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Postdoctoral researcher (f/m/x) – Machine Learning of Strain Evolution in Rifts
The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,300 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.
As a partner in Geo.X, the GFZ has access to an excellent network of other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. This largest regional concentration of geoscientific competence in Europe offers first-class cooperation and development opportunities.
For section 2.5 Geodynamic Modeling, we are looking for a:

Postdoctoral researcher (f/m/x) – Machine Learning of Strain Evolution in Rifts

Reference Number 5360

Rifts and rifted continental margins host significant natural resources, such as groundwater and geothermal energy, but are also sites of strong, infrequent earthquakes posing considerable natural hazard. To understand the occurrence of geohazards and georessources, we need to quantify how strain localises and how fault networks evolve in crustal-scale extensional systems. This project follows an innovative, multidisciplinary approach by using machine learning techniques in order to analyze big data sets from both 3D seismic reflection surveys and 3D numerical geodynamic models.

This project will be embedded in GFZ’s Section 2.5 “Geodynamic Modeling”. The post-doctoral researcher's role will be to develop and employ techniques involving convolutional neural networks and signal processing to analyse large volumes of 3D seismic reflection data and time-dependent 3D numerical forward models. Results will be compared to manual interpretations of both data types and interpreted in terms of their geodynamic context in order to shed new light on the dynamics of extensional fault networks in space and time.

Your responsibilities:

  • Developing convolutional neural network techniques to extract fault characteristics from seismic reflection data
  • Extraction of fault displacement from seismic reflection data of the North Sea rift
  • Conducting and interpret thermo-mechanical models using the geodynamic research software ASPECT
  • Using signal processing tools to extract discrete faults from 3D, time-dependent geodynamic models
  • Comparison of fault characteristics from models and seismic reflection data
  • Collaborating with other members of the section on data analysis and geodynamic modelling
  • To interact with other members of the section at group meetings and in other informal ways

Your qualifications:

  • Master`s degree (or equivalent) and a PhD in Earth Sciences, Physics, or Engineering
  • Extensive experience and knowledge of the development and use of convolutional neural networks and signal processing techniques
  • Documented skills in interpretation of seismic reflection data
  • Knowledge of and experience with geodynamic modelling, preferentially the ASPECT research code
  • Experience in Python programming and model visualization
  • Proven ability to work in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment
  • Creativity and critical thinking skills and the ability to publish, as demonstrated by a record of original and innovative publications
  • Capacity for international teamwork, and excellent communication skills
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English, German is an asset

Start date: 1st September 2021
Fixed-term: 2.5 years
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Full-time (currently 39 h/week); The position is, in principle, suitable for part-time employment.
Place of work: Potsdam

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre 
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 28th July 2021. Please use our online application form only.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv@gfz-potsdam.de, who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba@gfz-potsdam.de.

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Sascha Brune either via email at sascha.brune@gfz-potsdam.de or under +49 (0)331 288-1928. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact Ms Buge under +49 (0)331-288-28787.


Franca Buge
Franca Buge
Abteilung Personal
Gebäude G, Raum 429
14473 Potsdam
+49 331 288-28787
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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.