PhD Student

Last application date
Jul 15, 2024 00:00
WE13 - Department of Geology
Limited duration
Master’s degree (preferably) in Physics, Engineering, (Applied) Mathematics, or equivalent (by time of starting this position)
Occupancy rate
Vacancy type
Research staff

Job description

PhD position focused on numerical simulation of tracer particle transport in porous media.

You will perform cutting-edge scientific research in the context of the ERC Starting Grant “FLOWSCOPY: Unravelling unsteady fluid flows in porous media with 3D X-ray micro-velocimetry”. Fluid flows in porous materials are a widespread phenomenon, just think of groundwater flow in the subsurface. The behavior of the flow on the large scale, for example how a pollutant spreads in a soil after an environmental disaster, is controlled by how fluids work their way through a maze of minuscule, interconnected pores in the material. Such flows involve complex fluid physics that are currently far from being fully understood. However, there is a major challenge to study this: how do you measure fluid flow in minuscule pores inside a material? In this project, new techniques will be developed to solve this using high-resolution X-ray CT, based on principles used in hospitals to image patients, but at a hundred times higher resolution. By introducing specially designed particles into the flow and tracking their motion with new computer algorithms, we will be able to measure fluid flows that are representative of realistic processes in the subsurface, leading to better models of groundwater flows, and of how CO2 and hydrogen can be stored in porous rock layers in the subsurface.

As a PhD student performing fundamental research on this project, your task will be to develop models of how tracers are transported in the network of pores, in order to interpret the experimental data and bridge the gap to the macroscopic scale. To do this, you will develop and use multiscale models (pore network models) to reproduce novel 3D imaging experiments. This requires efficient scientific computing, appropriate model reductions, and a good understanding of the experiments. You will collaborate closely with several other researchers working on various other aspects of this ERC project).


  • We offer a full-time position as a doctoral fellow, consisting of an initial period of 12 months, which - after a positive evaluation, will be extended to a total maximum of 48 months.
  • Your contract will start on 01/09/2024 at the earliest.
  • The fellowship amount is 100% of the net salary of an AAP member in equal family circumstances. The individual fellowship amount is determined by the Department of Personnel and Organization based on family status and seniority. A grant that meets the conditions and criteria of the regulations for doctoral fellowships is considered free of personal income tax. Click here for more information about our salary scales
  • All Ghent University staff members enjoy a number of benefits, such as a wide range of training and education opportunities, 36 days of holiday leave (on an annual basis for a full-time job) supplemented by annual fixed bridge days, bicycle allowance and eco vouchers. Click here for a complete overview of all the staff benefits (in Dutch).

Job profile

  • You hold a Master’s degree (preferably) in Physics, Engineering, (Applied) Mathematics, or equivalent (by time of starting this position)
  • You have a keen interest in numerical modelling to investigate physical problems
  • You have good programming skills in C++/Python/Matlab or other programming languages.
  • You have an interest in advising on the design of experiments and working with the resulting data.
  • Experience with fluid dynamics, imaging or porous media is a plus.
  • You have strong analytical and critical thinking skills, enabling you to design new models in function of theoretical questions.
  • You have an excellent academic track record and an excellent command of the English language.
  • You are a team player with excellent scientific and interpersonal communication skills.

How to apply

Apply online via Google Forms:
ATTENTION: applications will be evaluated on a rolling basis until suitable candidates are found, so please do not delay your application. Applications will close on 15th July 2024 at the latest. We do not accept late applications.
For more information about this vacancy, please contact Prof. Tom Bultreys (
Visit and for more information on the research group.