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RWTH Aachen - Applied Geophysics and Geothermal Energy & AICES

The institute for Applied Geophysics and Geothermal Energy performs application-oriented research in the fields of geothermal energy, numerical simulations of flow and transport processes, petrophysics and seismic imaging. The institute hosts an international and interdisciplinary team of PhD students and postdocs and operates a well-equipped petrophysics laboratory.
The Junior Research Group ‘Geofluiddynamics’ at the Aachen Institute for Advanced Study in Computational Engineering Science (AICES) has expertise in developing mathematical and computational models for complex phase-change processes. Furthermore, the group is actively engaged in various glacial exploration initiatives.
Jülich Supercomputing Centre operates supercomputers of the highest performance class in Europe and provides computer capacity for scientists at the Research Centre Jülich (FZJ), at universities and research laboratories in Germany and in Europe - as well as for industrial partners.
The Jülich Aachen Research Alliance Centre for Simulation and Data Sciences (JARA-CSD), combines several former initiatives (AICES, JARA-HPC, CompSE etc.), aiming to foster interdisciplinary education and research between RWTH Aachen University and FZ Jülich. 

PhD Position

Work­ing field:

Geo­ther­mally indu­ced mel­ting of large ice sheets from below is a key fac­tor for gla­cial dyna­mics and sub-gla­cial land­scape evo­lu­tion, yet not well unders­tood until now. Inves­ti­ga­ting the inter­play bet­ween geo­ther­mal heat trans­fer, deep-to-shal­low, saline ground­wa­ter cir­cu­la­tion and mel­ting at the base of an ice sheet requi­res the capa­bi­lity to simu­late phase-change pro­ces­ses cou­p­led to natu­rally con­vec­ting, com­plex geo­me­try porous media flow. This PhD pro­ject is cen­te­red around the deve­lop­ment of a mel­ting and free­zing module for the hydro­ther­mal in-house code SHE­MAT-Suite, and its app­li­ca­tion to study the gene­sis mecha­nisms of sub­gla­cial mel­twa­ter chan­nels during the last ice-age.

The PhD rese­arch con­sists of
  • Model deve­lop­ment: The sys­tem’s phy­si­cal regimes, its cor­re­spon­ding model for­mu­la­tion and alter­na­tive opti­ons for the nume­ri­cal dis­cre­tiza­t­ion will be stu­died.
  • HPC code imple­men­ta­tion: A per­for­mant scheme will be deve­lo­ped that com­plies with the frame­work of SHE­MAT-Suite and exploits the HPC infra­struc­ture at FZ Jülich.
  • Data inte­gra­tion and ensem­ble set-up: Sub­sur­face data from repo­si­to­ries as well as seis­mic pro­files from the North Ger­man Basin shall be inte­gra­ted into a geo­lo­gi­cal model. An ensem­ble will be set up to account for data uncer­tainty.
  • Model-based hypo­the­sis tes­ting: Finally, the com­plete work­flow shall be uti­li­zed to inves­ti­gate various alter­na­tive gene­sis sce­na­rios for sub­gla­cial tun­nel val­leys.

The PhD pro­ject will be loca­ted at the School for Simu­la­tion and Data Sci­en­ces (SSD), the suc­ces­sor of the Aachen Insti­tute for Advan­ced Study in Com­pu­ta­tio­nal Engi­nee­ring Sci­ence (AICES), and at the Insti­tute for App­lied Geo­phy­sics and Geo­ther­mal Energy. The can­di­date is jointly super­vi­sed by Dr. Sönke Rei­che (App­lied Geo­phy­sics and Geo­ther­mal Energy) and Priv.-Doz. Dr. Julia Kowal­ski (Geof­luid­dy­na­mics), both of whom head junior rese­arch groups at AICES. The pro­ject fur­ther­more bene­fits from a strong col­la­bo­ra­tion with Prof. Ste­fan Kol­let at FZ Jülich.


We are loo­king for a can­di­date with a strong inte­rest in geo­sci­en­ti­fic rese­arch and a uni­ver­sity degree (mas­ter or com­pa­ra­ble) in geo­phy­sics / phy­sics / app­lied mathe­ma­tics or in a rela­ted disci­pline. Expe­ri­ence in coding and with large sci­en­ti­fic soft­ware is a defi­nite plus.

What we of­fer:

The posi­tion is until 30.09.2021 / 3 years and is to be fil­led by Octo­ber 1, 2018. The stan­dard weekly hours will be 25,88 hours. 65%

The suc­cess­ful can­di­date has the oppor­tu­nity to pur­sue a doc­to­ral degree.

The salary cor­re­sponds to level EG 13 TV-L.

RWTH Aachen Uni­ver­sity is cer­ti­fied as a "Family-Fri­endly Uni­ver­sity". We par­ti­cu­larly wel­come and encou­rage app­li­ca­ti­ons from women, disa­b­led per­sons and eth­nic mino­rity groups, reco­gni­zing they are under­re­pre­sen­ted across RWTH Aachen Uni­ver­sity. The prin­ci­ples of fair and open com­pe­ti­tion apply and appoint­ments will be made on merit.

How to ap­ply:

For further details, please contact
Dr. Julia Kowalski
Tel.: +49 (0) 241 80 99150
Fax: +49 (0) 241 80 628498

Dr. Sönke Reiche
Tel.: +49 (0) 241 80 49896
Fax: +49 (0) 241 80 49889

For further information, please visit our website at:
http:// &

Please send your application by August 31, 2018 to
RWTH Aachen
Applied geophysics & Geothermal Energy
Mathieustr. 10
52074 Aachen

You can also send your application via email to Please note, however, that communication via unencrypted e-mail poses a threat to confidentiality as it is potentially vulnerable to unauthorized access by third parties.