Junior Research Scientist in multi-scale epidemiological modelling of animal infectious diseases

44300 NANTES

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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

Through its research, the BIOEPAR unit contributes to meeting the challenges of preventing animal health in its global sense, reducing the use of anti-infectious drugs, and adapting health management to changes in farming systems.
Its objectives are to understand and act on the determinants and transmission of infectious animal diseases, using a multidisciplinary, multi-scale approach. By joining the DYNAMO team of BIOEPAR unit, and collaborating in particular with the observational epidemiology (PEPS) and virology/immunology (IMMUNOCARE) teams, you will be contributing to original mechanistic modelling work aimed at better understanding and predicting the spread and control of pathogens in large-scale animal populations (e.g. production areas, countries). Among the diseases studied, vector-borne diseases present specific challenges: often zoonotic and with a high risk of emergence or more intense circulation in Europe due to global changes (climate, land use, host movements), they form a corpus of diseases in which the link between animal, human and environmental health is particularly significant. However, multi-scale infectious processes, including interactions between the host response to infection, intra-vector viral dynamics and epidemic dynamics, are little studied in animal health and for many zoonoses. Intra-individual dynamics are generally represented in a simplified way in epidemiological models by the international scientific community, inter-individual variability being neglected. This jeopardises the robustness and accuracy of epidemiological model predictions and their interpretation in terms of disease surveillance, prevention and control needs.

Researcher's activities
To refute or confirm the major and recurring simplifying hypothesis that host response and intra-vector viral dynamics can be neglected, you will develop a multi-scale modelling framework. You will compare several mathematical formalisms for representing the intra-individual (host or vector) dynamics of infection and characterising its heterogeneity between individuals, taking into account the needs inherent in the future scaling-up of the proposed methods.
You will study how accounting for intra-individual dynamics in epidemiological models leads - under certain conditions - to different predictions from conventional models, and could enable better anticipation and control of epidemics.
To do this, working closely with virologists, you will characterise situations in terms of the life history traits of pathogens and hosts that require a multi-scale modelling framework.
You will first work on arboviroses, in particular Rift Valley fever and West Nile fever, two zoonoses whose risk of emergence or more intense circulation is increasing in Europe as a result of global changes. Knowledge of processes at different scales (intra-individual - for hosts and vectors - and population), associated data and computing and operating resources can already be mobilised on these diseases as part of an ongoing European project (

You will help to strengthen interactions between the formal sciences and the life sciences, so that the solutions chosen in terms of mathematical formalism are adapted to biological issues while at the same time making it possible to scale up, a common challenge in multi-scale modelling.

Finally, you will contribute to training in and through research in mechanistic modelling and biomathematics, and possibly to initial training in these disciplines.

Our research team tells you more about your future job

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Competition open to candidates with a PhD (or equivalent).

Specialisation or experience in mechanistic modelling at several scales is desirable, if possible applied to the dynamics of a biological system.
Research experience at the interface between biomathematics and fundamental biology is an advantage. Having developed an academic network in biomathematics will strengthen the team's network of collaborations in formal sciences.

Fluency in English is essential. Long-term international experience is desirable: successful candidates who have not already had such experience will be required to undertake a period of study abroad at the end of the probationary 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-SA-3
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 25
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