Junior Research Scientist in soil science - Agroecological transition and soil health

35000 RENNES

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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 Sol Agro et hydrosystème, Spatialisation (SAS) Joint Research Unit, located in Rennes, studies the interactions between agriculture and the environment from field scale to agricultural landscape scale, mainly in mixed crop-livestock systems. The SAS research unit has expertise in both environmental sciences and agricultural production-related sciences. It is an integral part of an interdisciplinary ecosystem of environmental science research that is strongly committed to engaging with society on environmental issues.

Within SAS, your objective will be to study pathways of change in soil health for farming systems that are transitioning to agroecological practices, with a particular focus on mixed crop-livestock systems (the position of grassland, tillage, using digestate from biogas production as fertiliser, etc.) and on medium-term changes (from a few years to a few decades).
This research will require (i) the development of new approaches for multi-criteria assessment of soil health as a function of soil characteristics and history of use, and (ii) the characterisation of soil health pathways to facilitate the agroecological transition and define ways to restore this health.

You will develop innovative approaches for multi-criteria assessment of soil health and work in collaboration with modellers of soil ecosystem services. You will help identify practices for restoring soil health where previous practices have damaged it. Facilities to perform your research will include the medium-term agri-environmental systems and observatories and the unit's technical divisions (support for experimentation, observation and methodological innovation).

Our research team tells you more about your future job


Driving licence recommended.
Regular outdoor activities to study the soil or monitor experiments.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
Solid skills in agronomic and environmental sciences or geosciences and ideally in soil science are highly recommended.

You are keen to perform observations or experiments in situ or under controlled conditions.

You are willing or able to combine measurements and observations with statistical or biophysical modelling of processes.
You have good interpersonal skills and are open to multidisciplinarity and collaboration with modellers.

Experience in assessing ecosystem functions or services provided by soils 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

All persons employed by or hosted at INRAE, a public research establishment, are subject to its internal regulations, particularly with regard to the obligation of neutrality and respect for the principle of secularism. In carrying out their functions, whether or not they are in contact with the public, they must not express their religious, philosophical or political convictions through their behaviour or by what they wear.  

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CR-2024-AGROECOSYSTEM-7
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 22
Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

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