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Stavanger, 07.02.2019

DEA brings top researcher to Norway

TEAM: DEA and the University of Bergen join forces to boost research and development.
Rainer Helmig

University of Bergen and DEA Norge hire renowned German professor for big push in Applied Mathematics.

The University of Bergen and specifically the research group Porous Media at its Department of Mathematics have partnered with DEA in a common effort to boost the field of Applied Mathematics.

Porous Media works on issues concerning flow and transport in porous media (solids that may contain liquid or gas). This research field has close ties to the oil and gas industry.

With support from DEA, a three-year honorary professorship has been established in honour of the late Professor Magne S. Espedal, who established and led the group for many years.

The Espedal legacy

Magne Espedal supervised 36 Ph.D. students and nearly 100 MSc students in Applied Mathematics. Many of these former students now work in the oil and gas industry.

For the next three years, Professor Rainer Helmig from the University of Stuttgart will have the task of continuing the scientific legacy of Espedal.

“We are very grateful for the opportunity to establish an honorary professorship in memory of Magne Espedal, and for having Rainer with us on our team. The group has produced groundbreaking research results that are attracting international attention. Rainer knows the work well already and will help strengthen the research and connect the group to the world,” says Professor Jan M. Nordbotten, one of the initiators of this honorary professorship.


Geir Terje Eigestad, who works for DEA as a reservoir engineer, has a Ph.D. from the University of Bergen, where he worked together with Nordbotten, supervised by Magne S. Espedal, for several years.

Eigestad first heard of the intention to establish this honorary professorship in memory of Espedal while at the University of Bergen as an opponent for a dissertation in 2018. He decided to help the University get in touch with DEA’s research and development department. 

“DEA quickly recognised that a partnership and the honorary professorship would fit very well with the company’s own offensive strategy in research and development. I am proud that we invest in this, and happy that DEA sees the value of connecting us to these types of research environments,” he says.

Smart solutions

Porous Media conducts free and undirected research on industrial mathematics, for instance on issues linked to predicting the occurrence of oil and gas on the Norwegian continental shelf.

The group’s approach builds on a close partnership between academia and the industry, and the idea that great solutions lie at the intersection between technology, innovation and mathematics.

According to Eigestad, the group is firmly established as global leader in the area.

“As a researcher and petroleum engineer for DEA, I have several examples of complex issues that have been solved through this type of partnership,” he says. 


Professor Rainer Helmig is an internationally renowned researcher. In addition to his full-time employment at the University of Stuttgart, he leads two collaborative research centres (CRC). He has also maintained an active partnership with the research group at UiB for many years.

The programme contract was officially signed and the honorary professorship formally begun at the University of Bergen Wednesday 6 February.

Research and development have always been an important area of focus for DEA, and its laboratory in Wietze, which opened in 1958, is still a key driving force in the company’s business development. In addition to its own worldwide research community, DEA partners with several universities and research institutions in the country and overseas. 


Photo - from left: Sigmund Selberg (Department of Mathematics), Geir Terje Eigestad (reservoir engineer in DEA), Helghe K. Dahle (Dean, UiB) og Jan Martin Nordbotten (Professor with the Department of Mathematics). Photographer: Jens H. Ådnanes/UiB.


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