ETH Zurich is looking for A Project Leader for Underground Research

Berner Oberland, Switzerland (source: flickr/ petr cervinka, creative commons)
Francisco Rojas 12 May 2014

Position is focused around EGS systems and it is financed for an initial period, 2014 to 2016, and longer-term career perspectives may develop if the program is successful.

From the company’s website:

As part of a multi-disciplinary research team to work on reservoir creation and risk governance challenges for deep geothermal energy and CO2 storage, we are looking for a Project Leader for Underground Research

Current research in deep geothermal energy in Switzerland focuses primarily on heat extraction from enhanced/engineered geothermal systems (EGS), with the goal to engineer heat exchangers at depth, with consistent production of hot water, sustainable over decades without significant temperature decline, seismically safe during stimulation and long-term operation, and located in diverse tectonic and geological environments; the most likely reservoir targets will be fractured, crystalline rocks at depths of 4-5 km and temperatures near 180 to 200°C. To develop and test innovative methods and numerical models for reservoir stimulation and operation, and to enhance the understanding of the physical processes governing the stimulation processes including induced seismicity, we will conduct in-situ experiments in underground rock laboratories.
These experiments may focus on: the creation of new fractures vs. reactivation of existing fractures in natural complex systems and quantification of propped vs. stimulated volume and swept area; mapping and monitoring techniques for induced seismicity, preferential fluid flow, pore pressures, progressive stimulation, stress change and strain evolution; mine-back operations into stimulated volumes; the calibration and validation of hydromechanically coupled discrete fracture models; validating methodologies and algorithms to forecast induced seismicity in near-real time and strategies to assess and limit the maximum possible earthquake size.

A cross-disciplinary team of scientists and PhD students at ETH Zurich will design, conduct and interpret these in-situ experiments in collaboration with other Swiss and European colleagues. The project leader is expected to oversee the design and execution of experiments at various test sites in Switzerland and abroad, building upon the substantial existing experience and data of in-situ experiments carried out in rock labs, tunnels or mines. Cooperation with industry partners and federal agencies is a key to the success of these experiments. Additional research funds raised through competitive programs are expected to supplement the activities.

A PhD in geosciences, mining, engineering or a related field is required, as is a proven record of excellence in conducting innovative research using in-situ underground laboratories and/or equivalent industry experience. The ability and willingness to communicate across disciplines and perform collaborative, interdisciplinary research is a key requirement. English and German are working languages at ETH.The position is financed for an initial period, 2014 to 2016, and longer-term career perspectives may develop if the program is successful. ETH Zurich is consistently ranked among the top universities in the world and offers a competitive salary, dependent on experience and performance. The city of Zurich rates as one of the most attractive cities worldwide.

For further information about the position, please contact Prof. Dr. Domenico Giardini by email: (no applications) and visit our website with a CV, a research statement addressing in-situ experiments, and the
names and contacts of three references should be sent online (please use the button below) to:
ETH Zurich, Ms Maja Bügler, Human Resources, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland. Review of the
applications will commence May 31, 2014, and will continue until the position is filled.