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Prof. Dr. Brian Horsfield

Prof. Dr. Brian Horsfield
Building B, Room 423 (Büro)
14473 Potsdam

Function and Responsibilities:

Senior Scientific Advisor (via Guest Scientist position)

Research Interests:

  • Fate of organic hydrogen in sedimentary basins
  • Generation and transport of fluids in shales
  • Where bio meets geo in the subsurface
  • Development and application of thermal analytical methods in organic geochemistry


  • Since 2018 Honorary Professor, Central South University, Changsha, PRC
  • Since 2017 Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Gastwissenschaftler
  • Since 2017 Technische Universität Berlin, emeritus Professor
  • Since 2011 Guest Professor, China University of Geosciences, Beijing, PRC
  • Since 2005 GEOS4 GmbH, CEO and Managing Director (GFZ Ausgrundung)
  • Since 2005 Guest Professor, Curtin University of Technology, Perth, Australia
  • 2001-2017 Technische Universität Berlin, C4 Professor of Organic Geochemistry and Hydrocarbon Systems 
  • 2001-2017 Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Leiter der Sektion Organische Geochemie
  • 2011-2017 International Continental Drilling Program, Executive Committee Chairman
  • 1997-2002 Professor II, University of Oslo, Geology Department, Norway
  • 1986-2001 Forschungszentrum Jülich, Jülich, Germany, Research Section Leader
  • 1982-1986 Atlantic Richfield Company, Dallas, U.S.A., Research Associate
  • 1978-1982 Conoco Inc., Ponca City, U.S.A., Research Group Leader


  • 1973 - 1977 Newcastle Upon Tyne University, England, Ph.D in Organic Geochemistry 
  • 1970 - 1973 Durham University, England, B.Sc Honours (Dunelm) in Geology 


  • Many. Most presented pure and applied insights into the origin and fate of sedimentary organic matter, and considered the interaction of chemical, physical and biological factors. Some big initiatives were:
  • Director of first and largest shale gas project in Europe Gas Shales in Europe (GASH)
  • Founder and director of SHIP (Shale Gas Internet Platform), a fact-based platform for public understanding of the pluses and minuses of shale gas exploitation in Europe
  • Joint director (Brian Horsfield and Maarten de Wit (RIP)) of Inkaba yeAfrica, a bilateral Earth Science research initiative of the Republic of South Africa and Germany
  • Founder of the Industry Partnership Programme for joint research,, GeoForschungsZentrum Potsdam, Germany, 2001 to 2017
  • GFZ-GEOS4-Industry projects have researched the analysis of bound biomarkers (QBB), polar compounds in fluid inclusions (PIFI), polar compounds as geochemical tracers of retention and fluid properties (P'Move) and polar compounds in petroleum systems (ONSET)

Research Boards and Committees:

  • Member of acatech (Deutsche Akademie der Technikwissenschaften) since 2009
  • Chairman of the European Association of Organic Geochemists 1996-2002.
  • Secretary of the European Association of Organic Geochemists, 1993-1996.
  • International advisor “Deep earth and oil-gas/novel energies", State Key Laboratory of Organic Geochemistry, Guangzhou Institute of Geochemistry. Center for excellence in deep earth science, Chinese Academy of Sciences
  • Senior Scientific Advisor in the Consultative Committee of the Key Laboratory of Gas Reservoir Formation and Development, CNPC, China 2018-2023
  • Europe Delegate to the AAPG House of Delegates (2017-22)


  • Co-recipient of the J.C. Cam Sproule Award, AAPG 2017
  • Recipient of AAPG Europe Energy Geoscience Research Award of the Year for 2017
  • Recipient of the Marmara Research Centre (Turkey) Award 2000
  • Recipient of Special Achievement Award 1984, Atlantic Richfield Company

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