PhD/Postdoc Position in Hydrothermal Geochemistry

100%, Zurich, temporary

As part of a large European project on geothermal fluids, the Institue of Geochemistry and Petrology at ETH Zurich is seeking a junior researcher to perform studies on the thermodynamics of fluid-rock interaction in "supercritical" geothermal resources, such as those encountered in the Iceland Deep Drilling Project, IDDP.

Project background

Chemical reactions between "supercritical" water and minerals are a key process in many geochemical processes such as ore deposit formation, mid-ocean ridge hydrothermal systems, continental geothermal systems and others. However, we are currently unable to quantitatively understand these as there exists no formalism to describe the chemical behavior of dissolved components in "supercritical" water under the condistions of interest (temperature higher than 374°C and pressures of 10s of MPa). This strongly limits our ability to predict how chemical fluid-rock interaction will affect the future use of the upcoming technology of utilizing "supercritical" geothermal resoruces but is also a fundamental limitation for applications in the fields of ore deposits, marine hydrothermal systems, chemical engineering etc.

Job description

We are seeking a highly motivated candidate (f/m) with a strong interest in quantitative modelling of mineral-fluid equilibria and with an MSc degree in geochemistry, chemical engineering, physical chemistry or a related discipline. As the key work to be performed, the candidate is expected to develop a passion for collecting and critically assessing data sets from the literature and complementary experimental and simulation work performed by other groups of the project, to identify systematic trends and to cast them into coherent equations. Depending on the candidate's background the exact direction of this approach may be more geoscience- or more physical chemistry-oriented.

Your profile

We expect self-driven and motivated interaction with the partner groups in Iceland, France, Germany, Norway, and Great Britain. If successful, your work will likely lead to some fundamental publications that form the basis for future broad applications across a wide range of disciplines.

The position is primarily targeted as a PhD study but in case of an exceptionally qualified candidate we may consider hiring on a junior postdoc level. Funding is available for three years with a likely extension for a fourth year. The position will be available from December 2019.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich Link icon


We look forward to receiving your online application as soon as possible, with the following documents: CV, Academic record, and motivation letter that makes explicit reference to the scientific problem described above. Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered. Evaluation of applications will commence in November 2019; we will consider applications until the position is filled.

Further information about the department can be found on our website The Department of Earth Sciences of ETH Zürich hosts a vivid and strong research community, and has repeatedly been ranked among the world's leading institutions. The city and surroundings of Zürich offer a high quality of living and the opportunity for many exciting leisure activities to re-charge your batteries.

For further information, please contact Prof. Thomas Driesner, e-mail (no applications).

Your workplace