Research Assistant / Associate (f/m/d)

Postdoc in numerical modelling of continental rifting



Prof. Susanne Buiter


+49 241-8095723



Unit for Tectonics and Geodynamics

Our Profile

The Unit for Tectonics and Geodynamics at RWTH Aachen uses numerical and analogue techniques to investigate causes and consequences of continental deformation processes. We are calling for applications for a three-year position as postdoctoral researcher in continental rifting. The successful candidate will use numerical thermomechanical experiments to examine rifting from initiation to break-up, focussing, for example, on interplays between inheritance, rheology and plate tectonic setting. Development of new numerical software, for teaching and/or research purposes, explicitly forms part of the position. We also expect involvement in teaching and student supervision.

-We can offer an inclusive work environment with unique scientific challenges and good opportunities for professional development.
-We offer support for presenting at (inter-)national conferences and for open access publication of results obtained during the postdoc appointment.
-The existing finite-element 2D/3D software SULEC (by Buiter and Ellis) is available to the postdoctoral researcher.
-We encourage linking the numerical experiments to extension experiments that are separately conducted in the analogue (sandbox) laboratory of the Unit.

Your Profile

Applicants must have a doctorate/Ph.D. in Geosciences or equivalent.

-This position requires proven experience in setting up, running and evaluating thermomechanical numerical experiments of tectonic processes (such as continental rifting, basin formation, or the formation of fold-and-thrust belts).
-Some experience in coding and/or developing numerical geodynamic software is required.
-Applicants are expected to be able to work independently as well as collaborate across disciplines.
-An enthusiasm for teaching at BSc and/or MSc levels is expected.
-Applicants must have completed their PhD at the time the position starts.
-Applicants should be able to express themselves fluently in English, written and orally.

Your Duties and Responsibilities

-The successful applicant will use existing numerical software (such as SULEC) to conduct experiments on continental rifting, from initiation to break-up, investigating the interplay between (structural and thermal) inheritance, lithosphere rheology, and the plate tectonic setting.
-The successful applicant is expected to develop new software for thermomechanical experiments, as teaching tools for BSc/MSc levels and/or as software optimised towards 3D experiments.
-Close interaction with analogue experiments on continental rifting is a possibility.
-(Co-)supervision of Bachelor and Master students and involvement in teaching is expected.
-Presentation of results at (inter-)national conferences and publication in peer-reviewed scientific journals is expected.

We ask for a cover letter, a cv, a statement of research interest of maximum one page, and the contact details of three persons willing to write a reference (please note that we do not ask for reference letters at this stage). We aim to fill the position as soon as possible in early 2021, but we have some flexibility.

What We Offer

The successful candidate will be employed under a regular employment contract or as a public servant.
The position is to be filled at the earliest possible date and for 3 years.
This is a full-time position with the possibility of a part-time contract upon request.
The salary corresponds to pay grade EG 13 TV-L of the German public service salary scale (TV-L).
RWTH is a certified family-friendly University. We support our employees in maintaining a good work-life balance with a wide range of health, advising, and prevention services, for example university sports. We also offer a comprehensive continuing education scheme and a public transportation ticket available at a significantly reduced price.
RWTH is an equal opportunities employer. We therefore welcome and encourage applications from all suitably qualified candidates, particularly from groups that are underrepresented at the University. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of national or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability or age. RWTH is strongly committed to encouraging women in their careers. Female applicants are given preference if they are equally suitable, competent, and professionally qualified, unless a fellow candidate is favored for a specific reason.
As RWTH is committed to equality of opportunity, we ask you not to include a photo in your application.
You can find information on the personal data we collect from applicants in accordance with Articles 13 and 14 of the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) at

Application deadline:01.11.2020
Mailing Address:Prof. Susanne Buiter
Tektonik und Geodynamik
RWTH Aachen
Lochnerstr. 4-20
52064 Aachen, Germany
Applicants are invited to submit their applications via email. For data protection reasons, however, we recommend sending applications via mail.