PhD Position In Geotechnical And Earthquake Engineering At Polytechnique Montréal



One highly motivated PhD student with a strong background in geotechnical earthquake engineering and soil-structure interaction is needed to participate in a research project, which focuses on the earthquake- resistant design strategies for small modular reactors (SMR) in permafrost regions in the context of climate change.

The increasing demand for clean energy in remote locations, coupled with the challenges posed by climate change in permafrost regions, necessitates innovative solutions for safe and sustainable nuclear power.

However, these regions pose unique challenges due to seismic activity and climate-induced permafrost thawing, which necessitate innovative design solutions.

The research will investigate and mitigate the seismic site effects in these environments, where soil properties and behavior are dynamically changing.

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This research includes Seismic Site Characterization to assess seismic hazards and site response in permafrost regions by incorporating the effects of permafrost thawing on dynamic properties of soils, Soil-Structure Interaction to investigate the interaction between SMR structures and thawing permafrost under seismic loading by considering liquefaction, settlement, and foundation instability, Design of Innovative Foundation Systems (base isolation techniques, or advanced materials), Development of a Probabilistic Risk Assessment Framework, and Advance Numerical Modeling using an in-house FEM/BEM numerical code.

The project will take place at Polytechnique Montréal and will be led by Professors Pooneh Maghoul, Samuel Yniesta, and Najib Bouaanani in the Department of Civil, Geological and Mining Engineering. The project will be conducted in close collaboration with the engineers and nuclear scientists of related industry.


  • Master’s degree in Geotechnical or Structural Earthquake Engineering, or a closely related field. interaction, and advanced numerical modeling.
  • Strong foundation in seismic site effects, soil-structure Familiarity with permafrost engineering principles is a plus.
  • Track record of research-based publications in above-mentioned fields.
  • Strong communication skills in English (a minimum IELTS score of 7.0 is required for international applicants).
  • Willingness to learn French (for non-francophone applicants).
  • Ability to work well with a team and be driven and self-motivated in achieving goals.
  • Motivation to work in an interdisciplinary environment.
  • Interested applicants should send their applications to Prof. Pooneh Maghoul (pooneh and


Dr. Samuel Yniesta ( using the subject line “PhD Application – SMR”

A Complete application should include:

A cover letter including a brief description of research interests relative to the above topics and a motivation of why the applicant’s expertise and background is appropriate for the position.

Curriculum Vitae (CV) including a complete list of international scientific publications.

Copies of transcripts (BSc & MSc).

Contact information for two references.


Our institutes are strongly committed to fostering diversity and inclusion. Through its Equal Access Employment

Program, our institutes invite women, Aboriginal people, visible and ethnical minorities, as well as persons with disabilities to submit their application.

We will confidentially adapt our recruitment mechanisms to the specific needs of people with disabilities who request it. We also welcome applications from candidates of all orientations and sexual identities.

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