Junior Research Scientist on animal efficiency modeling


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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 Herbivores is located in Theix, near Clermont-Ferrand and conducts research for efficient herbivore breeding, both economically and environmentally, making use of fodder and other unused resources for human consumption, as well as optimizing animal welfare and product qualities.
Within this unit, you will join the PERAQ team (Breeding Practices, Robustness, Adaptation and Product Qualities), made up of around fifteen people including 8 researchers / assistant professeurs, who study the links between breeding practices and performance at animal and herd level.
With the objective of increasing the overall efficiency of agroecosystems as part of the agroecological transition, all of the criteria (productive, economic, environmental) must be optimized. While the methods of evaluating efficiency and the observation of loss of efficiency between different levels of organization (batch, herd, system) are well established for different husbandry systems, the processes of the transmission of efficiency at different scales of the system are still not well known and constitute potential obstacles, which can be removed by understanding the mechanisms involved at these different levels of organization. This requires making the connection between approaches that range from the animal to the system, including the individual and the herd. Your aim will be to broaden the concept of efficiency of animal husbandry systems by integrating the environment, animal welfare and health. From an original theoretical framework that you will build, you will characterize the efficiency losses that are observable at these different levels, from the animal to the breeding system, and you will identify their determinants.
Initially you will address these questions in beef cattle systems then dairy cattle systems and finally mixed, by studying the effect of combinations of husbandry practices on performance, at animal, batch or herd level, for different genotypes. You will appropriate existing biophysical models so as to have an overview of the tools already available within or outside INRAE. You will analyze the complementarity and compatibility of the different models with a view to using them to study the transition from animal efficiency to system efficiency. You can also adapt these models, supplement them or even develop specific modules with the objective of highlighting the synergies and compromises between the components of livestock systems according to the concept of agroecology .
If the initial field of application will be cattle husbandry, you will also focus on developing generic concepts with the potential to disseminate the knowledge produced to all farm animal species and farming systems.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
The project requires proven skills in systemic and mechanistic modeling. Good knowledge of animal husbandry and agroecosystems are also expected, as well as the ability to work in a team and interact with fellow researchers from other specialties (economics, genetics).
Fluency in written and spoken English is highly desirable as well as long-term international experience: laureates who have not yet had one will have to spend time 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-4
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 26

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