Utrecht University has great ambitions for its teaching quality and study success rates. This also applies to its clear research profiles which are centred around four themes: Dynamics of Youth, Institutions, Life Sciences and Sustainability. Utrecht University plays a prominent role in our society and contributes to finding the answers to topical and future societal issues. Everyone deserves to feel at home at our university. We welcome employees with a wide variety of backgrounds and perspectives.

Postdoctoral position in atomistic to continuum-scale modelling
of fluid-solid interactions (2 years)

Are you interested in how nanoscale processes control large-scale phenomena? If so, you should apply to join our European Research Council (ERC) funded 'nanoEARTH' team. ERC promotes the highest quality research in Europe and helps to bring about new and unpredictable scientific and technological discoveries. Within this postdoctoral project you will join a unique international team of geoscientists, computer scientists, chemists, and physicists to unravel how nanoscale transport processes control fluid-solid interactions that are of critical importance to both fundamental natural material science questions and key societally relevant issues. As such, you will develop a foundational understanding of how nanoconfinement affects natural fluid transport processes and the behaviour of fluids with applications in the fields of sustainable energy and carbon dioxide storage and extraction, mineral deposits and general Earth system phenomena.

The nanoEARTH project led by Dr Oliver Plümper focuses on the multi-scale behaviour of reaction-induced transport networks and how nanoscale processes can self-promote fluid-mediated solid reactions. The aim of this 2-year postdoctoral position is to numerically investigate fluid transport processes within nanoporous systems using atomistic simulations providing the basis for upscaling approaches.


We seek a highly motivated postdoctoral researcher to lead the development of molecular dynamics simulations and/or continuum-scale simulations to investigate fluid transport processes and fluid properties in natural nanoporous systems.

We are looking for someone with a strong quantitative, computational background that may also be interested in exploring machine-learning approaches to simulate fluid-solid interactions. It would be ideal if this professional has previous experience - or a strong interest - in geoscience research questions, but we are open to consider researchers with other scientific backgrounds. You will be expected to publish our work in peer-reviewed journals and conferences, but also publish and maintain open-source software related to the project, with high-quality documentation and reproducible examples. The researcher will have direct access to the cutting-edge computational, experimental, and analytical facilities at Utrecht University.

We are looking for someone who takes pleasure in carrying out research in our area of expertise. There are a few necessities we would like you to bring:

  • a PhD degree (at the start of the position) in Geoscience, Chemistry, Physics, Material Science, Mechanical Engineering, or related fields?
  • documented expertise in implementing and applying molecular dynamics simulations and coupling to continuum-scale simulations?
  • potential knowledge of applying deep-learning architectures to fluid-flow simulations? knowledge in high-performance computing (HPC) is desired?
  • proficiency in the English language, and demonstrable, high-standards of professional/scientific communication skills in oral, written and visual form.

Terms of employment:

You will be offered a full-time postdoctoral position for a period of two years in an international working environment. The minimum gross salary is €3,413,- and the maximum gross salary is € 4,123,- (scale 10.3 - 10.8 of the Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities) per month, at a full-time employment.

Besides that, you will receive a holiday allowance of 8 % and a year-end bonus of 8.3 %. Utrecht University also has an appealing package of terms of employment, including the choice for a good balance between work and private (a good arrangement for leave, among other things), possibilities for development and an excellent pension scheme. More information on working at Utrecht University can be found here.

About the organisation:

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With a population of 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 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 tenured staff of over 45 scientists and more than 110 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Our research programme spans four intertwined themes: Climate & Life, Earth interior, Earth materials, and Environmental Earth Sciences. We house or have access to a wide variety of world-class laboratories.

Utrecht is the fourth largest city in the Netherlands with a population of nearly 360,000 and forms a hub in the middle of the country. Its historic city centre and its modern central station can easily be reached from the Utrecht Science Park by public transport or by a 15 minute bicycle ride. Utrecht boasts beautiful canals with extraordinary wharf cellars housing cafés and terraces by the water, as well as a broad variety of shops and boutiques.

Additional information

For informal questions, please contact the project leader, Dr Oliver Plümper (associate professor, project leader) at o.plumper@uu.nl.

How to apply:

To apply, please follow this link and the guidelines mentioned there. The application deadline is September 15th, 2022. We aim for a quick selection procedure and seek to start the position as soon as possible.

Note that international candidates that need a visa/work permit for the Netherlands require at least four months processing time after selection and acceptance. This will be arranged with help of the International Service Desk (ISD) of our university. Finding appropriate housing in or near Utrecht is your own responsibility, but the ISD may be able to advise you therewith. In case of general questions about working and living in The Netherlands, please consult the Dutch Mobility Portal.

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

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posted: 01 August 2022     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.