Junior Research Scientist in Small-Scale Experimental Geomechanics


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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

Among the main societal challenges facing our society, which is particularly subject to the consequences of global change, is the control of risks related to hydraulic infrastructures. Such infrastructures provide many essential functions as flood protection, mitigation of coastal erosion, production and storage of renewable energy, supply of drinking water and irrigation, support to low water levels or river flood control.
RECOVER is a research unit focused on natural hazards and ecosystem functioning. It is located in Aix-en-Provence (Le Tholonet) and Marseille (Saint Charles campus) and has about 120 permanent and contractual staff. The research work carried out by the G2DR team of UMR RECOVER is aimed at improving the understanding of the current behaviour, but also at anticipating the future behaviour, of hydraulic structures such as dams or protective dykes (river and sea). Most of these structures are now ageing and will have to cope over the next few decades with hitherto unexperienced hydro-mechanical stresses.
The G2DR team is organized in three axes dealing with scientific questions related to three fundamental scales: the elementary scale of the material, the structural scale of the infrastructures and the territorial scale of global hydraulic systems.
The work carried out at the material scale relies heavily on experimental research to better understand the elementary mechanisms contributing to the degradation of the mechanical resistance in geomaterials, in connection with the general issue of the action of water on geomaterials. The term geomaterial, taken here in a broad sense, includes all materials constituting hydraulic structures and natural hydrosystems: natural soils, treated soils, model soils, artificial materials, geosynthetics.
Taking into account the societal stakes of reinforcement and stability of geomaterials constituting most hydraulic structures, the G2DR team wishes to reinforce and develop its skills in experimental geomechanics at the material scale.
You will have to conduct research concerning :
- The development and use of adapted model systems and innovative investigation tools, such as acoustics or imaging, to access the microstructural scale of geomaterials with the aim of integrating the change of scale in both granular and coherent materials by obtaining reliable experimental data capable of linking local mechanisms and global behaviour of a soil;
- The investigation of realistic materials of increasing complexity, with progressive consideration of the internal interactions between grains (cohesion, capillarity, cementation, ...), of some specific treatments used to improve the performance of geomaterials (soil-lime material, bio-calcified materials, soils in marine environments), of the impact of physico-chemical factors (activity of the clay phase, salinity, ...), or of the effect of time (durability, aging, ...).
Thus, you will contribute to some of the major scientific questions of the G2DR team (soil erosion, rheology of geomaterials, hydro-mechanical instabilities) through an innovative and complementary approach, based on the development of model materials and microstructural (X-ray micro-tomography, optical techniques) and physico-chemical analyses, in particular via collaborations to be initiated or strengthened. In addition, in a competitive research field, you will contribute to the scientific production and international recognition of the group and will gradually take on managerial responsibilities within the team. You will participate to the development of a synergy between the innovative small-scale experiments that you will carry out and the outcomes of numerical modelling and simulations, particularly multi-physical simulations by discrete elements, implemented by several other researchers of the group.

Most of your missions will be carried out on site, at RECOVER facilities, especially within the geomechanics laboratory of the G2DR team for the development of your experiments.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
You hold a PhD in Geomechanics, Mechanics, Physics, Fluid Mechanics or Civil Engineering and ideally have good knowledge of common geomechanical tests and experimental devices, as well as notions in physico-chemistry of soils.
You have proven skills in laboratory physical experimentation, in terms of experimental development, implementation of advanced measurement techniques (imaging, velocimetry, acoustic probes, ...) and data processing.
A good knowledge of modern numerical methods for soil modeling (discrete elements, multi-physics modeling, ...) would be an additional asset for your application in order to facilitate your future interactions with local researchers focused on numerics. In addition,
You have strong writing skills and good oral communication, with teamwork ability. Fluency in English is essential, as well as aq significant international experience: you will have to go abroad at the end of your internship year in case you would not have had yet such experience.

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-AQUA-3
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 12

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