PhD Candidate “Multi-observable probabilistic inversion and its application to the exploration of superhot rock geothermal energy”

University of Twente
November 20, 2023
Offerd Salary:€ 2,770
Working address:N/A
Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Full time
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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

The current geopolitical and environmental situation of Europe and beyond requires an urgent redirection of the EU priorities towards crafting a rapid and more resilient energy plan, shifting away from the dependency on imported fossil fuels. Added to the EU 2030 target to reduce net greenhouse emissions by at least 55% and completely ban petrol-power cars by 2035, the current EU plan creates an enormous demand for alternative, greener and more sustainable energy sources. Among these, deep geothermal energy (i.e., super-hot geothermal systems with temperatures > 400o C) has the highest shown potential for long-term, large-scale and continuous supply of energy for heating and generation of electrical power. However, one of the main current limitations is the absence of reliable and efficient technologies for the exploration and assessment of deep geothermal resources at global and regional scales. This has been identified by numerous international agencies as the single most important barrier precluding the full development of deep geothermal energy.

Robust mapping of crustal temperatures requires i) the combination of multiple datasets with complementary information content, ii) reliable estimates of the larger-scale lithospheric thermal structure, and iii) a simulation-based approach that includes all major processes controlling crustal temperatures. Although multi-observable probabilistic inversions (MOPI) offer a natural and powerful platform to exploit data complementarity within a physics-based framework, it is not well suited for dealing with crustal-scale geo-fluid systems. This project will implement 3D advection- diffusion solvers into the framework of MOPI. It will do so by exploiting recent advances in reduced-order modelling of advection-diffusion processes and a novel integration with Markov chain Monte Carlo algorithms for joint inversions. Using another virtue of data complementarity, the project will implement Deep Learning (DL) approaches to minimize the problem of missing data in regions with poor seismic data coverage, thus expanding considerably the reach of MOPI applications.

You will develop a conceptual and numerical data-fusion platform to detect relevant compositional anomalies in the crust and lithospheric mantle at scales relevant to greenfields/brownfields exploration frameworks. You will also work on the application and validation of the methodology in selected regions of interest.

You will collaborate closely with researchers at Durham University (UK) and SISSA (Italy), as well as with partners CATF, Aachen University, Project Inner Space and EGEC.

Your profile
  • MSc in Geophysics, Physics, Engineering Geology or similar
  • Enthusiastic demeanour to conduct research individually and as part of a team
  • Knowledge of computer programming with either Fortran, Matlab, Python and/or C
  • Experience with Numerical Methods for Partial Differential Equations; familiarity with geochemistry, inverse theory and/or thermodynamics is highly desirable, but not essential
  • Good communication skills
  • Excellent level of spoken and written English
  • Experience in writing scientific articles/reports
  • Willingness to travel and fulfil research stays/secondments related to the project
  • Because of stimulating of mobility according to the regulations from the external agency, applicants must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the Netherlands for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the starting date of the employment
  • 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
  • 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 Dr Juan Carlos Afonso (e-mail: j.[email protected]. You are also invited to visit our homepage.

    Please submit your application before 20 November 2023. Your application should include:

  • A motivation letter (maximum 2 pages of A4), emphasizing your specific interest, qualifications and motivation to apply for this position
  • Curriculum Vitae (including contact information for at least two academic references)
  • An academic transcript of BSc and MSc education, including grades and a short description of your last large result (MSc thesis/final project report/EngD thesis)
  • 1st round interviews will be scheduled for mid/late November 2023. A possible 2nd round interview will be scheduled when/if needed.

    About the department

    The department of Applied Earth Sciences (AES) combines Earth science knowledge with geospatial modelling and sophisticated earth observation, to increase our understanding of Earth systems and their interaction with society in space and time. We combine insights on hazards with information on exposure and vulnerability, to model and monitor risk to human societies, and inform actions to reduce risk and increase resilience in long-term planning, for early warning and disaster response, and in the context of post-disaster recovery and reconstruction.

    As we enter the third energy transition in human history, the coming decade will be a defining test for humanity and its capacity to respond to unprecedented global challenges. This MSCA Doctoral Network (EarthSafe) supports the rapid transition to green energy and low-carbon economies in Europe and beyond by creating transformational data-fusion platforms to inform and enhance global exploration frameworks for deep geothermal resources and critical minerals to support green technologies. EarthSafe will achieve this by harnessing i) the complementary strengths and resolutions

    About the organisation

    The Faculty of Geo-Information Science and Earth Observation (ITC) provides international postgraduate education, research and project services in the field of geo-information science and earth observation. Our mission is capacity development, where we apply, share and facilitate the effective use of geo-information and earth observation knowledge and tools for tackling global wicked problems. Our purpose is to enable our many partners around the world to track and trace the impact – and the shifting causes and frontiers – of today's global challenges. Our vision is of a world in which researchers, educators, and students collaborate across disciplinary and geographic divides with governmental and non-governmental organisations, institutes, businesses, and local populations to surmount today's complex global challenges and to contribute to sustainable, fair, and digital societies.

    Want to know more? Afonso, J.C. (Juan Carlos)

    Associate Professor

    Do you have questions about this vacancy? Then you can contact Juan Carlos for all substantive questions about this position and the application procedure. For general questions about working for the UT, please refer to the chatbot.



    Email:[email protected]

    How to apply Step 1

    Apply. When you see a vacancy that appeals to you, you can apply online. We ask you to upload a CV and motivation letter and/or list of publications. You will receive a confirmation of receipt by e-mail.

    Step 2

    Selection. The selection committee will review your application and you will receive a response within 2 weeks after the vacancy has been closed.

    Step 3

    1st interview. The 1st (online or in person) meeting serves as an introduction where we introduce ourselves to you and you to us. You may be asked to give a short presentation. This will be further explained in the invitation.

    Step 4

    2nd interview. In the second interview, we will further discuss the job content, your skills and your talents.

    Step 5

    The offer. If the conversations are positive, you will be made a suitable offer.

    Your Colleagues
  • Westen, C.J. van (Cees)
  • Personal page

  • Nabukulu, C. (Catherine)
  • Personal page

  • Dahal, A. (Ashok)
  • Personal page

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