Download 2021 PhD topics

Candidate profile

The ideal candidate is passionate about science, has a solid background in applied mathematics, statistics and physics, and has strong scientific writing skills. An experience in computer programming is required. A background or a proven interest in geoscience is appreciated. Candidates should hold a MSc in (quantitative) Earth Sciences, Geophysics or Physics, Computer Science, Geostatistics, Porous Media, Applied Mathematics, or related fields. A strong command of English language is required. French language is preferable, but not necessary.

How to apply

Application files must be sent to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. before the deadline (see PhD offers below) and must include:

  • A cover letter, 
  • A CV, including contact information for two or more referees
  • A research outcome (Master’s thesis or paper) written by the candidate
  • A transcript of grades Location

Karstic networks are complex underground assemblies of cavities and tunnels generated by the dissolution of highly soluble rocks. In the frame of virtual scene synthesis, Paris et al. (2019) propose a promising procedural approach to generate karstic features. The goal of this research will be to investigate the possibilities of a recent graph-based approach to stochastically simulate networks that honor geological information and analog data, and thus better assess the associated uncertainties. Integrating this work in an inversion framework using hydrogeological data would be also considered.

Reference: PARIS A, GALIN E, PEYTAVIE A, GUÉRIN E & GAIN J. (2019). Terrain Amplification with Implicit 3D Features. ACM Transactions on Graphics 38(5):1-15.

Deadline for application: June 20, 2021

Owing to the lack and incompleteness of subsurface data, significant uncertainties exist on the position of structural surfaces (faults and horizons). The present project proposes to develop an innovative way of inverting seismic data to reduce uncertainties on these structures. Instead of using seismic recordings and wave propagation simulations, the method will rely on full waveform inversion (FWI) images and the homogenization operator (e.g., Cupillard & Capdeville, 2018). To be achieved, the development of efficient computing technology for geomodeling will be necessary.

Reference: CUPILLARD P & CAPDEVILLE Y. (2018). Non-periodic homogenization of 3-D elastic media for the seismic wave equation. Geophysical Journal International 213(2):983-1001.

Deadline for application: June 20, 2021

The applications of inverse problem theory to geoscience mainly consider continuous model parameters. In geology, however, some model components are discrete at the scale of concern and the number of parameters itself becomes an unknown of the problem. To address this issue, transdimensional methods have been developed (e.g., Bodin et al., 2009). The objective of this PhD is to consider suitable geological parameterizations and to exploit the local aspect of model updating for setting up a trans-dimensional inversion of subsurface flow data.

Reference: BODIN T & SAMBRIDGE M. (2009). Seismic tomography with the reversible jump algorithm. Geophysical Journal International 178(3):1411-1436.

Deadline for application : June 20, 2021

Structural restoration is commonly used to assess the deformation of geological structures and to reconstruct past basin geometries. To bring more physical behavior and better handle large deformations in this process, a reverse-time method based on the Stokes equations was recently proposed by Schuh-Senlis et al. (2020). The goal of the PhD is to investigate the viscous properties of sedimentary materials and fault behavior at the geological time-scale in order to improve this method.

Reference: SCHUH-SENLIS M, THIEULOT C, CUPILLARD P & CAUMON G. (2020). Towards the application of Stokes flow equations to structural restoration simulations. Solid Earth 11:1909-1930.

Deadline for application : June 20, 2021