The operational directorate Earth and History of Life and the Geological Survey of Belgium (GSB) of the Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences (RBINS) located in Brussels are looking for a young Master in geology or a young Engineering geologist without experience with a good knowledge of ArcGIS and geodetic tools.

Context

This recruitment is part of the BRAIN 2019-2024 project funded by the Belgian scientific policy (Belspo) entitled «monitoring LAnd SUbsidence caused by Groundwater exploitation through gEOdetic measurements» (LASUGEO).

The Royal Belgium Institute of Natural Sciences is a renowned research institute covering a broad number of disciplines such as biology, oceanography, taxonomy, palaeontology and ecology.

The directorate Earth and History of Life is the most important research centre dedicated to Earth Sciences (geology, palaeontology and archeosciences) in Belgium with around 65 researchers. The Geological Survey of Belgium (GSB), founded in 1896, is a key research centre for geology and mineralogy, developing projects both in fundamental and applied research. On a European level the GSB is also an active member of EuroGeoSurveys and of the European Federation of Geologists. The GSB participates to numerous European, national and regional projects related to a wide scope of different topics. Radar interferometry and its application to measure ground movement using European radar satellites is a powerful tool that is applied to the entire Belgian territory through national or international scientific projects, providing expertise for enterprises and individuals.

The LASUGEO project:

The topic of subsidence caused by human activities and by groundwater extraction is increasingly important in these times of global climate change.

Only in recent decades has it become clear that there are proven causal links between groundwater pumping activities and land subsidence. These types of geological risks are often overlooked or underestimated. The goal of the LASUGEO project is to study the different cases of land subsidence related to the overexploitation of groundwater aquifers. Measuring these ground movements is facilitated using radar images and radar interferometry technique. These enable us to follow up on millimetre scale movements of the underground through millions of points called permanent receptors. This data, historically available since 1992 for the entire Belgian territory and the future data that will be acquired using Sentinel 1a satellite, will enable us to study different areas in Flanders, Wallonia up to Germany using different geodetic data (GPS-stations, radar interferometry and gravimetry). Using cartography, historical analysis of ground movements by time series and monitoring of these movements during the project will enable the extent and intensity of these ground movements to be determined. The hydrogeological study (hydrogeological modelling and the corresponding 1-D geo-mechanical study) will enable: the creation of vulnerability maps related to the potential risks to civil engineering structures in these areas, to estimate the future evolution of these ground movements, to propose a management plan for the natural resources (i.e. groundwater) of the associated aquifers in relation to water distribution companies in the context of sustainable development of water needs for cities and / or industrial projects.

Tasks

Doctoral thesis to be obtained during the project:

  • The study of the land subsidence in an area crossing the borders between Belgium, the Netherlands and Germany through different geodetic techniques (radar interferometry, GPS-stations, gravimetry) related to the hydrogeological conditions.
  • The work requires frequent field campaigns to collect data, in Belgium as well as abroad (Germany). Driver's license-B required.
  • The doctoral thesis will be realized in 4 years (2020-2024) jointly between the University of Liège within the research unit Urban and Environmental Engineering, including the unit “Hydrogeology and environmental -geology” and the Geological Survey of Belgium (GSB) in Brussels. The promotor at the University of Liège will be Prof Alain Dassargues and the GSB co-promotor Xavier Devleeschouwer.
  • A thesis committee will monitor the progress of the doctoral student and validate the continuation of the work.
  •  The doctoral thesis student must subscribe to the doctoral program allowing him to acquire new theoretical or technical skills allowing him to develop his expertise and validate the scientific activities resulting from his research.

Diploma

A scientific Master degree (Master – 120 ECTS) in geology or an Engineering degree in Geology with an orientation related to geodetic tools (satellite imagery, geomatics).

Technical competence

  • Knowledge and use of GIS and preferably ArcGis, experience in managing databases
  • Knowledge and use of the radar interferometry technique is considered as an advantage, if not, expertise in one or more of the following disciplines is an added-value: hydrogeology, soil geomechanics, measuring ground movement using GPS-stations and/or gravimetry and modelling tools
  • Theoretical and practical knowledge of the procedures of digitalization and vectorization of cartographic data and historical documents within ArcGIS.
  • Knowledge of English (written/spoken).

Generic competence

  • Assertiveness and sense of teamwork through close collaboration with other geologists / partners involved in the project
  • Enthusiasm for applied research

Assets

  • The knowledge of one of the two official languages (nl/fr) is considered a plus.

We offer

  • A fixed term contract of 4 years dedicated to the completion of a dissertation within the LASUGEO consortium.
  • The start date of the thesis must lie no later than July 1, 2020.
  • Remuneration according to the statutory scale for a grade SW1 without seniority for scientific staff at the federal government, published by the government (http://www.ejustice.just.fgov.be/eli/arrete/2010/06/02/2010021068/moniteur) A.R. June 2, 2010 (publication June 10, 2010).
  • The workplace is the Royal Begium Institute of Natural Sciences, 29 Rue Vautier,1000 Brussels together with the Hydrogeology and Environmental Geology Department of the University of Liège, at Sart Tilman.
  • Public transport will be paid by the employer and there is a possibility of a bicycle bonus between home and workplace.

How to apply

  • Send your motivation and CV by email before May 11, 2020 (1:00 am) addressed to Dr Xavier Devleeschouwer to the following address

xdevleeschouwer@naturalsciences.be

An oral and practical interview for the selected candidates will take place at the beginning of June 2020 (subject to changes in containment measures related to Convid-19)

Any questions/ Send a mail to the responsible geologist: Dr. Xavier Devleeschouwer.

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