Research Associate - EU SECURe: Subsurface Evaluation of CCS and Unconventional Risks

Heriot-Watt University has five campuses: three in the UK (Edinburgh, Scottish Borders and Orkney), one in Dubai and one in Malaysia. The University offers a highly distinctive range of degree programmes in the specialist areas of science, engineering, design, business and languages.

With a history dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt University has established a reputation for world-class teaching and practical, leading-edge research, which has made it one of the top UK universities for business and industry. We connect with industry at every level and develop programmes to match their needs – so employers get work-ready industry-fit graduates.

Heriot-Watt is also Scotland's most international university, boasting the largest international student cohort.

We have an established set of values that help us to nurture innovation and leadership, and show our commitment to continuous improvement and development in all our activities.

For full details on our University please view our Careers at Heriot-Watt

About our Team

You will join the SECURe project which is a European Union funded H2020 project (“SECURe - Subsurface Evaluation of CCS and Unconventional Risks”) with 16 partners from academia and industry and coordinated by the British Geological Survey. This position is based at the Lyell Centre with strong links to the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot-Watt University.

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society (EGIS) is one of the UK’s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity. We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges. Further information can be obtained at:

The Lyell Centre

Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey (BGS) have joined forces to create a new research centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology. Based at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus, the Lyell Centre will be one of Europe's leading centres for research and expertise in the earth and marine sciences. Jointly funded by UK and Scottish funders; Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Heriot-Watt, The Lyell Centre will promote innovative research at the core of geoscience, marine and terrestrial ecology, computing, mathematics and engineering.

Detailed Description

SECURe is funded through the Horizon 2020 program by the European Union with a total duration of 36 months. It will develop monitoring and mitigation strategies for the full lifecycle of storing CO2 in the subsurface or producing unconventional hydrocarbon resources by assessing plausible hazards and monitoring associated with environmental risks. This will be achieved through a program of experimental research and advanced technology development that will be demonstrated at commercial and research facilities to formulate best practice. We will meet stakeholder needs, from the design of monitoring and mitigation strategies relevant to operators and regulators, to developing communication strategies to provide a greater level of understanding of the potential impacts.

The specific tasks at HWU are funded for 32 (20+12) months and will focus on the evaluation of leakage from deep CO2 storage or unconventional hydrocarbon sites. For this purpose, we will perform laboratory studies to provide relevant parameters for CO2 leakage modelling at different scales for several case studies, incorporating analogue data where possible. The intention is to improve our understanding of realistic leakage rates for several representative scenarios, directly linking to containment monitoring technologies that are capable of detecting such caprock integrity issues.

Tasks also link to numerical fracture flow modelling. This is why we advertise a 20+12 months position, where the candidate can demonstrate suitability for the modelling tasks planned for 12 months following the laboratory/field part of the project.

Key duties and responsibilities

Key duties and responsibilities of the role holder include, but are not limited to

  • Characterising mudrock fracture patterns from field data and develop general concepts of fracture patterns in fault damage zones
  • Determining stress-dependent fracture permeability in the laboratory on a wide number of different seals to produce model input data to be implemented in fracture flow models
  • Contribute to qualitative and quantitative risk assessment for caprock leakage
  • Present research results at conferences and internal project meetings
  • Publish peer-reviewed and conference papers
  • Education, qualifications and experience


  • An undergraduate degree (2.1 or higher) in geoscience, petroleum or civil engineering
  • A PhD in Earth sciences, including but not limited to in petrophysics, geophysics, rock physics or related topic.


  • Expert-knowledge in flow in porous media, ideally flow in fractured media
  • Experience in field work, including mapping of large and small scale structures,
  • Experience in design of experimental setups under subsurface reservoir conditions
  • Strong publication track record
  • Team spirit and experience in collaborating within interdisciplinary and multi-national teams
  • Excellent communication and presentation skills
  • Experience in working towards tight deadlines
  • Experience in conducting independent research


  • Basic knowledge and interest in numerical and analytical methods to model fluid transport in porous and fractured media
  • Knowledge in mineralogy and petrophysics of mudrocks
  • Experience in petroleum and/or reservoir engineering
  • Willingness to perform field work inside and outside Europe
  • Willingness to travel to project meetings in Europe

How To Apply

Applications can be submitted up to midnight (UK time) on Sunday 19th August 2018

We welcome and will consider flexible working patterns e.g. part-time working and job share options.

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Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr. Andreas Busch (

posted: 25 July 2018     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.