Postdoctoral researcher (f_m_x) – Geodynamic modelling of CO2 emissions in continental rifts


The Helmholtz Centre Potsdam – GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national centre for geosphere research. As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres we are part of the largest scientific organization in Germany. With approximately 1,500 employees our key mission is to secure a profound understanding of the systems and processes of solid Earth, to develop strategies and options for action in addressing global change and its impacts on a regional level, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, to ensure the sustainable provision of energy and raw materials for a high-tech society and to evaluate the influence of human activity on system Earth.
For section "Geodynamic Modelling” (department “Geophysics”), we are looking for a:

Postdoctoral researcher (f_m_x) – Geodynamic modelling of CO2 emissions in continental rifts

Reference Number 8763

Throughout the history of our planet, geodynamic processes caused atmospheric CO2 variations and exerted major control on climate change. Deformation processes in continental rifts are known to activate deep and large carbon reservoirs. But due to cross-scale interactions, quantitative modelling of CO2 degassing in rift environments remains an unsolved challenge. In the framework of the recently funded ERC Consolidator project EMERGE, we will combine geodynamic models with new multi-scale CO2 flux measurements in Kenya, Ethiopia, Czech Republic and Iceland. In particular, we will employ the geodynamic modelling software ASPECT to account for relevant processes of lithosphere deformation and carbon transport including faulting, ductile deformation, partial melting, melt ascent, and CO2 degassing. By accounting for lithospheric architecture, volcano-tectonic observations and measured CO2 fluxes, we aim to isolate the relative impact of geodynamic processes and lithospheric properties on rift-related CO2 release through space and time.

Your responsibilities:

  • Development of numerical models to simulate melting, melt ascent and CO2 degassing in continental rifts
  • Conduct generic models to investigate the impact of compositional, thermal, and mechanical lithosphere characteristics on CO2 release
  • Conduct specific simulations aimed at reproducing observations and understanding key processes in the project’s target areas in East Africa and Europe
  • Collaborating with members of the EMERGE project
  • Co-supervision of PhD students and potentially supervision of Master students
  • Interact with colleagues in the Geodynamic Modelling Section at group meetings, workshops and in other informal ways
  • Presentation of results at scientific meetings and in peer-reviewed publications
  • Voluntary participation in the project’s field trips to sites in East Africa and Europe 

Your qualifications:

  • Master`s degree (or equivalent) and a PhD in Earth Sciences, Physics, or Engineering
  • Extensive experience and knowledge in the development and use of numerical models based on the solution of partial differential equations, preferentially of ASPECT
  • Experience in geodynamic modelling, preferentially rift tectonics or two-phase flow
  • Experience in HPC computing, data analysis and model visualization
  • Proven ability to work in a collaborative and multi-disciplinary environment
  • Creativity and critical thinking skills and the ability to publish, as demonstrated by a record of original and innovative publications
  • Capacity for international teamwork, and excellent communication skills
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English

What we offer:

  • Ambitious and varied tasks in a dynamic and international research environment
  • State-of-the-art equipment
  • Public service benefits
  • Extensive training opportunities
  • Professional career advice offered by our in-house Career-Centre 
  • Flexible working hours and conditions
  • Support with finding a good work-life balance offered by benefit@work
  • Institute day-care centre on site 
  • Working at the Albert Einstein science park on the Telegrafenberg in Potsdam
  • Work place within walking distance of Potsdam main train station, or just a short ride on the shuttle bus 

Start date: 1st May 2024
Fixed-term: 2+2 years
Salary: The position is classed as salary group 13 according to “TVöD Bund (Tarifgebiet Ost)”. The salary group is determined on the basis of the Collective Wage Agreement and the respective personal qualifications.
Working hours: Full-time (currently 39 h/week); The position is generally suitable for part-time work.
Place of work: Potsdam

Have we piqued your interest?

If so, we look forward to receiving your application by 6th December 2023. Please use our online application form only.

Diversity and equal opportunities are integral components of our human resources policy. The GFZ actively promotes diversity and explicitly welcomes applications from all qualified individuals, regardless of ethnic and social origin, nationality, gender, sexual orientation and identity, religion/belief, age and physical characteristics. Anyone who has been recognized as severely disabled, will be given preferential consideration in the event of equal suitability and qualification in accordance with the provisions of the German Social Code IX. If you have any questions, please contact our representative for the severely disabled at sbv[at], who will be happy to assist you in the further application process. In case of further queries regarding gender equality, please do not hesitate to contact our Equal Opportunities Officer at gba[at]

Your personal data will be processed for the purpose of conducting the selection procedure on the basis of Art. 6 para. 1 b, Art. 88 GDPR in conjunction with Art. 26 of the Data Protection Act for the State of Brandenburg. After completion of the procedure, application documents will be deleted in compliance with data protection regulations.

In case of any further queries relating to the field of activity, please contact Dr.Sascha Brune either via email at or phone +49 (0)331-6264-1928. If you have any general questions about the application process, please contact our recruiting team at our phone number +49 (0) 331-6264-28787.



Franca Buge

Human Resources

0331 288-28787


Carolin Büsser

Human Resources

0331 288-28787 

GFZ - Helmholtz / Deutsches GeoForschungsZentrum

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Deadline: 2023-12-06
Location: Germany, Potsdam
Categories: numerical modeling, Data analysis, Earth Science, Engineering, PhD, Physics,


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