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GBP31076 –GBP38183 (Grade 7)
School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society
Full Time
35 months fixed-term


About our team

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society

The School of Energy, Geoscience, Infrastructure and Society is one of the UK?s leading institutions for multidisciplinary research and teaching in areas critical to economic development and societal equity.  We aim to attain excellence in the teaching of the core disciplines that contribute to a sustainable, resource and energy efficient society and are committed to undertaking high value, high impact research and knowledge transfer in topics of relevance to global challenges.

The School enjoys facilities consistent with its location in modern, purpose-built accommodation on the Edinburgh campus. The School is well equipped in respect of laboratories for materials, structures, engineering, building services and hydraulics research and teaching.  Our research and teaching facilities in Dubai and Malaysia are contained within purpose-built campuses in Dubai Academic City and Putrajaya, respectively.

The School?s undergraduate teaching on our Edinburgh campus covers civil and structural engineering, architectural engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying, geography, urban studies, interior design and the biology suite.  On our Dubai campus we teach civil & structural engineering, architectural engineering, architecture, construction management, quantity surveying and interior design.  On our Malaysia campus we teach civil engineering, construction project management, quantity surveying and petroleum engineering.  We offer a high quality educational experience underpinned by practical and laboratory teaching, and informed by contact with professional practice.  Most of our degree programmes hold the appropriate accreditation from the relevant professional body.  This educational philosophy ensures excellent employment prospects for all of our graduates.

Programmes of postgraduate study are aligned to the expertise contained in each of our research institutes. Our postgraduate students therefore benefit from state-of-the-art knowledge in their chosen study area.  You can find further information about the School?s postgraduate programmes at

The School is one of the leading research centres in the UK. It has sustained a high reputation for the international standing of its research over two decades.
Research within the School is organised into six Institutes:  

  • Institute of Life and Earth Sciences (ILES)
  • The Urban Institute (TUI)
  • Institute of Petroleum Engineering (IPE)
  • Institute for Infrastructure and Environment (IIE)
  • Centre of Excellence in Sustainable Building Design (CESBD)
  • Institute for Social Policy, Housing, Equalities Research (I-SPHERE)

All academic staff based on the Edinburgh and Dubai campuses contribute to the research activities of one of our Institutes.

DETECT is an integrated project, involving the Lyell Centre and the Institute of Petroleum Engineering at Heriot Watt University, RWTH Aachen University, Germany; Risktec, the Netherlands and Shell Global Solutions, the Netherlands. Shell is coordinating this project.


Further details

Project Title: ?Experimental and field determination of stress-dependent fracture networks and fracture permeability of mudrocks?

Lyell Centre

Fixed Term 33-36 months
Heriot-Watt University and the British Geological Survey (BGS) have joined forces to create a new research centre for Earth and Marine Science and Technology. Based at Heriot-Watt's Edinburgh Campus, the Lyell Centre will be one of Europe's leading centres for research and expertise in the earth and marine sciences. Jointly funded by UK and Scottish funders; Natural Environment Research Council (NERC), Scottish Funding Council (SFC) and Heriot-Watt, The Lyell Centre will promote innovative research at the core of geoscience, marine and terrestrial ecology, computing, mathematics and engineering.

Detailed Description 

The project is funded for 36 months by the ACT (Accelerating CCS Technology) program and will perform a risk-based approach to evaluate leakage from deep CO2 storage sites. The aim of this project is to generate guidelines for determining the risk of CO2 leakage along fractures across the primary caprock using an integrated monitoring and hydro-mechanical-chemical modelling approach. For this purpose, we will perform laboratory studies to provide relevant parameters for CO2 leakage modelling at small, meso, and large scales for several case studies, incorporating analogue data where possible. The intention is to improve our understanding of realistic leakage geometries and rates for several representative scenarios and to identify containment monitoring technologies that are capable of detecting such caprock integrity issues. We will build on experience gained from the risk-based Measurement, Monitoring and Verification (MMV) programme for the current Quest and the former Peterhead CCS projects. This, together with the insights gained from DETECT, will be integrated within a risk assessment framework using the bowtie method which will allow both a qualitative and quantitative assessment of the risk of CO2 leakage along fractures in the caprock. The resulting bowties will serve CO2 storage operators as guidelines for site-specific risk assessments. Further, the integrated results of this work can be used for communication regarding leakage from CO2 storage in a clear, logical, and substantiated manner.

Key duties and responsibilities

Key duties and responsibilities of the role holder include, but are not limited to

Characterising mudrock fracture patterns from field data and develop general concepts of fracture patterns in fault damage zones
Determining stress-dependent fracture permeability in the laboratory on a wide number of different mudrocks to produce model input data to be implemented in fracture flow models my PDRA 2
Contribute to qualitative and quantitative risk assessment for caprock leakage
Present research results at conferences and internal project meetings
Publish peer-reviewed and conference papers

Education, Qualifications and Experience
  • Minimum qualification: Doctorate

Education, qualifications and experience  


A PhD in Earth sciences, including but not limited to in petrophysics, geophysics, rock physics or related topic. And a 2.1 or higher in an undergraduate degree in geoscience, petroleum or civil engineering.
Expert-knowledge in flow in porous media, ideally flow in fractured media
Experience in field work, including mapping of large and small scale structures,
Experience in design of experimental setups under subsurface reservoir conditions
Strong publication track record
Team spirit and experience in collaborating within interdisciplinary and multi-national teams
Excellent communication and presentation skills
Experience in working towards tight deadlines
Experience in conducting independent research


Basic knowledge and interest in numerical and analytical methods to model fluid transport in porous and fractured media
Knowledge in mineralogy and petrophysics of mudrocks
Experience in petroleum and/or reservoir engineering
Willingness to perform field work inside and outside Europe
Willingness to travel to project meetings in Europe

Amount of travel
  • Travel involved: Moderate Travel
How to apply

Applications for this vacancy should be made online through the Heriot-Watt University iRecruit system.

The closing date for applications is  midnight on Wednesday 20th September 2017.

Interviews will be held in the week commencing 2nd October 2017 (possibly through Skype).

Informal enquiries should be directed to Dr. Andreas Busch ( for PDRA 1.

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