Good luck. I have been trying to gather university and professor support for research and teaching in mineral deposits. Despite 3 years of high metal prices, there are only ~120 grad students in the USA in mineral deposit programs, with graduation rates of 40-50 per year and far below the USA need. We have ~100 professors of EG in the USA, but only about 1/2 have active research and grad programs, and most have retrained into other areas.
Mark Barton and I helped to get started a USGS research grant program (Mineral Resource External Research Program), that got up to $1 M in FY2006 but got cut back to $250,000 last year. We've done this through National Association of State Universities and Land Grant Colleges, the university association that advocates for public funding in Washignton, DC. Mark and I have served as officers on the Mineral and Energy Resource Section fo the Board of Natural Resources... and have made a dozen trips to DC to make this a reality. AASG (Am Assoc of State Geologists) led by Jon Price has been a great resource.
We have been disappointed in that the minerals industry has shown little interest in education/research, and that professors in general are overcommitted and don't have time to visit DC or write letters. We've had about 20 professors write letters, and 7 or 8 visit DC over 5-6 years.
Mineral resource training and research depends strongly on good undergraduate and graduate level training in MPG, as well as field geology, structural geology, and stratigraphy/earth history. Mineral resources are a natural selling point for MPG studies, and we should be allies. One of the major shifts in the last 20 years has been from resource based-geology to process-based and human-based geoscience: Both MPG and Mineral Resources have suffered with this change, but both are relevant. MPG underpins all Mineral Resources and a variety of other basic earth science issues of concern to the public. We cannot address these issues without MPG training and research. And, it is socially relevant. Copper, my principal area of research, is consumed annually at a rate of 20 M tonnes, worth today in excess of $150 Billion..... this amount of copper is about equivalent to what has been mined over a period of ~100 years in the world two biggest mines, Bingham, UTAH, and Chuquicamata, Chile. And, the rate of use corresponds to 8 lb/person per year globally, and more like 30 lb/year in the USA. Todays cars used ~100 lb Cu, hybrids about 150 lbs, compared to the 1960's use of 50 lb. Several other trends (solar, wind, hydro) power also increase Cu use.
So, we do need to band together, and support federal research and teaching in MPG, and related science like mineral resources. Igneous petrology and geochemistry is doing well on the research/training front, in part because of active processes related to volcanoes and human impact; metamorphic petrology is dying and mineral deposits and mineralogy are in trouble as well. I have taught optical min/petrography and mineralogy for 10 years, and welcome all help.
edittextuser=1587 post_id=2095 initial_post_id=0 thread_id=413