Research Areas

Research at UFAZ is varied, as evidenced by the table below, but we focus on three main themes:

  • Sedimentary Systems: depositional environments and processes, paleoenvironments and basins evolution.
  • Water and Environment
  • Seismology and Geodesy


NameResearch InterestsE-mail
Boesch QuentinStratigraphy, sedimentology, field geology, regional geology
Bozetti GuilhermeSedimentology, geological mapping, petroleum geology, exploration
Chopin Francisstructural analysis, metamophic petrology, geochronology, basement
Doubre CécileDynamics of divergent plate boundaries, shallow deformation related to landslides or urban
Heap MikeRock deformation, rock physics, rock physical properties, geomechanics, geothermal energy,
Jodry ClaraApplied geophysics, near surface geophysics, ERT, data
Jolivet MarcTectonics, geochronology, geodynamics, field
Lengliné OlivierEarthquake triggering, crack mechanics, micro-earthquakes source studies, earthquake and fault
Leroy SuzannePalynology, from Pliocene to Quaternary, temperate to dry Eurasia and N. Africa, palaeoclimate, palaeo-environments, natural hazards and
Maggi AlessiaEarthquake seismology, seismic tomography, geophysics, Earth
Masson FrédéricGeodesy (GNSS) for active tectonics,
Robin CécileSedimentary basins, sedimentology, sequence stratigraphy, basin
Vergne JérômeGeophysics, seismic tomography, seismology, remote
Zigone DimitriSeismology, seismics, applied geophysics, remote

Sedimentary Geology

Axis coordinator: Mathieu Schuster

The Earth’s surface is dominated by processes involving sediments and sedimentary rocks. These rocks are essential for human activity as they can both host critical natural resources (e.g., water, oil and gas), or be used themselves as natural resource (e.g., minerals, construction material).

Sedimentary geology is the science in which sedimentary rocks are studied, from how sediments are generated, transported and deposited in sedimentary basins through the geological time. Hence, the sedimentary record preserves a complex history of environmental, climatic, and geodynamic changes.

Azerbaijan is an outstanding place to study sedimentary geology. Due to a direct link between sedimentary rocks and energy resources, with great economical impact, there is a large volume of outcropping and subsurface data available for a better comprehension of the sedimentary systems, with great diversity of sedimentary rocks representing different depositional palaeogeographic environments, preserved from the subsurface of the Caspian Sea, through the valleys near its capital Baku, to the North and South in the Caucasus mountains.

The sedimentary geology group Earth Sciences Research Department of UFAZ addresses both fundamental and applied research in:

– depositional processes,

– characterisation of clastic geobodies and georeservoirs,

– paleoenvironments, and palaeoclimate,

– stratigraphic architectures and basin evolution.

The main ongoing research project aims to characterise qualitatively and quantitatively the Miocene – Pliocene deposits of the Azerbaijani Productive Series, generating a reservoir facies prediction tool to facilitate the comprehension of such system in the subsurface, and serving as the foundation for future multidisciplinary academic and industrial projects.

Participants: Cécile Robin, Marc Jolivet, Quentin Boesch, Francis Chopin, Guilherme Bozetti

PhD students: Fidan Aslanzada

Current Projects

  • Carbon cycle in the Earth and the mechanism of fossils preservation in sediments (Elshan Abdullayev).
  • Paleo-environments succession of the Productive Series and climate-tectonic controls (Fidan Aslanzada)


Axis coordinator: Mike Heap

Petrophysics is the study of the physical, mechanical, and hydraulic properties of rocks. Such rock property measurements can be made in the field, down boreholes, or in the laboratory. These measurements are useful for a wide variety of applications. For example, measurements of rock strength are useful to assess the stability of underground spaces and borehole breakout assessments, and measurements of rock permeability are useful when trying to understanding local and regional fluid flow in reservoirs. The Petrophysics Research Group at the Earth Sciences Research Department at the French-Azerbaijani University (UFAZ), led by Prof. Michael Heap, aims to provide petrophysical solutions to scientific problems in and around the Baku area in Azerbaijan, and to foster collaborations between UFAZ, the University of Strasbourg (France), and institutions, companies, and universities worldwide.

Participants: Patrick Baud

Current Projects: COMING SOON!

Near Surface Geophysics

Axis coordinator: Clara Jodry

Near surface environments present complex and dynamics ecosystems that are key to human society. Near Surface Geophysics give information on subsurface properties and processes bases on fundamental physical laws. The goal is to develop advanced imaging and monitoring methods (data acquisition, inversion and modeling, interpretation) to address key problematic such as geohazards or exploration of natural and energy resources. 

The Near Surface Geophysics Research Group at the Earth Sciences Research Department at the French-Azerbaijani University (UFAZ), led by Dr. Clara Jodry pursues multiple applications in Azerbaijan such as archaeological survey, mud volcano structural imaging and description of fluid flows in hydro-systems. The goal is to understand natural contexts, and the pressures they face, to develop better resilience and sustainable exploitation of the environment and associated resources.


Current Projects:

  • Definition of Azerbaijan potential for Geothermal energy exploitation (Nigar Karimova, M2 student)
  • Application of Machine Learning techniques on seismic and ERT data: Strengbach Catchment, France (Gunel Alizada, Kamal Bayramov, M1 students). Project in collaboration with ITES researchers Nolwenn Lesparre and Jean-François Girard)

Seismology and Geodesy

Axis coordinator: Alessia Maggi

The Seismology and Geodesy Research Group at the Earth Sciences Research Department at the French-Azerbaijani University (UFAZ), led by Prof. Alessia Maggi investigates many aspects of Earth deformation and structure. The researchers in our group analyze both instrumental and historical seismicity using methods ranging from single earthquake analysis to pattern matching to machine learning methods. We also investigate isotropic and anisotropic Earth structure using seismic tomography (body and surface-saves), seismic noise, receiver functions, and shear-wave splitting. Finally, we analyze deformation of the Earth’s surface using GNSS and InSAR data. These techniques will allow us, for example, to characterize subduction under the Greater Caucasus, participate in updating seismic hazard assessments, resolve long-lasting questions about the seismic structure of the Kura Basin, monitor how deformation accumulates across known faults, etc.

Participants: Frédéric Masson, Cécile Doubre, Olivier Lengliné, Dimitri Zigone, Jérôme Vergne

Current Projects

Pending agreement between UFAZ, ASOIU, and ANAS regarding access to seismological and geodetic data.

Environmental Science

Axis coordinator: Damien Lemarchand

Environmental science is a quantitative discipline with applied and theoretical aspects. It is a generic-term that refers to the quality and the functioning of the Earth’s surface layer, in the sense of maintaining habitable conditions for life. It focuses on the very thin layer from groundwater to the atmosphere, on and from which life develops. In recent decades, there is ample evidence that human activities have severely affected environmental conditions, with particular concern for the quality of soil and water resources and immediate health and economic consequences.

Environment science spans different disciplines, including hydrology, geochemistry, soil science, and ecology, conducted in parallel or through interdisciplinary approaches.

The next decades will be marked by the wordwide energy transition, with each country managing its own path and local issues. Azerbaijan, and in particular UFAZ which is training the next generation of engineers and decision makers, will be responsible for producing more and cleaner energy and ensuring soil and water quality. This requires a good understanding of the sources of elements, the processes and feedbacks controling the transfer of matter at the earth surface and ultimately modeling the hydro-geochemical cycles and the response of terrestrial ecosystems to climate and anthropic forcing.

The UFAZ Environmental Science Group aims to conduct research on:
– Monitoring water and soil quality at strategic locations;
– Identifying the sources and fate of elements (nutrients, pollutants, elemental/isotopic proxies);
– Assessing the impact of human activities on geochemical cycles and the hydro-system response;
– Conducting laboratory experiments on water/mineral/(organism) interactions.

Participants: Marie Claire Pierret, Suzanne Leroy

Current Projects: COMING SOON!

UFAZ Foundation

UFAZ foundation is a non-profit foundation that supports research and training at the French-Azerbaijani University in the domain of Computer Science, Chemical Engineering and Earth Science. Established in January 2022, it builds a bridge between academics and industry through common projects to promote and develop human resources and facilities in Azerbaijan.

For more information, please get in touch with Elizaveta Bydanova, general secretary of UFAZ:

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