Our School is building on century-old traditions as one of the first comprehensive schools of mines in the world. Education in mineral engineering and earth science fields began in Nevada in the 1880's and the Mackay School of Mines was established in 1908. The Mackay School of Earth Sciences and Engineering was re-organized in 2004 as a school within a new College of Science at the University of Nevada. The synergies produced through this reorganization have greatly enhanced Mackay's academic and statewide public service programs enabling our School's faculty and students to work closely with the departments of biology, chemistry, mathematics and physics.
Currently, Mackay is expanding its horizons into new science and engineering disciplines A few of these new disciplines include space geodesy, mining life-cycle research, risk and opportunity management for the minerals industry, aerospace remote sensing including surveys of the planet Mars, earthquake risk and engineering analysis, slope stability of active volcanoes, geographic information systems applied to geothermal resource assessment. Today, our School brings in almost $10 million in grants and contracts in these exciting fields and many others.
Our School is fortunate to have over $13 million in endowments, a portion of which supports almost 300 undergraduate students each year. Each summer the minerals industry and government agencies provide internships for students to get valuable experience in various fields. The minerals industry industrial cooperative programs provide increasing levels of responsibility in these summer jobs, and some of our students end up working as professionals by the end of their senior year. This is a great way for both students and their industrial employers to get to know one another by the time graduation occurs.
The minerals and energy industries are currently enjoying their greatest expansion in the last three decades; as a result, our graduates are in high demand. Currently, there is a four-to-one gap in demand and supply for graduates in mining and geological engineering. This year, approximately 100 mining engineers will graduate, yet the demand is for at least 400 placements in the minerals industry. Geologists, geophysicists, geochemists and hydrogeologists are in critical short supply in fields related to resource exploration and development. Geographers with training in geographic information systems (GIS) are in increasing demand. Studies by professional societies reveal that in the next five to ten years approximately 50% of the current minerals and energy workforce will retire. Thus, we expect the demand/supply shortfall to be maintained for the next two decades.
Today, the minerals and energy industries are world-wide enterprises. They offer exciting, professional careers throughout the world, challenging opportunities for advancement and the opportunity to work in different industries. Similarly, the earth sciences offer the opportunity to work on challenging problems in environments throughout the world. Some of our graduates are even collecting ice cores in the Antarctic to study climate change and environmental analogs to Mars.