Junior Research Scientist on dietary choices in dairy cows


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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 joint research unit Pegase (Physiology, Environment and Genetics for the Animal and Livestock Systems) situated at St Gilles near Rennes (Brittany). Pegase conducts research on animal biology and livestock systems with the ultimate goal to improve the sustainability and the competitiveness of animal production systems.
You will join the Dairy Systems team (11 permanent staff), whose overall objective is to improve the efficiency and resilience of dairy systems. Within this team, you will develop a research program on the expression of food choices in dairy cows in response to variations in their physiological and body state, their level of production, their health and well-being. You will interact with the scientists of the team, particularly around nutrition-health, nutrition-environment, and precision livestock farming.
Initially, you will study new strategies allowing each animal to freely express its food choices (grazing agroforestry system, compartmentalized stalls in barns) as a means of homeostatic regulation and resilience in the face of perturbations. You will explore the relationships between the dynamics of expression of these food choices, the ration composed by the cow itself, and changes in states at the individual level, by combining physiological and behavioral measures. The most relevant time scales (hour, day, week) to account for these relationships and their dynamics will have to be determined. The change in the level of organization, from the individual to the herd, will have to be considered in order to understand the role of dietary diversity on the overall performance of the herd, in terms of efficiency (ability to develop resources) and robustness (capacity to resist disturbances). You will be able to rely on the experimental equipment of the UMR Pegase (Rennes) and the Ferlus experimental unit (Lusignan). The knowledge generated will be used to develop the strategies of breeders for feeding dairy ruminants. They will open up new perspectives for the feeding systems of tomorrow, by meeting society's expectations in terms of acceptability of farming conditions.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
You will have skills in animal nutrition, including ruminant feed and a an interest in animal production and experimentation. Complementary skills in animal behavior analysis and data processing will be appreciated..
Proficiency in English is desirable as well as long-term international experience: successful candidates who have not yet had one will have to go abroad at the end of the internship 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-PHASE-3
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 25

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