The BP Institute is a major new research initiative at Cambridge University funded by BP AMOCO and involving five departments: Earth Sciences (which will provide the administration), Applied Mathematics, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering, and Engineering. The Institute will consist of a University Officer from each Department; a Professor, who will be the first Director, and four Lecturers, whose posts will be endowed by BP AMOCO. The officers will hold their posts in the relevant departments, where they will do their teaching. Their research groups will, however, be housed within the Institute at the Department of Earth Sciences

Since the University Officers will hold their appointments in one of the Departments involved, rather than in the Institute, it was felt to be particularly important for the long-term health of the Institute that it should provide a congenial working environment, and that it should be thoroughly integrated into the existing community of scientists at the Department of Earth Sciences. These concerns have governed its size, location and design.