Junior Research Scientist interactions between water quantity and quality in a context of global change

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

You will be a member of the Sol Agro et hydrosystème, Spatialisation (SAS) Joint Research Unit in Rennes. Our research focuses on studying interactions between agriculture and the environment, from the field scale to that of agricultural landscapes, mainly in mixed crop-livestock systems. SAS is one of the few research units in France to have expertise in both environmental sciences and production-related sciences. Based in Rennes, it is an integral part of an interdisciplinary ecosystem of environmental science research that is strongly committed to engaging with society about environmental issues.

In the research unit, you will be attached to the "Resources" thematic axis, which is in charge of the scientific orientation "global changes and change pathways of water and soil". Research in this area focuses on understanding spatio-temporal dynamics of water and soil under the influence of climate change and agricultural activities.

Your main objective will be to quantify how climate change is impacting hydrological fluxes, and the consequences of these changes on water quality in rural catchments. Using physically-based models and climate projection data, you will analyse how these cascading impacts influence water chemistry (namely nitrogen, phosphore and disssolved organic matter) according to catchment size and order. The modelling approaches that you will implement must account for direct and indirect effects of climate change on hydrological and pollution fluxes; you will collaborate with agricultural scientists from SAS research unit to model indirect effects via changes in farming practices in relation with climate change: development of water storage and irrigation infrastructures, new cropping systems (including agroecology practices), etc.

Your work will use data from the environmental research observatory Agrhys managed by SAS research unit, which include long-term data on the climate, discharge, groundwater, surface water chemistry and tracers that help constrain transit time estimations in models. You will also have the opportunity to use data from other environmental observatories in France and abroad, and public environmental monitoring data. In addition to your main activity as a modeller, you will also contribute to data collection and management tasks within the research unit.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

The position is open to candidates with a doctoral degree (or equivalent).
A strong background in hydrology is required, ideally with experience of using climate projection data. Solid general knowledge in environmental sciences is recommended, together with a taste for inter disciplinary research and science-society dialog. Past experience in modelling water quality (particularly diffuse pollutions) would be a plus but not a prerequisite.

Fluency in English is required, as is long-term international experience: successful candidates who have not already spent time abroad will be required to do so at the end of the placement 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-AQUA-2
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 3
Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

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