Junior research scientist on co-design of crop species mixtures 


Back to campaign's jobs listing

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

You will join the Agronomy Joint Research Unit (UMR) in Paris-Saclay whose objective is to produce and mobilize scientific and expert knowledge and methods, from local to global scales, to (i) assess the impacts on the environment and ecosystem services of current and alternative cropping systems, and (ii) support stakeholders involved in the evolution of agricultural practices by designing resources (knowledge, tools, and methods) with them. You will work in collaboration with several researchers of the unit working on the functioning of species mixtures via functional ecology approaches, the production of knowledge on orphan species, and the design of crop ideotypes or multispecies stands.
Crop diversification is a major lever for reducing the use of synthetic inputs without reducing the economic benefits for farmers. Generic knowledge and tools have been formalized on the functioning and performance of species mixtures based on experiments, modelling, and functional ecology approaches. These studies and tools have focused on a limited number of crop species mixtures and growing conditions thus far. However, experiments are being conducted by a growing number of pioneer farmers in a variety of contexts. These on-farm experiments are an abundant source of information useful for the design and in situ evaluation of species mixtures. However, their promotion requires the development of approaches, methods, and tools to convert these experiments into shared knowledge that can be mobilized in different production contexts. In this context, your main objective will be to produce knowledge and methods for the co-design of species mixtures adapted to their production context. Your research questions will focus on the evaluation of species mixtures but also, in the field of co-design, on the relationships between production context and expected characteristics of the mixtures, as well as on the hybridization of heterogeneous knowledge (formalized or from practice). To answer these questions, you will be required to conduct surveys to track down innovations among pioneer farmers, identify the logic of actions of farmers using mixtures, and understand the expectations and criteria for choosing species or varieties to mix. Based on your experience in action research, and in collaboration with other scientists of the unit, you will develop methods to support the in situ design of species mixtures, put them into practice, and evaluate them within networks of actors. You will also benefit from the interdisciplinary collaborations and networks of actors and experimental farmers of the unit, as well as from the expertise of the IDEAS network on design approaches.

A valid driver’s license is necessary to allow travel to and surveys of stakeholders. A good command of the French language is necessary for these surveys.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
In-depth skills in systems agronomy and basic knowledge in ecology, with experience in action research, are highly recommended. Expertise in the functioning of species or variety mixtures and the evaluation of ecosystem services in agriculture would be a plus.
Candidates should have a good command of English (both written and spoken), 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.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2023-AGROECOSYSTEM-2
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 3


Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

Learn more

Learn more