PhD position in Experimental Fluid-rock Interaction (4 yrs)

Job description:

The Department of Earth Sciences currently seeks a highly-motivated, high-potential applicant for a PhD position on the project:

In operando X-ray tomography of reactive fluid-rock interaction.

Fluid-driven mineral reactions chemically modify enormous portions of the Earth's crystalline lithosphere affecting the stability of mountain belts, forming hydrothermal mineral deposits, sequestering anthropogenic CO2 as well as controlling many other processes. For these reactions to propagate through rocks, fluid transport networks are critical. The European Research Council (ERC) starting grant led by Dr Oliver Plümper, 'The nanoscale control of reactive fluids on geological processes within the solid Earth' (short: nanoEARTH), will focus on the role that these transport networks play in self-promoting fluid-mediated mineral reactions. In particular, Dr Plümper's group has demonstrated that nanoscale transport processes play a critical role in the effectiveness of the fluid-transport system. Therefore, the aim of this 4-year nanoEARTH PhD project is to experimentally and numerically investigate reactive transport phenomena in crystalline rocks.

The scientific approach of this project will involve using and developing laboratory- and synchrotron-based X-ray tomography techniques to observe time-resolved reactive transport phenomena within low-permeability rocks. The experiments will be paired with state-of-the-art analytical techniques including scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Moreover, the PhD candidate will use image correlation, machine-learning and big data approaches to analyse time-resolved, three-dimensional data. The results will be directly relevant to the development of a constitutive fluid-rock interaction models that links nanoscale processes with the macroscopic behaviour of fluid and mass transport in the Earth's crystalline lithosphere.

ERC promotes the highest quality research in Europe and helps to bring about new and unpredictable scientific and technological discoveries. As such, the candidate will have direct access to the world-class experimental and analytical facilities at Utrecht University, including brand-new electron microscopes and X-ray tomography systems.

The PhD candidate will engage in a trans-disciplinary research environment and will closely collaborate with a second PhD candidate as well as a Postdoctoral Researcher within the nanoEARTH project. As part of the personal PhD training programme, the candidate is expected to assist in the teaching programmes of the Department of Earth Sciences for a limited amount of time (~10%).

Qualifications:

The successful candidate should be ambitious and have a relevant MSc degree (at the start of the contract) in Earth Sciences, (Geo)Physics, (Geo)Engineering, or Material Sciences. She/he should not have a PhD degree. Candidates must have good quantitative/mathematical and programming skills. Previous experience working with X-ray tomography instruments and data is preferred. Applicants must have excellent written and spoken English skills and be highly motivated to work in an international team.

Terms of employment:

You will be offered a full-time PhD position, initially for one year with extension to four years in total upon a successful assessment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period.

Employment conditions are based on the Collective Labour Agreement of the Dutch Universities. The gross monthly salary starts at € 2,325 in the first year and increases to € 2,972 in the fourth year. The salary is supplemented by a holiday allowance of 8% of annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3% of annual salary per year. We offer a pension scheme, (partly paid) parental leave, collective insurance schemes and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model).

Facilities for sports and child care are available on our main campus (where the Department of Earth Sciences is situated), which is located only 15 minutes away from the historical city centre of Utrecht.

About the organisation:

The Utrecht Faculty of Geosciences offers education and research concerning the geosphere, biosphere, atmosphere and hydrosphere. With a population of 2600 students (BSc and MSc) and 600 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Physical Geography, Sustainable Development, and Human Geography & Spatial Planning.

The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international group of more than 100 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers and houses a wide variety of world-class laboratories, including the new solid Earth cluster Earth Simulation Laboratory. In addition, the department offers an extensive high-end computing infrastructure.

Additional information:

Informal enquiries may be sent to the project leader Dr Oliver Plümper (O.Plumper@uu.nl).

How to apply:

To apply, please follow this link and the guidelines mentioned there. Applications will be accepted until November 30, 2019. Evaluations and interviews are planned soon thereafter. The intended starting date is March or April 2020.

Online screening may be part of the selection. Commercial response to this ad is not appreciated.

Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

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