About the Award

The Frank Arnott - Next Generation Explorers Award (NGEA™) is an international competition where teams of mineral geoscience university students collaborate and innovate to transform geoscience data sets into their interpretation of the subsurface geology and mineralisation targets.

The NGEA™ challenge is open to students who are either currently enrolled in an undergraduate earth science degree or post-graduate research (masters or PhD) at the time of registering for the challenge. Teams are encouraged to be multi-disciplinary and include members from other fields of study (i.e., engineers, data scientists, economists, social scientists, etc.).

The top three winning teams will receive cash prizes of a minimum of CAN$5,000 for the first-place team, CAN$3,000 for second place and CAN$2,000 for third. These amounts may increase based on sponsorship levels.

With the final contestants presenting live at the PDAC 2021 convention, the NGEA™ will contribute funds for the flight and accommodation costs to Toronto for 2 to 4 members of the finalist teams.

The intent of the NGEA™ is to provide students with industry-relevant learning experiences utilising modern, pre-competitive datasets from around the world. The outcome will build a sustainable supply of enthusiastic, skilled geoscientists that can steer the mineral industry going forward.

What are the benefits to participants? Opportunities to collaborate with multi-disciplinary groups from their own academic institution and/or from other universities, gain hands-on experience working with modern data types encountered in real-world scenarios/future employment, improve their leadership and team-based soft skills, receive feedback and recognition by the mineral exploration industry and expand their industry networks and potential employment opportunities.

Datasets for interpretation: Students will be able to select from a set of provided regional high-quality datasets from around the globe.

Software: Educational versions of Geosoft’s Oasis montaj and Seequent’s Leapfrog Geo will be provided to registered teams for working with the selected dataset.

Judging: Independent judges will evaluate the results using the Assessment Rubric (located under Resources - Submission Guidelines) which speak to innovation in data integration and visualisation, application of methodologies new to earth sciences, exploration significance of team findings and discernible evidence of collaboration within the team.

The NGEA™ is proudly hosted by the Prospectors & Developers Association of Canada (PDAC), the leading voice of the mineral exploration and development community. With over 7,200 members around the world, PDAC’s work centres on supporting a competitive, responsible mineral sector. PDAC is known worldwide for its annual PDAC Convention — the premier international event for the industry — that has attracted over 25,000 people from 135 countries in recent years.

FAA 2017 Award Recipients

1st place Team On the Rocks FAA 1.0a

1st place: Team On the Rocks

2nd place University of Saskatchewan FAA 1.0a

2nd place: University of Saskatchewan

3rd place Team Macquarie FAA 1.0a

3rd place: Team Macquarie



The Frank Arnott - Next Generation Explorers Award (NGEA™) is a follow up to the Frank Arnott Award (FAA) 2017, founded in honour of Frank Arnott (1951-2009). Frank was an exceptional exploration industry leader who championed innovative techniques that maximised the value of the multidisciplinary data underpinning exploration campaigns worldwide.

Recognising that effective data integration and visualisation of data remains one of the biggest challenges to the exploration industry, the Frank Arnott Award 'collaborative' challenge launched in 2016 in an effort to encourage innovation in these areas. Participants selected from one of five high quality global datasets and submissions were entered from around the globe in April of 2017.

Evaluated by independent judges, the top three teams in both the Experienced and Apprentice categories were selected and honoured during the prestigious Exploration 2017 Decennial Mining Exploration Conference (DMEC). Each finalist team gave a presentation of their project findings and were formally presented with their final ranking and award on October 24th, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.

Given the success of the Frank Arnott Award (FAA) 2017 and the opportunity that it presented for students worldwide, with the combined efforts of various sponsors and endorsements the challenge will continue.

About Frank

Frank Arnott (1951–2009) was an exceptional exploration industry leader. He championed innovative techniques that maximised the value of the multidisciplinary data that underpin modern exploration campaigns. Frank always looked for new and innovative ways to improve data processing methodologies and integrate multidisciplinary exploration datasets. The development of his GeoExpress 2000 product was the culmination of many years of hard work. It is fair to say that Frank was at least a decade ahead of the industry in his thinking, with many of the concepts he was advancing coming to fruition today.

Frank was never constrained by convention and he was just as happy working on global datasets as he was working at the prospect scale. He was equally comfortable engaging with academia as he was with industry and often sought innovation in unfamiliar areas such as biomedical imaging, bringing back ideas to help solve exploration problems. His enthusiasm was infectious and he was a wonderful mentor, a talented scientist, always passionate and committed to geophysical exploration.

FA at desk