The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national research centre for Earth sciences in Germany. With approximately 1.280 employees (including visiting scientists), the GFZ is conducting interdisciplinary research on the "System Earth" and the influence of humans on the planet. As a member of the Helmholtz Association, it is part of Germany's largest science organization.

For the recently established Helmholtz Young Investigator Group "Advanced reservoir engineering concepts for a controlled utilization of deep geothermal energy in urban areas (ARES)” in Section 4.8 "Geoenergy" we invite applications for a

Research Scientist (PostDoc) on Experimental Fracture Mechanics (m/f/x) Job Vacancy No. 3991

The research group develops concepts and workflows for enhancing the hydraulic performance of deep geothermal reservoirs while minimizing environmental impacts such as induced seismicity. Research methods include experiments at laboratory, mine and field scale as well as numerical modelling studies. We pursue our research in tight interdisciplinary collaboration across scales and across disciplines together with national and international partners.

The research scientist will be responsible for planning and performing proof-of-concept studies at laboratory scale. This involves quantification of the hydraulic, mechanical and seismic response of intact and fractured rock samples to different fluid injection schemes and operational constraints. Emphasis will be given to differentiate between the effects of individual engineering parameters and geological boundary conditions. The results will improve the understanding of proposed geothermal reservoir engineering concepts and influence the design of mine and field scale experiments.

Your responsibilities:

  • improve existing laboratory setups and establish a workflow for fluid-injection experiments including sample preparation, hydraulic, mechanical, and seismic monitoring during the experiments and sample inspection after the experiments
  • plan, perform and analyse laboratory experiments that allow a systematic evaluation of the influence of operational parameters and geological boundary conditions on hydraulic performance and fluid-injection induced seismicity
  • assist in integrating the laboratory results with mine and field scale results as well as numerical modelling studies
  • collaborate closely with internal and external national and international partners
  • publish in international peer-reviewed journals and present results at scientific meetings
  • lead and contribute to writing research proposals
  • co-supervise PhD and MSc students who perform and/or analyse laboratory experiments
  • the opportunity to assist in teaching will be given

Your qualifications:

  • Master's degree (or equivalent) and PhD degree in geosciences, geophysics, engineering or equivalent with a strong focus on fracture mechanics and/or seismology; background in geothermal energy is an asset
  • at least 3 years of well-documented hands-on experience in rock deformation experiments, fluid injection experiments and acoustic emission monitoring; experience with fibre optics is an asset
  • skills in development of data processing tools and unique experimental setups
  • willingness and ability to work in multiple projects simultaneously in interdisciplinary and international teams
  • excellent communication skills
  • proficiency in spoken and written English; German is an asset
Starting date: 1st July 2020
Fixed term: 3 years
Working hours: full-time (currently 39 h/week); The position is, in principle, suitable for part-time employment.
Salary: This position has been assessed as being salary group 13 according to "TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost). The salary group will be determined by the conditions of the collective wage agreement and the appropriate personal qualifications.
Location: Potsdam

You can expect a very diverse and challenging job in an international work environment that is characterized by exciting research projects. The compatibility of work and family life is of particular concern to the GFZ. Therefore, it offers the opportunity for flexible working time and workplaces. Moreover, there is a kindergarten located on the research campus.

The GFZ is a partner with Geo.X (, and as such it is well connected with other geoscience institutions in Potsdam and Berlin. Geo.X forms the largest regional cluster of geoscientific expertise in Europe and offers excellent opportunities for cooperation and development.

Please submit your application containing (a) cover letter detailing point by point how you fit the required qualifications, (b) CV, (c) publication list, and (d) max 2 page research statement online by 30th April 2020 using the "Apply" button.

Equal opportunity is an inherent part of our personnel policy. Therefore we are particularly welcoming applications from qualified women. Severely disabled persons will be given preferential treatment in the case of equal qualification.

We will retain your application documents for at least three months, even if the application is not successful.

If you have any questions regarding this job offer, please feel free to call Ms Buge at +49 331 288-28878.