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The Swiss Seismological Service at the Department of Earth Science is looking for a doctoral candidate to join its team for the next three years. The start date of the doctorate is negotiable, but we envision a start in spring 2023.
The doctorate is offered in the frame of the research project EU Horizon Europe Marie Skłodowska-Curie Doctoral Networks MSCA-DN Project SMILE (, Grant Agreement No. 101073281), a project conducted in cooperation with academic and industrial partners from different European countries.
Geo-energies, such as geothermal energy, CO2 storage and underground energy storage, have a great potential to contribute to meeting the Paris Agreement targets on climate change. Yet, their deployment has been hindered by a lack of a full understanding of the processes that are induced in the subsurface by large-scale fluid injection/extraction. The various processes involved (e.g., fluid flow, geomechanical, geochemical and thermal effects) imply complex interactions that cannot be predicted without considering the dominant coupled processes, which is rarely done. As a result, some early geo-energy projects have occasionally developed unpredicted consequences, such as felt and damaging induced earthquakes, gas leakage and aquifer contamination, and dampening public perception of geo-energies. SMILE aims at overcoming these challenges in developing geo-energy solutions by training a new generation of young researchers that will become experts in understanding and predicting coupled processes. Thus, they will be capable of proposing innovative solutions for the successful deployment of subsurface low-carbon energy sources while protecting groundwater and related ecosystems.
To achieve this ambitious goal, the doctoral candidates will be exposed to interdisciplinary training on experimental, mathematical and numerical modelling of coupled processes, upscaling techniques and ground deformation monitoring using field data from highly instrumented pilot tests and industrial sites. The training in SMILE has been designed by both academic and industrial partners to train competitive researchers with both technical-scientific and transferable skills to enhance their employability in academia, industry and the public sector. The outputs of the project will be largely disseminated. Outreach to society will be achieved through a conspicuous series of initiatives. SMILE will make a significant contribution to the societal challenges of securing clean and low-carbon energy sources.
Objectives: To develop an experimentally based study of the complex interaction between reactive pore fluids and rock matrix, in typical caprocks and reservoir rocks. Data will be collected both in a laboratory and in situ at ongoing pilot projects (e.g., at the and , as well as at the islandic CO2 storage facility). The aim is to provide a link between relevant mechanical/hydraulic parameters and fluid-rock interaction. Experiments will be also tailed to link the characteristics of the rocks to seismic/aseismic slip, addressing the induced seismicity issue
Expected Results: To provide a complete dataset on geomechanical parameters linked to fluid-rock interaction in caprock/reservoir rocks. The data will be input into numerical simulations
We are a dynamic and international research group, dedicated to the study of induced seismicity at small and large scales. We apply a multidisciplinary approach to the study of earthquake nucleation, and support our research with experimental observations at the lab scale or in underground laboratories We value a friendly and welcoming working atmosphere and strive for excellence in all we do.
We are looking forward to receiving your application with the following documents by January 31, 2023:
Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.
For more information on our group and our activities, please visit . Questions regarding the position should be directed to Dr Alba Zappone (Alba.Zappone@sed.ethz.ch).
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