Postgraduate research opportunities

Earthquake-proofing of a new well stimulation technology

Low-carbon (e.g. geothermal, subsurface energy storage) and negative carbon (e.g. CO2 storage) geological engineering solutions will be a key part of the energy mix as we move to net zero emissions.

Number of places



Home fee, Stipend


20 December 2019


27 March 2020


42 months


Candidates should have a related background in geosciences, geomechanics or engineering, basic knowledge of computer programming, ability and willingness to learn new software and computational skills, be comfortable with international travel and working as members of a team.

Project Details

This PhD project looks into the short and long-term impact that an emerging technology for well stimulation (pulsed injection) has on the rock and subsurface relative to induced seismicity. More specifically, it focuses on the dissipation of the pore-pressure wave generated by an injection pulse through the rock, the extent of the affected area and the time that any impact from this pulse and generated pore-pressure wave front will take to become insignificant. Outcomes of this research could inform future injection strategies to minimise induced seismicity within a predefined range in magnitude and space.

Funding Details

Fees, stipend and project expenses


The successful candidate will benefit from supervision by a multidisciplinary team: Dr Stella Pytharouli, Civil and Environmental Engineering, University of Strathclyde (UK) and Dr Ryan Pollyea, Geosciences, Virginia Tech. (US)

Number of places


Further information

The student would join the University of Strathclyde’s 60-credit postgraduate training programme leading to the Postgraduate Certificate in Researcher Professional Development.

 The student will primarily be based at the University of Strathclyde but is expected to spend time at Virginia Tech (US) and at a site in North America for collection of seismic data. The student will benefit from interaction with other academics and PhD students within an both research groups, as well as being embedded within the SMART Pumps for Subsurface Engineering Project, a joint EPSRC-industry funded multi-institutional partnership, and interacting and engaging with researchers at the School of Geosciences at the University of Edinburgh.

 By the end of this project, the phd student will have developed skills highly desirable not only within Academia but also within Industry and the Energy Sector: competence in numerical modelling, a good understanding of hydromechanics, experience in organising and carrying out field work, excellent computational and data analysis skills and experience in working as part of a multidisciplinary team, including meeting deadlines and contributing to reporting outcomes.