Junior Research Scientist in soil science - Phosphorus biogeochemistry in agroecosystems


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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 ISPA Joint Research Unit (Interactions between Soil, Plant and Atmosphere, associating INRAE and Bordeaux Sciences Agro) aims to produce knowledge to improve plant production for agricultural and forestry ecosystems while respecting the environment in a context of global change and diffuse pollution. Our work focuses on plant growth on different scales, the response of ecosystems to global change, and the transfer of major and trace elements and contaminants from the plant to a global scale.

Within the unit, you will join the Biogeochemistry of Nutrients and Trace Elements (BIONET) team, which studies soil-plant transfer and the biogeochemical cycles of mineral elements in agrosystems and forest ecosystems. In this research team, you will find expertise in biogeochemistry, ecophysiology, and mineral nutrition modelling. To develop your research project, you will have access to databases and samples from field trials and to high-performance laboratories for chemical and biochemical analyses, as well as for handling radioelements.
Your objective will be to understand and model the effect of agroecological cropping practices on the biotic and abiotic components of phosphorus (P) biogeochemistry on the scale of the cropping system to guarantee agricultural production in terms of quantity and quality, and to preserve soil resources.

Indeed, agroecological practices (e.g. longer rotations, more frequent use of legumes, greater presence of associated and cover crops, more intensive recycling of organic products, reduced tillage, organic or pesticide-free farming) are likely to change soil P availability, as well as its efficiency of uptake and use by crops. Repeated over decades, they can have direct cumulative effects on P forms and flows, and indirect effects via modifications to the biotic (e.g. endomycorrhizae, nitrogen-fixing bacteria, soil microorganisms) and abiotic components (e.g. reactions of orthophosphate ions with soil constituents) of the soil-plant system.

You may draw on a network of experiments conducted with a variety of agroecological practices, and will benefit from the expertise of the team in the assessment and modelling of P biogeochemistry.

Our research team tells you more about your future job

A B driving license is recommended, as you will be required to carry out field sampling.

As part of your work in the laboratory, you will be required to handle chemicals and radioelements.

You will be required to travel in France and abroad for collaborative research projects, and to present your work at scientific conferences.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.

In-depth skills in geosciences and, ideally, in the disciplines of soil science and biogeochemistry are highly recommended.

Knowledge and experience in soil P analysis and characterization methods (speciation, reactions with soil constituents, geochemical modelling) 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-2024-AGROECOSYSTEM-3
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 18
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