Reference no.
Closing date

Informal enquiries should be directed to the primary supervisor, Dr Jingsheng Ma, at


The transport behaviours of highly compressible shale gas in presence of a liquid, either as wetting or non-wetting phase, within mechanically weak organic pores are poorly understood although their impacts on shale gas production are believed to be great. The expansion of in-situ highly compressed shale gas has been touted as one of the key mechanics to much higher observed gas production than could be explained otherwise. Gas may be subject to repeatedly recompression and re-expansion when gas passes through divergent and convergent pores, and defends invading frac fluids, and this is believed to attribute to the phenomena of only one phase mobile and/or both phases immobile observed in laboratory and fields. In addition to the interactions of two-phase fluids with pore surfaces via their wettability, the fluctuation of fluid pressures could induce variable stresses on pore surfaces to deform and even fracture mechanically weak organic matters, altering their flow properties drastically.

The main objectives of this project are:

  1. to develop suitable pore-scale mathematical and numerical models to investigate potential mechanisms that improve and degrade shale production;
  2. to apply the models to assess their impacts on UK shale gas to provide timely support to the on-going UK NERC unconventional hydrocarbon programme.

The suitable candidates to this position are expected to have a good knowledge in applied fluid dynamics and solid mechanics, demonstrable experience in applying computational fluid dynamics to pore-scale modelling of multiphase fluid flow and fluid and solid interactions, and sound skills in computer programming, preferable using an object-oriented programming language.


We are currently inviting applications for our James Watt Scholarships within the Institute of Petroleum Engineering.

To be eligible, applicants should have a first-class honours degree in a relevant subject or a 2.1 honours degree plus Masters (or equivalent). Scholarships will be awarded by competitive merit, taking into account the academic ability of the applicant.


Scholarships will cover tuition fees and provide an annual stipend of approximately £14,999 for the 36 month duration of the project.

How to apply

Applicants may only apply for ONE of the project topics offered by the Institute of Petroleum Engineering.

Please complete our online application form. Please select PhD programme Petroleum Engineering, Petroleum Geoscience or Applied Geoscience within the application and include the project reference, title and supervisor names on your application. Applicants who do not include these details on their application may not be considered.

Please also provide a written proposal, at least one side of A4, outlining how you would approach the research project. You will also be required to upload a CV, a copy of your degree certificate and relevant transcripts and one academic reference.

You must also provide proof of your ability in the English language (if English is not your mother tongue or if you have not already studied for a degree that was taught in English). We require an IELTS certificate showing an overall score of at least 6.5 with no component scoring less than 6.0 or a TOEFL certificate with a minimum score of 90 points.


The closing date for applications is Friday 1 February 2019. Please note that this is a strict deadline and applications received after this date will not be considered. Incomplete applications will also not be considered so all supporting documents must be provided by the closing date.