School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

Research Associate (Experimental Rock Deformation)

32,236 - 36,261

GWatt is funded through NERC (Highlight Topics 2018). GWatt aims to tackle challenges related to deep geothermal systems, focusing on knowledge gaps about permeability and fluid/heat flow within fractured hot rocks. Novel studies of rock stress, natural fracture networks, hot rock permeability, heat/fluid transport, and optimisation are performed to fill these gaps. This project helps to enable the prediction of the economically-utilisable geothermal resource, the optimisation of reservoir development and the quantification of geological uncertainty and geological risks (such as induced seismicity). GWatt utilises data obtained from two new boreholes in granite being developed at the UK's deepest onshore geothermal project at United Downs in Cornwall.

The specific task at HWU are funded for 18 months and will focus on the evaluation of the frictional and transport properties of granite fault rocks in a deep geothermal setting, over the lifetime of the well. This will be done via laboratory experiments using natural granite fault materials. The experiments are aimed at providing insight into the risk of induced seismicity and the efficiency of fluid/heat flow in the well.

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

  • Experimentally determine frictional properties of granite fault materials
  • Experimentally determine fault rock permeability
  • Contribute to qualitative and quantitative risk assessment for induced seismicity
  • Present research results at conferences and internal project meetings
  • Publish peer-reviewed and conference papers


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

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr. Sabine den Hartog (

For application details and further information please go to:

Ref: IRC22751

Closing Date: 8th August 2019

posted: 25 July 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.