PhD position in "Seismic Hazard Assessment for Future Subsurface Activities: A Waveform-based Approach"

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.

Your challenge

To mitigate seismic risks from subsurface exploitation sites (geothermal energy, subsurface CO2, H2 storage), accurate seismic hazard assessment (SHA) is a necessity. In regions without historical earthquakes, conventional ground motion models cannot be locally calibrated and thus suffer from large uncertainty, rendering them unreliable for the seismic risk assessment of future subsurface activities. The SHAWave project - a collaboration between various Dutch universities and research institutes - will take a new and innovative approach to conducting probabilistic seismic hazard assessment. This approach combines novel computational modelling techniques, based on waveform simulations, with advanced data calibration and risk quantification techniques.

You will analyse the role of subsurface structure on ground motion distribution through a full elastic finite element seismic wave simulation. To fully appreciate the effect of directional propagation and interaction you will include the subsurface topography and a realistic velocity model. The attenuation in the model, for both bedrock and sediments, will be based on amplitude matching between our simulations and actual observations for the modelled earthquake. You will use SALVUS for our simulations, a code developed for simulating seismic wave propagation based on the principles of SEM.

You will be defining the optimal resolution for such modelling based on existing subsurface models and earthquake recordings at the surface and in boreholes (till 200m depth), you will assess the subsurface structure related to amplification and directional effects, and you will evaluate the near-surface sediment effect based on analysis of your modelled waveforms in comparison to actual recorded waveforms in boreholes and at the surface. You will also prepare a modelling-based predictive probable seismic hazard map with an initial focus on the Groningen area, a region in the Netherlands with human-induced earthquakes due to gas exploitation, and finally, you will extend this new approach for seismic hazard analysis to new exploitation sites in the Netherlands for which no earthquakes have been recorded yet.

Your project will be embedded in the Applied Earth Sciences department at the Faculty for Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation at the University of Twente. You will work together with the partners in the SHAWave project to ensure that the developed model is successfully integrated. You will have short stays with partners in the project, particularly you will work together with the Energy Technology section at the Department of Mechanical Engineering of the Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e).

Your profile

  • An MSc in Geophysics, Earth sciences, (geological or applied) Engineering, (Applied) Physics, (Applied) Mathematics, or equivalent. Affiliation with Earth Sciences is highly preferable.
  • Curiosity in geophysics (particularly seismology), earth sciences, applied mathematics, physics and engineering
  • A proficient programmer, willing to dedicate a substantial part of your time to programming and scripting, and developing digital models of earth structure and composition
  • Good communication and writing skills in English
  • The attitude to participate successfully in the work of a research team
  • An enthusiastic researcher

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, and a green and lively campus.

Information and application

For more information about the position, you can contact Prof Dr Mark van der Meijde (e-mail: You are also invited to visit our homepage.

Please submit your application HERE before 14 April 2024 including:

  • A motivation letter (maximum 2 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 interviews which will probably take place at the end of April 2024.

About the department

The department of Applied Earth Sciences combines earth scientific knowledge with dynamic modelling and advanced remote sensing, to analyse earth systems and processes in space and time. Our goal is to contribute to global challenges concerning future demands for earth resources and to help reduce disaster risk and the impact of natural hazards on communities living in changing environments.

posted: 28 March 2024     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.