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  3. PhD position in Experimental Fluid-rock Interaction (1.0 FTE)

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PhD position in Experimental Fluid-rock Interaction (1.0 FTE)

The Faculty of Geosciences at Utrecht University is looking for a PhD candidate in Experimental Fluid-rock Interaction (1.0 FTE). Interested? Read more and apply here.

8 maanden geleden


Domplein, Utrecht, Utrecht
Tijdelijk contract / Tijdelijke opdracht
Uren per week:
36 - 40 uur
€ 2325 - € 2972 per maand


We are looking for a motivated PhD candidate for 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%).


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.


This is an appointment of 1.0 FTE for the duration of initially one year, with extension to four years in total upon a successful assesment in the first year, and with the specific intent that it results in a doctorate within this period. The gross salary starts with €2,325 per month in the first year and increases to €2,972 per month in the fourth year of employment (scale P according to the Collective Employment Agreement of the Dutch Universities) for 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.

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.

Additional information

For more information about this position, please contact Dr. Oliver Plümper, via O.Plumper@uu.nl.