US shale independent Continental Resources and the Harold Hamm Foundation have donated $50 million to create the Hamm Institute for American Energy at Oklahoma State University (OSU).

The institute’s mission is to educate the next generation of energy leaders to further cement Oklahoma’s legacy as a global energy centre, the university said.

Hamm, founder and chairman of Continental Resources, and OSU president Kayse Shrum said the gift will help bring the brightest minds and future energy leaders together with the goal of solving society’s most pressing concerns.

“I see the institute as a game changer — a place where the best and the brightest will come together to responsibly solve the world’s energy challenges. A third of the world lives in energy poverty. We need to fix that.

“And we need to make sure Americans will always have an abundance of reliable, affordable energy for generations to come,” Hamm said.

The initial funding for the institute and project will be a gift of $50 million — $25 million from the Harold Hamm Foundation and $25 million from Continental Resources.

The Hamm Institute will be located in the Oklahoma City Innovation District.

“The generous gifts from Harold Hamm and Continental Resources to establish the Hamm Institute for American Energy will have a transformative impact on OSU and the energy sector worldwide. Together, we will change the trajectory of energy security in the United States,” Shrum said.

Hamm, a native Oklahoman, began his career in oil and gas over five decades ago, starting out with a single oil service truck and a dream.

“Oklahoma is an energy state and Harold is our energy icon,” Oklahoma Governor Kevin Stitt said. “This collaboration between one of our great universities and one of our most innovative and successful energy companies and entrepreneurs will raise the bar for American energy innovation.”