Junior Research Scientist in ecological mechanisms involved in biocontrol efficacy


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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 Plant Pathology research unit is made up of 38 permanent staff (12 researchers, 13 engineers and 13 technicians and engineering assistants) and around 12 PhD students and post-doctoral researchers per year. It investigates the biology and evolution of pathogens in interaction with plants, the environment and agricultural practices. Its objective is to improve knowledge of epidemic processes and to contribute to the development of effective and durable protection methods against plant diseases in the context of agroecological pest management. In this unit, you will be part of the MISTRAL team (Microbiology of Agroecosystems) whose research focuses on ecology of plant pathogens, epidemiology of the diseases they cause and strategies for implementing biocontrol. In collaboration with the scientists of the research unit, you will develop research on the ecological mechanisms involved in the efficacy of augmentative microbial biocontrol against plant diseases. Microbial biocontrol agents are essential levers in plant protection to decrease dependency on chemical pesticides. These protection tools are based on natural regulations and they mobilize the principles of ecology of agrosystems, thereby making their implementation more complex. Their success relies on biotic and abiotic variables in agrosystems that are constantly evolving due to the complexity of agricultural practices and to global changes. This situation results in the variability of their efficacy in the field and thus hinders their adoption by farmers. In order to strengthen the conceptual basis on which the protective efficacy of microbial biocontrol agents against plant pathogens depends, you will develop experimental population ecology and functional ecological approaches to understand the mechanisms involved in the multitrophic interactions between the introduced microbial agent, the plant, the pathogen and the biotic and abiotic environment. You will also develop models to predict fluctuations of the populations of introduced microorganisms on the plant and of the factors favoring the activation of their mechanism(s) of action, in relation to the main environmental factors. Your research project will therefore foster a better understanding of the conditions that favor an efficacious use of microbial biocontrol agents. For your research, you will be able to rely on acquired data and on tools under development in the research unit (biocontrol database, prototype of decision support tool), on the expertise in plant pathology in the research unit, on a very active community in ecology, biostatistics and modelling in Avignon, on technical platforms for molecular biology and microscopy and on efficient and varied experimental infrastructures.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

You should have a solid knowledge of the concepts of microbial ecology and good expertise in the methods associated with elucidating the functional roles of microorganisms in a complex environment (classical microbiology methods, molecular biology methods and molecular sequence data processing). You should have skills in modeling and statistics, good interpersonal skills and be open to multidisciplinarity.
Fluency in English is desirable as well as long-term international experience: successful candidates who have not yet had international experience, will be encouraged to conduct a research year abroad, at the end of the first year of their internship.

Your future scientific team on video

You want to apply for an open competition, but you’re hesitating?
You want to know more about INRAE, your host team and your future missions?

Please, watch our video:

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-2022-SPE-5
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 27
Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

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