Junior Research Scientist on the participatory design of innovative methods for nitrogen management in agricultural systems


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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment under the dual authority of the Ministry of Agriculture and the Ministry of Research.

INRAE is recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The Agronomy joint research unit includes a research theme based on methods and tools for co-designing agronomic innovations - with the stakeholders involved in the agroecological transition - and on producing the knowledge needed to develop such innovations. You will draw on the collaborative dynamic, centred on innovative design, between agronomy, agrifood process engineering, and social science, structured within the IDEAS (Initiative for DEsign in Agrifood Systems) research network.
You will work in close collaboration with the Sciences for Action and Development - Activities, Products, Territories (SADAPT) joint research unit, specifically taking into account the cognitive and organizational dimensions of design and the role of stakeholders in design. The increased interactions amongst these scientific communities in the Paris-Saclay University project, as well as the strengthening of the links with the teams working in design sciences (Central Supelec, Polytechnique, Telecom ParisTech), constitute favourable ground for the interdisciplinary work to be developed.
Your objective will be to renew in depth the principles of nitrogen fertilization and management in cropping systems in order to promote closure of the nitrogen cycle locally and improve the nitrogen autonomy of farms. This need is greater because of the increasing uncertainties in soil-crop processes linked to climate variability, but also due to recent advances in digital agriculture, which question the possibility of reconciling automated information gathering and management autonomy of the farmer, as this autonomy is conducive to the adaptation of decisions to the local socio-economic and agro-environmental context. The innovative design theory and the methodological resources it offers represent a strong potential for renewing and strengthening the innovation capacities of stakeholders. By mobilizing these assets and combining them with user-centred approaches, you will develop, in partnership with future end-users, ways of thinking and acting to manage nitrogen, combining individual and collective approaches. You will develop methods and tools for reasoning nitrogen management both in the short term (fertilization) and long term (design of autonomous cropping systems with regard to synthetic fertilizers), adapted to a diversity of situations and innovative agricultural systems (organic or conventional agriculture, conservation agriculture, varietal and multi-species mixtures...).
For your action-research work, you will benefit from the networks of relations with agricultural stakeholders developed by the Agronomy research unit and the IDEAS research network.

Assignment to Saclay's site from the year 2022
Field trips to visit partners --> driver's licence required

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
In-depth skills in cropping systems agronomy would be highly recommended, as well as experience in innovative design, if possible. You are motivated and have experience working in partnership with stakeholders in the agricultural sector. Experience in interdisciplinarity would also be appreciated. Good command of French is desirable to enable interactions with local stakeholders.
Candidates should have a good command of English, and long-term international experience would also be desirable. Successful candidates who have not yet acquired this experience abroad will be required to do so after their probationary period (1st year).

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

- 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
- parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: training, career advise;
- social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
- holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
sports and cultural activities;
- collective catering.

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2021-AGROECOSYS-2
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 2

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