PhD on Forecasting Subsidence in the Groningen Reservoir Region

Updated: 2 months ago
Deadline: 08 Apr 2024

13 Mar 2024
Job Information

Utrecht University
Research Field

Researcher Profile

First Stage Researcher (R1)

Application Deadline

8 Apr 2024 - 21:59 (UTC)
Type of Contract

Job Status

Not Applicable
Hours Per Week

Is the job funded through the EU Research Framework Programme?

Not funded by an EU programme
Is the Job related to staff position within a Research Infrastructure?


Offer Description

Do you want to join our team to develop a model aimed at forecasting surface deformation in the Groningen gas field region? We are looking for an enthusiastic PhD candidate to do research on forecasting subsidence!

Your job
Surface subsidence is a significant problem above the gas reservoir in the Netherlands province of Groningen, affecting the environment, buildings, infrastructure, and water management. Compaction of the reservoir continues to drive subsidence, but there also are other, shallower, earth processes that have a significant footprint on the subsidence. Groningen is located close to sea level, so it is highly relevant to answer questions like 'how long will subsidence continue?' and 'how much more subsidence will occur?'.

The DeepNL programme of the Dutch Research Council is funding our proposal to develop a model aimed at forecasting surface deformation in the Groningen gas field region. At this stage we seek to fill two PhD positions in a collaborative project of researchers at Utrecht University and Delft University of Technology aimed at quantifying the physical processes that drive subsidence from InSAR, GPS, and geodetic levelling observations.

Utrecht University is looking for an enthusiastic PhD researcher on Forecasting Subsidence in the Groningen Reservoir Region to become a part of our team, consisting of eight members. You will join the Tectonophysics research group and the Delta Evolution and Subsurface Processes group at the faculty of Geosciences .

Your main tasks will be to:

  • develop a physics-based surface deformation model driven by groundwater variations in unsaturated soils;
  • develop a mechanical model of surface deformation due to compaction of deep (> 200 m, sub-Holocene) rock layers driven by pore pressure changes in the gas reservoir and aquifers;
  • couple these models and optimize the resulting model to make it most suitable for assimilation of geodetic time series data.

In this collaborative project, the TU Delft is looking for a PhD candidate on satellite InSAR and data assimilation for subsidence analysis to join their interdisciplinary team. This position will be mostly located at TU Delft and will also operate in the InSAR research team as well as in the data assimilation team of TU Delft. Check the vacancy at the TU Delft website.

The selected candidates for both positions will work closely together.

Specific Requirements

We are looking for a colleague with multiple of the following qualifications:

  • affinity to work in a diverse environment of junior and senior scientists;
  • ability to work independently and take initiative;
  • good organisational and communication skills;
  • excellent skills in writing and speaking English;
  • an open, critical, and interdisciplinary mindset;
  • an MSc or equivalent degree in geophysics, aerospace engineering, physical geography, or geosciences.

This is a diverse project, and the ideal candidate is a jack-of-all-trades who possesses vast and diverse knowledge and skills in all project disciplines and who also excels in all topic areas. We recognise however that it is more realistic that the you demonstrate a solid grasp of one or few of the following subject areas:

  • continuum mechanics;
  • mechanical properties of soils and rocks;
  • numerical computing including writing code;
  • algebra and solving differential equations.

We therefore expect you to demonstrate curiosity, intellectual versatility, and a deep interest in exploring and mastering new subjects.

You are expected to publish your results in peer-reviewed academic journals as Open Science contributions. Up to 10% of your time will be dedicated to assisting in the BSc and MSc teaching programmes of the host institute. A personalised training programme will be set up, which will reflect your training needs and career objectives.

Additional Information

We offer:

  • a position for one year, with an extension to a total of four years upon successful assessment;
  • a gross monthly salary between €2,770 and €3,539 in the case of full-time employment (salary scale P under the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities (CAO NU);
  • 8% holiday pay and 8.3% year-end bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave and flexible terms of employment based on the CAO NU.

In addition to the terms of employment laid down in the CAO NU, Utrecht University has a number of schemes and facilities of its own for employees. This includes schemes facilitating professional development , leave schemes and schemes for sports and cultural activities , as well as discounts on software and other IT products. We also offer access to additional employee benefits through our Terms of Employment Options Model. In this way, we encourage our employees to continue to invest in their growth. For more information, please visit Working at Utrecht University .

Selection process

As Utrecht University, we want to be a home for everyone. We value staff with diverse backgrounds, perspectives and identities, including cultural, religious or ethnic background, gender, sexual orientation, disability or age. We strive to create a safe and inclusive environment in which everyone can flourish and contribute.

To apply, please send your curriculum vitae, including a letter of motivation, via the ‘apply now’ button.

The preferred start date is 1 June 2024.

Additional comments

For informal information, please contact Dr Rob Govers at [email protected] .

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 .

Website for additional job details

Work Location(s)
Number of offers available
Universiteit Utrecht
Postal Code
Princetonlaan 8a

Where to apply



Domplein 29
Postal Code

3512 JE


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