Geophysical inversion and numerical modelling for integrated models of the Dutch subsurface

The Project

The global initiative to complete the energy transition by 2040 puts tremendous pressure on governments and industries. The need for any nation to know the potential of its subsurface to meet the future demand for energy and raw materials, as well as its storage capacity (e.g. CO2, H2) and associated hazards (e.g. induced seismicity, subsidence), is more critical than ever for informing exploration efforts, strategic economic planning, environmental policies, and decision-makers.

The Netherlands has invested a significant part of its GDP in data acquisition programs in the past 30 years. However, the formal integration and inversion of all available and complementary data (e.g. seismic, satellite, borehole, gravity, magnetic, etc.) have not been yet fully exploited for obtaining unifying, multi-parameter and internally consistent models of the subsurface at scales relevant for informing regional and nation-wide exploration efforts and strategic environmental planning. This project, funded by the Dutch Science Agency (NWO), will develop novel ways of characterizing the physical state of the subsurface beneath the Netherlands via the formal integration of multiple geophysical, geochemical/petrological and petrophysical data into a single physics-based framework. Specifically, you will adopt and expand a simulation-based, multi-observable probabilistic platform (e.g. Afonso et al., 2016; 2022) capable of inverting all available datasets simultaneously. Advanced numerical (e.g. FE methods, reduced order methods) and inversion (e.g. AI-based, McMC-driven) techniques will be applied and expanded to create innovative multi-observable inversion platforms for subsurface characterization.

You will collaborate closely with researchers at Delft University of Technology, Utrecht University, and the Polytechnic University of Catalonia. You will be a member of a large and dynamic geophysics/computational geodynamics team of PhD students and post-doctoral fellows.


  • Afonso et al., (2022), Thermochemical structure and evolution of cratonic lithosphere in Central and South Africa, Nature Geoscience, 15, 405-410
  • Afonso et al., (2016), 3D multi-observable probabilistic inversion for the compositional and thermal structure of the lithosphere and upper mantle III: Thermochemical Tomography in the Western-Central US. J. Geophys. Res., 121, doi:10.1002/2016JB013049.

Your profile

  • MSc degree in Geophysics, Physics, Engineering Geology or equivalent
  • Enthusiastic attitude to conduct research individually and as part of a team
  • Experience with geophysical datasets (e.g. seismic, potential fields, etc).
  • Experience in scientific computer programming (e.g. Fortran, Matlab or Python)
  • Familiar with Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations. Familiarity with geochemistry, inverse theory and/or thermodynamics is highly desirable, but not essential.
  • Good communication and writing skills in English

Our offer

  • An inspiring multidisciplinary, international and academic environment. The university offers a dynamic ecosystem with enthusiastic colleagues in which internationalization is an important part of the strategic agenda
  • Full-time position for 4 years with a qualifier in the first year
  • A professional and personal development programme within Twente Graduate School
  • Gross monthly salary of € 2,770.- in the first year that increases to € 3,539.- in the fourth year
  • A holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.3%
  • Excellent support for research and facilities for professional and personal development
  • A solid pension scheme
  • A total of 41 holiday days per year in case of full-time employment
  • Excellent working conditions, an exciting scientific environment, opportunities for traveling and a green and lively campus.

About the position

The University of Twente wants to be an organisation that optimally deploys diversity, talents, and capabilities in the labour market for now and in the future. In the framework of our diversity and inclusiveness policy, we strongly stimulate people with a (work) disability to apply for this position.

The University of Twente is committed to providing a working environment where everyone is valued, respected, and supported to progress. Our priority is to ensure that no one is disadvantaged based on their ethnicity, gender, culture, disability, LGBTQ+ identities, family and caring responsibilities, age, or religion. We encourage everyone who shares these values to apply.

Information and application

For more information about the position, you can contact Dr J.C. Afonso (e-mail:

Please submit your application HERE before 30 April 2024 including:

  • A motivation letter (maximum 1 A4 pages) clearly stating your specific research interest, qualifications and motivation to apply for this position
  • A detailed CV with (at least two) references, including a list of publications
  • A list of all courses that you have attended, and the grades obtained

Applications that do not include all three will not be considered.

Short-listed candidates will be invited for an online interview which will probably take place in the 3rd week of June 2024.

Selection Committee

  • Juan Carlos Afonso
  • Mark van der Meijde
  • Islam Fadel
  • Heather Handley

posted: 07 March 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.