PhD 11 : Joint heat and solute tracer test inversion for imaging preferential pathways


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The hydrogeology and environmental geology laboratory at University of Liège is offering a PhD scholarship on the topic “Joint heat and solute tracer test inversion for imaging preferential pathways” starting preferably before July 1, 2017.
The project is funded by the Marie-Sklodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network “ENIGMA – EU Training Network for In situ imaGing of dynaMic processes in heterogeneous subsurfAce environments” within the Horizon 2020 Programme of the European Commission.
ENIGMA is a consortium of high profile universities, research institutions and companies located in France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, USA and UK, and will train 15 PhD students in total (Early Stage Researcher, ESR).
This particular PhD (ESR PhD 11) will be based at the hydrogeology and environmental geology laboratory at University of Liège with research stays at BRGM Orléans, FZ Jülich.

In order to be eligible, each applicant must fulfill the following criteria at the time of recruitment:

  • Mobility: At the time of recruitment, the applicant must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc…) in the country of the host organization for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to his/her recruitment.
    Compulsory national service and/or short stays such as holidays are not taken into account.
  • Qualifications and research experience: The applicant must fulfill the requirements defined for Early Stage Researchers (ESRs): ESRs are researchers who, at the time of recruitment, have NOT yet been awarded the doctorate degree and are in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of the research career.

Project description

The characterization of subsurface heat and solute transport is particularly challenging due to the existence of preferential transport paths at multiple scales. The ESR project aims at characterizing the role of preferential pathways (channeling) on transport based on dual-domain modelling approaches. The main innovation is to combine solute and heat tracer tests which have different sensitivities to preferential pathways and matrix diffusion processes. Field experiments will combine multiple wells injection and pumping experiments using solute and heat tracers complemented by DTS and geophysical imaging (GPR and ERT/SIP). Experimental campaigns on two different test sites (alluvial sediments in Hermalle hydrogeophysical site and fractured bedrock overlaid by weathered rocks in India (H+ Hyderabad site)) will be used to assess the added value of the proposed experiments to identify preferential flow paths and their influence on model predictions. Interactions with other early researchers (ESRs, see description at include fibre optic monitoring of temperature and flow (ESR6), model comparison for spreading and mixing (ESR9), GPR (ESR10) and SIP (ESR12).

Principal supervisor is : Professor Alain Dassargues, Hydrogeology and environmental geology laboratory, University of Liège

Job description

The position is available for a 3-year period and your key tasks as a PhD student are:

  • To manage and carry through your research project
  • Attend PhD courses
  • Write scientific articles and your PhD thesis
  • Teach and disseminate your research
  • To stay at an external research institution for a few months, preferably abroad
  • Work for the department

Formal requirements

Applicants should hold an MSc degree (or equivalent) with good results and have good English skills. As criteria for the assessment of your qualifications emphasis will also be laid on relevant work experience and previous publications (if any).

Background of successful candidate

We invite candidates from different scientific fields to apply; geophysics, hydrology, hydrogeology, hydrogeophysics, physics, engineering, applied mathematics, soil physics or a related discipline. The candidate should have a solid background in hydrogeology, groundwater modelling and applied/computational mathematics. Furthermore, the candidate must have excellent personal skills and be able to work in a team. Experience with field work is highly desirable.

Terms of Employment

The successful candidates will receive an attractive salary in accordance with the MSCA regulations for early stage researchers. The exact salary will be confirmed upon appointment and is dependent on the country correction factor (to allow for the difference in cost of living in different EU Member States). The salary includes a living allowance, a mobility allowance and a family allowance (if married). The guaranteed PhD funding is for 36 months (i.e. EC funding, additional funding is possible, depending on local supervisor).

For instance, for the ESR in France the annual salary will be :
41 425,20€  + 7,200€ (for mobility allowance) + €6,000 (for family allowance, if eligible); this is before any applicable tax and/or deductions

Application Procedure
The application, in English, must be submitted electronically through the ENIGMA website  and must include the following:

  • Cover Letter, stating your motivation and background for applying to the specific PhD project.
  • CV, including list of publications (journal articles, master’s thesis)
  • Diploma and transcripts of records (BSc and MSc)
  • References

IN ENIGMA, we wish to recruit ESRs that reflect the diversity of society and thus welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background.
There will be a first round of evaluation between January, 23rd and January, 31st.
There will be two other evaluation processes in March 2017 and in June 2017.
Candidates can continuously apply until June 2017


For specific information about the PhD scholarship, please contact the principal supervisor.


Alain Dassargues

Start date: 01-07-2017
Department/Location: The Hydrogeology and environmental geology laboratory at University of Liège

This position has been filled ! Please look at our other PhD positions offers !