David Fraser Halliday

Research Scientist

"From a technical point of view, in the first few years I continued to work on similar topics to those I worked on for my thesis"


University of Edinburgh


Doctorate, Geophysics

What made you originally apply to SLB?

I was studying for a PhD in Geophysics at the University of Edinburgh. Schlumberger was the industrial partner on the project and I had the opportunity to spend time working with researchers at Schlumberger Cambridge Research and WesternGeco (Geophysics branch of SLB) in Cairo. I had also completed an internship with WesternGeco in Oslo prior to starting my Postgraduate studies. I knew from those experiences how much research was valued within the organisation, and I was quite clear in my mind that Schlumberger was the sort of company I would like to work for. When the opportunity to apply for a research post came up I jumped at the chance.

When did you join SLB and in what role/location?

I joined in 2009 as a Research Scientist in Cambridge, UK.

What have your first few years entailed?

I was enrolled in the ADVANCE, which is a three year training programme for new hires in the Research, Engineering, Manufacturing, and Sustaining parts of the organisation. This ran alongside my day-to-day duties as a research scientist, and essentially gets all the new hires up to speed with everything Schlumberger does, and what is expected of us as Schlumberger employees.

From a technical point of view, in the first few years I continued to work on similar topics to those I worked on for my thesis. The goal being to develop a practical solution to a particularly difficult problem in land seismic exploration. The process involved taking a piece of research and developing it to the point where it could be transferred to one of the business segments. I learned a lot going through that process and it was very rewarding.

What is the best part of your current role and working for SLB on the whole?

Each day in the research centre seems to be different, as there is a lot of variety in the type of work that we do. Today I might be running some modeling or doing some data processing, tomorrow I could be playing with some computer code, or even popping outside to do a seismic experiment. Working for a large company like SLB also means that I am “plugged in” to a large network of scientist and engineers. This in turn means that there is interest in my research from different parts of the organisation. I think that having that level of interaction as a researcher is really important - especially getting feedback from the people that might one day be making commercial use of something I developed or contributed to.

Where do you see your career advancing over the next 5 years?

In the next 5 years I would like to still be in a role within research - despite only being new to the company my current role has given me a relatively high level of visibility and responsibility and that is something I have enjoyed. Schlumberger also has an excellent Technical Career programme, and over the next 5 years I hope to progress further in that programme.

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