Data scientist position to improve re-usability of Earth scientific lab data (1.0 FTE)

Data scientist position to improve re-usability of Earth scientific lab data (1.0 FTE)

Published Deadline Location
26 Oct 4 Dec Utrecht

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Would you like to improve international sharing of geophysical laboratory data, and coordinate an international community of earth-scientific laboratories?

Job description

At Utrecht University (UU) we are searching for a data scientist who will improve international sharing of geophysical laboratory data, and coordinate an international community of earth-scientific laboratories. The position will be embedded in the Department of Earth Science, and in the EPOS team at UU. EPOS, the European Plate Observing System, is a European network of research infrastructures for solid earth science, that facilitates the integrated use of open data and research facilities. EPOS-eNLarge is a recently funded national infrastructure programme, that contributes to EPOS.

International data sharing through EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories (MSL)

In Europe, the main access portal for international solid Earthscientific data is provided by EPOS, the European Plate Observing System. EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories is one of the ten discipline groups in EPOS and is coordinated at Utrecht University. It comprises a European community of approximately 100 Earth scientific research laboratories involved in the following disciplines:

  • Rock physics;
  • Microscopy and X-ray tomography;
  • Analogue modelling of geological processes;
  • Paleomagnetism;
  • Geochemistry;
  • Geo-energy test beds (field-scale research labs)

An important aim of EPOS MSL is to make data from the above disciplines more FAIR (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable). Recent work has ensured that data, published fragmented across Europe, are increasingly being made centrally findable at the EPOS data portal. However, the data remains highly heterogeneous, non-interoperable and difficult for non-experts to understand and re-use. Specifically –the data are not yet prepared to facilitate easy combination of multiple datasets, or look up values of input parameters for modelling work. The data scientist will strive to make the date that is being shared easier to re-use.

The position
The position includes two main responsibilities, with expected time partitioning between these as follows:
  1. Data science for EPOS Multi-Scale Labs (80%)
  2. EPOS-MSL coordination (20%)

The two components of the position are detailed below:

A. Data science for EPOS Multi-Scale Labs (80%)
For this you will develop best practices, data templates and tools to aid researchers to 1) identify Interoperable data within their datasets, and 2) publish these in an internationally harmonised manner, for international, easy access.

Specific responsibilities include:
  • Perform user research;
  • Identify the most common research areas within the disciplines included in EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories;
  • Identify target groups: who would use the data from these research areas;
  • Explore how each target group could most readily access and re-use published data.
For this user research, the data scientist will interact closely with a large number of (inter)national researchers within and outside the EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories community. 
  • Develop tooling for internationally harmonised (uniform) data presentation, in close collaboration with the EPOS MSL data catalogue developer and wider EPOS team at UU;
  • Reporting on lessons learned and best practices in sharing inharmonious data typical for lab research and the so-called “long tail of science”, ultimately leading to a peer-reviewed paper on same subject;
  • Provide training and instruction for geoscientists, on geological data science, data management, storage and publication.
Rock physics and Analogue modelling of geological processes will be the primary focus of user research and tooling development.

The end products are:
  • Internationally established tools, and data templates, to aid researchers in publishing their data in a uniform, standardised format;
  • An online reference base for Interoperable data, hosted on the EPOS-MSL data catalogue. This reference base should enable international researchers to easily look up values for key parameters underlying Earth system behaviour and combine and explore multiple datasets;
  • A peer-reviewed paper on lessons learned and best practices in sharing non-harmonised data typical for lab research and the so-called “long tail of science”.

B. EPOS-MSL coordination (20%)
Coordination of the EPOS Multi-Scale Lab community is complementary to the above data sciences tasks, as it involves close interaction with the MSL community as well as the governing body of EPOS: EPOS-ERIC. You will be responsible for communication and outreach, and liaise with legal and financial specialists. Tasks include:
  • communication and outreach related to TCS MSL;
  • monitoring financial and legal aspects of TCS MSL;
  • the organisation of TCS MSL meetings and events;
  • developing procedures, workflows, and protocols for governance, and financial and legal aspects of the EPOS TCS MSL.


Utrecht University


The position requires a background in Rock Physics or Analogue modelling of geological processes, ideally at PhD level, but at minimum at MSc level. Previous experience in contributing to (inter)national data infrastructure networks is beneficial. The position further requires a high level of competence in English, strong organisational and communication skills, alongside enthusiasm for improving data sharing and open science.

Conditions of employment

We offer:

  • a position (1.0 FTE) as a researcher/scientist for 3 years;
  • a full-time gross salary between € 3,226 and € 5,090 in scale 10 of the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities (CAO);
  • 8% holiday bonus and 8.3% end-of-year bonus;
  • a pension scheme, partially paid parental leave, and flexible employment conditions based on the Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities.

In addition to the employment conditions from the CAO for Dutch Universities, Utrecht University has a number of its own arrangements. These include agreements on professional development, leave arrangements, sports and cultural schemes and you get discounts on software and other IT products. We also give you the opportunity to expand your terms of employment through the Employment Conditions Selection Model. This is how we encourage you to grow.

For more information, please visit working at Utrecht University.


A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major strategic themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Pathways to Sustainability. Sharing science, shaping tomorrow.

Utrecht University's Faculty of Geosciences studies the Earth: from the Earth's core to its surface, including man's spatial and material utilisation of the Earth - always with a focus on sustainability and innovation. With 3,400 students (BSc and MSc) and 720 staff, the Faculty is a strong and challenging organisation. The Faculty of Geosciences is organised in four Departments: Earth Sciences, Human Geography & Spatial Planning, Physical Geography, and Sustainable Development.

The Department of Earth Sciences conducts teaching and research across the full range of the solid Earth and environmental Earth sciences, with activities in almost all areas of geology, geochemistry, geophysics, biogeology and hydrogeology. The department hosts a highly international tenured staff of over 50 scientists and more than 110 PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. Our research programme spans four intertwined themes: Climate & Life, Earth interior, Earth materials, and Environmental Earth Sciences. We house or have access to a wide variety of world-class laboratories.

EPOS, EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories, EPOS-NL and EPOS-eNLarge
The European Plate Observing System (EPOS) is a multidisciplinary, distributed research infrastructure that facilitates the integrated use of data, products, and facilities from the solid Earth science community in Europe.

EPOS Multi-Scale Laboratories is one of the ten discipline groups included in EPOS. It comprises a European community of approximately 100 solid Earth (e.g. geophysics, geochemistry) research laboratories involved in the following disciplines: Rock physics, Microscopy and X-ray tomography, Analogue modelling of geological processes, Paleomagnetism, Geochemistry, Geo-energy test beds (field-scale research labs).

The EPOS-NL and EPOS-eNLarge projects build a Dutch national research infrastructure for solid Earth sciences, in compliance with EPOS. EPOS-NL is a cluster of large-scale geophysical facilities within Delft University of Technology (TU Delft), the Royal Netherlands Meteorological Institute (KNMI) and Utrecht University (UU) and was funded in 2018 through the NWO Roadmap for large-scale research infrastructure. EPOS-eNLarge, was funded in early 2023, and builds further on EPOS-NL, a.o. by adding TNO as partner to the national infrastructure. Both projects are actively advancing the infrastructure for research on use of our subsurface, by integrating and further developing lab- and field-scale monitoring facilities and data services.


  • Postdoc; Research, development, innovation; Policy and staff; Support staff (clerical, administrative, facility); PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • 36—40 hours per week
  • €3226—€5090 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1216096



Princetonlaan 8a, 3584 CB, Utrecht

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