Junior Research Scientist on modeling the health value of fruits in horticultural plants


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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

Within the PSH (Plants and Cropping Systems in Horticulture) research unit, whose main goal is to contribute to the development of agroecological cropping systems, the research team (Growth, Architecture and Quality) works on understanding and modelling plant and organ growth, resource acquisition, and quality of the horticultural products harvested.
The team aims to improve the prediction of the accumulation of major compounds in fruit (sugar, organic acids, etc.), as well as phytomicronutrients that contribute to its health value, especially as affected by cultural practices and abiotic constraints.
Within this team, you will acquire the existing knowledge, data and ecophysiological models and develop new compatible models to predict the health value of fruits. Your work will initially focus on the accumulation of carotenoids and polyphenols in tomatoes. You will formalize the biophysical and metabolic processes (synthesis, degradation, transport, compartmentalisation, dilution) linked to the accumulation of secondary metabolites at cellular level, and then ensure the coupling with the plant, leaf and fruit models that have been developed by the team.
The models developed will therefore be ecophysiological models describing the biological processes involved at cellular, tissue, organ, and plant level, over time periods of hours to days (integration in the crop cycle) and be able to simulate the impact of environmental fluctuations (water supply, light, temperature). These models will then be used to i) improve understanding of the development of the health value of fruits in response to environmental stresses, ii) propose innovative practices to control the quality and health value of fruits in the current context of changes in production systems, and iii) design varietal ideotypes adapted to new production practices and to consumer and industry demand. Subsequently, and given the high genericity of the models developed, other species (peach, mango, apple) will be studied.
This position will contribute to the research of INRAE on Agri-Food Systems and Human Health (SYALSA Metaprogramme).

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
In-depth skills in modelling of biological systems and (eco)physiology are highly recommended. An abstractive mind and significant experience in modelling would be desirable. Training with considerable emphasis on mathematics would also be desirable. A good ability to work in a multidisciplinary team is essential.
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-7
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 6

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