated with a series of professional educational and enrichment/development activities. Certificates of Competency, known as Certificates, are a major focus of the program, and PhD and Masters Degrees can be accessed for students in the Center. Certificates are a modern day educational commodity, and are evolving into important educational tools.  It is recognized that a Certificate with a one year involvement is of unusual magnitude

2. Entrepreneur

  1. What is it?
  2. Can we measure it?
  3. Where/how do we find it?
  4. How do we nuture it?

These are basic questions, and the Center is continually probing their answers.

3. Governance 

Governance is designed to achieve a successful long term relationship of UTEP with the exploration industry.  The External Advisory Committee is a pathway for industry participation, and Certificates are a tool.

4. Justification 

The Center is designed to equip our students with the skills needed to thrive in the highly competitive careers available in the geoscience industry. Globalization of the mineral and energy exploration industry has had several effects, 1) multiple small companies carry out the job of effective exploration, which includes the acceptance of higher risk; 2) successful entrepreneurs must be more broadly trained; in addition to understanding highly technical (science and engineering) knowledge they must be capable of decision making in business, management, accounting, and personnel, and on the sociology and anthropology of sites where explorationists may leave footprints. 3) International and interpersonal communication skills are needed.

“What took me 20 years to learn the hard way, maybe they (the students) can learn some of that in a year,” says Bill Sheriff.

5. Finances

The Center will develop, be successful, and be limited by its financial backing.  Financial assets are being sought to establish and carry out the objectives of the Center.  Donations go to an endowment and other immediate needs; the Center ideally in the future will operate only on interest income from those gifts.  A significant sum is sought. Funds will be handled within the University System. 

6. Students

Capable, partially empowered, motivated adults are anticipated to be applicants to the Center.

Students may have a Bachelors Degree in the following backgrounds:

  1. geological, metallurgical, or mining,
  2. science or engineering,
  3. business or economics,
  4. anthropology or social sciences,
  5. others.

Scholarships are being developed. A significant enrollment is expected.  Several students are already in the Program.

7. Curriculum

A one year Mini-Master is the normal endeavor and accomplishment.  Twenty four credit hours are required which takes two semesters.  UTEP has a license for EduMine, and those courses are available and required.  A UTEP course is required on Entrepreneurial Geosciences each semester, and a short, detailed, research product of relevant interest caps the second semester.   Certificates of Competency are offered on a variety of topics, and some of these may be attractive to industry, and thus to students.  Parts of the Curriculum have been taken to other countries as Short Courses, and expansion of this idea is anticipated. Masters and Doctoral degrees in Entrepreneurial Geosciences are available through normal channels within the Department of Geological Sciences.

Would you not want to be a part of this Center?  The Center seeks students, donors, speakers, data, and advisors.

More detailed information about the Center can be found here.