PhD Project in Tomographic Reconstruction of Flow in Porous Media

Technical University of Denmark is pleased to invite applicants to apply for a PhD position. This fellowship is available for all students around the world. Applicants should apply before October 01, 2018.

The section for Image Analysis and Computer Graphics at DTU's Department for Applied Mathematics and Computer Science ("DTU Compute") would like to invite applications for a 3-year PhD position starting in the fall of 2018. The position is part of an ambitious project with two other PhD positions in collaboration with the Danish Hydro-carbon Research and Technology Center (DHRTC), aimed at developing new CT-based methods for investigating flow in porous materials.

DTU Compute is an internationally unique academic environment spanning the science disciplines mathematics, statistics and computer science. At the same time, we are an engineering department covering informatics and communication technologies (ICT) in their broadest sense. Finally, we play a major role in addressing the societal challenges of the digital society where ICT is a part of every industry, service, and human endeavour.

DTU Compute strives to achieve research excellence in its basic science disciplines, to achieve technological leadership in research and innovation, and to address societal challenges in collaboration with partners at DTU and other academic institutions, nationally and internationally, and, equally important, with industry and organizations. We communicate and collaborate with leading centres and strategic partners in order to increase participation in major consortia.

DTU Compute plays a central role in education at all levels of the engineering programmes at DTU – both in terms of our scientific disciplines and our didactic innovation.

Project Description

Flow in porous media is of prime interest to the oil and gas sector, as well as water management and civil engineering. Currently, experiments at DHRTC are conducted by injecting a liquid into a geological sample - a core plug – and measuring the pressure drop and output. Instead, we want to place the sample in a CT-scanner, and observe the dynamic flow phenomena in the core plug while they are happening in 4D (space and time).

This has been done with medical CT-scanners that allow for fast image acquisition. Their spatial resolution will however not allow a detailed characterization of the flow process. We want to use micro and nano-CT scanners that yield higher spatial resolution, but with current technology this will result in a loss of temporal resolution. By using techniques such as limited angle reconstruction or strong priors in the form of a scan of the sample without any liquids, it is expected that we can obtain a higher temporal resolution. The equipment used is a micro-CT scanner and a nano-CT scanner housed at DHRTC on DTU Campus.

Using the dynamic information from the liquid flooding, the aim is then to measure fluid mechanical parameters such as porosity, permeability, tortuosity, diffusion, their relative importance and the impact of mechanical loading of the core plug.

To that end, a core-holder needs to be designed and acquired. Practical experiments will be conducted to push the scanners to their limits. The scanners needs to be optimized and new reconstruction methods developed and implemented as software. Finally, the increase in temporal resolution will allow for direct measurements of fluid mechanical properties through mathematical modelling or machine learning.

The results will have direct impact on several other projects and DHRTC and can have major importance for the exploration of hydrocarbons in the Danish North Sea.

The selected candidate will be able to take advantage of the unique set-up at DTU with a growing imaging center ( with additional CT-scanners, a recently established center: 'QIM: center for quantitative image analysis for MAX IV', and strong groups in reconstruction, inverse problems, and image analysis at DTU Compute.


Candidates must have a master degree in applied mathematics, physics, computer science, electrical engineering, or a similar degree with an equivalent academic level. A genuine interest in tomographic reconstruction, mathematical modeling, machine learning and/or signal processing is a must, as is the ability to program in C++, Matlab or Python and ( or the willingness to learn) to perform experimental work. Prior experience with CT imaging is not required. Ability to work in a multidisciplinary environment is essential, as is a good command of the English language.

Approval and Enrolment

The scholarship for the PhD degree is subject to academic approval, and the candidate will be enrolled in the DTU Compute PhD School Programme. For information about the general requirements for enrolment and the general planning of the scholarship studies, please see the DTU PhD Guide.


The assessment of the applicants will be made by Professor MSO Anders Bjorholm Dahl and Assistant Professor Anders Nymark Christensen.

We offer

DTU is a leading technical university globally recognized for the excellence of its research, education, innovation and scientific advice. We offer a rewarding and challenging job in an international environment. We strive for academic excellence in an environment characterized by collegial respect and academic freedom tempered by responsibility.

Furthermore, the project offers a number of unique possibilities, including:
- Collaboration with other PhD's on the same project
- Access to state of the art equipment, a large knowledge base on campus, and direct contact with industry
- Special emphasis on career development through transferable skills training including entrepreneurship, innovation, IPR, industry work, scientific writing, etc.

Salary and appointment terms

The appointment will be based on the collective agreement with the Danish Confederation of Professional Associations. The allowance will be agreed upon with the relevant union. The period of employment is 3 years.

You can read more about career paths at DTU here.

Further Information

Further information concerning the project can be obtained from Assistant Professor Anders Nymark Christensen,

Further information concerning the application is available at the DTU Compute PhD homepage.


Please submit your online application no later than 1 October 2018 (local time). Apply online at

Applications must be submitted as one PDF file containing all materials to be given consideration. To apply, please open the link “Apply online”, fill out the online application form, and attach all your materials in English in one PDF file. The file must include:
- Course and grade list of bachelor and master degrees
- Excel sheet with translation of grades to the Danish grading system (see guidelines and Excel spreadsheet here)

Candidates may apply prior to obtaining their master’s degree, but cannot begin before having received it.

All interested candidates irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.

DTU Compute has a total staff of 400 including 100 faculty members and 130 Ph.D. students. We offer introductory courses in mathematics, statistics, and computer science to all engineering programmes at DTU and specialised courses to the mathematics, computer science, and other programmes. We offer continuing education courses and scientific advice within our research disciplines, and provide a portfolio of innovation activities for students and employees.

The overarching purpose of The Danish Hydrocarbon Research and Technology Centre is to identify new technological and conceptual solutions that will enable increased oil and gas extraction in the Danish section of the North Sea. The research activities at the centre cover selected aspects of expertise: Reservoir characterization, Enhanced Oil & Gas Recovery Processes, Drilling & Production Technology Concepts and Production Facilities, Materials Research & Design. The centre will develop deep, new understanding within these disciplines with a line-of-sight to application. Located at The Technical University of Denmark research groups at the University of Copenhagen, Aarhus University, Aalborg University and the Geological Survey of Greenland and Denmark will be affiliated with the Centre. When fully operational, the centre will employ and engage more than 100 people.


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