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PhD Position on Numerical Fracture Mechanics
The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam –  GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national research centre for Earth sciences in Germany. With approximately 1.280 employees (including visiting scientists), the GFZ is conducting interdisciplinary research on the “System Earth” and the influence of humans on the planet. As a member of the Helmholtz Association, it is part of Germany’s largest science organization.
For the recently established Helmholtz Young Investigator Group “Advanced reservoir engineering concepts for a controlled utilization of deep geothermal energy in urban areas (ARES)” in Section 4.8 "Geoenergy" we invite applications for a

PhD Position on Numerical Fracture Mechanics

Job Vacancy No. 3986

The research group develops concepts and workflows for enhancing the hydraulic performance of deep geothermal reservoirs while minimizing environmental impacts such as induced seismicity. Research methods include experiments at laboratory, mine and field scale as well as numerical modelling studies. We pursue our research in tight interdisciplinary collaboration across scales and across disciplines together with national and international partners.
The PhD student (m/f/x) will be responsible for performing numerical proof-of-concept studies of advanced reservoir engineering concepts. This involves quantification of the hydraulic, mechanical and seismic response of specific geological settings to different fluid injection schemes and operational constraints. Emphasis will be given to differentiate between the effects of individual engineering parameters and geological boundary conditions and to upscale the results from laboratory scale to field scale. The results will improve the understanding of proposed geothermal reservoir engineering concepts and influence the design of laboratory, mine and field scale experiments.

Your responsibilities:

  • compare, validate and improve different modelling approaches to study fluid-injection-induced seismicity and hydraulic performance of geothermal reservoirs at different scales
  • establish a tailor-made modelling workflow
  • develop upscaling approaches
  • optimize site-specific reservoir engineering concepts based on validated numerical models
  • publish in international peer-reviewed journals and present results at scientific meetings
  • co-supervise BSc and MSc students who perform numerical modelling studies
  • the opportunity to assist with teaching will be given

Your qualifications:

  • Master's degree (or equivalent) in geosciences, geophysics, engineering, mechanics, informatics or equivalent with a strong focus on fracture mechanics, fluid mechanics and/or seismology
  • experience in numerical modelling studies
  • excellent programming skills
  • excellent communication skills
  • willingness to work in an interdisciplinary and international team
  • proficiency in spoken and written English

Starting date: 1st July 2020
Fixed term: 3 years
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Working hours: part-time 75% (currently 29.25 h/week)
Location: Potsdam

You can expect a very diverse and challenging job in an international work environment that is characterized by exciting research projects. The compatibility of work and family life is of particular concern to the GFZ. Therefore, it offers the opportunity for flexible working time and workplaces. Moreover, there is a kindergarten located on the research campus.
The GFZ is a partner with Geo.X (www.geo-x.net), and as such it is well connected with other geoscience institutions in Potsdam und Berlin. Geo.X forms the largest regional cluster of geoscientific expertise in Europe and offers excellent opportunities for cooperation and development.
Please submit your application containing (a) cover letter detailing point by point how you fit the required qualifications, (b) CV, (c) Publication list, and (d) max 2 page research statement online by 10th May 2020 (extended) using the "Apply" button.
Equal opportunity is an inherent part of our personnel policy. Therefore we are particularly welcoming applications from qualified women. Severely disabled persons will be given preferential treatment in the case of equal qualification.
We will retain your application documents for at least three months, even if the application is not successful.
If you have any questions regarding this job offer, please feel free to call Ms Buge at +49 (0) 331-288-28878.


Franca Buge
Human Resources
Building G, Room 429
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28787

Für Fragen zur Gleichstellung steht Ihnen die Gleichstellungsbeauftragte des GFZ, Frau Dr. Weckmann unter Tel. +49 331 288-2824 bzw. per E-Mail zur Verfügung.

Fragen zur Mitarbeit schwerhinderter Personen beantwortet gerne die Schwerbindertenvertreterin des GFZ, Frau Thiel unter Tel. +49 331 288-1648 bzw. per E-Mail.