Junior Research Scientist on viral communities’ ecology applied to cereal crops


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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

Within the joint Fruit Biology and Pathology laboratory, you will join the Plant Virology team, which is composed of 14 researchers and engineers, 9 technicians, and about ten doctoral students, post-docs and contractual staff. The team brings together skills in viral metagenomics, molecular virology, biochemistry of protein interactions, cellular and molecular biology, imaging and genetics of resistance to potyviruses and focuses its activities almost exclusively on RNA viruses, which represent approximately 80% of plant viruses. The Virology team has acquired an international visibility in the study of phytoviral metagenomes and its applications to etiology, diagnosis and viral ecology. While having strong expertise in the study of viral diversity, the team must strategically strengthen its skills in viral ecology or community ecology in order to be able to more effectively approach the study of plant virus populations and communities.

By joining the team, you will enrich it with skills combining metagenomics and community ecology and will contribute to the development of a new collective project focused on grain cereal viruses. Integrated within a small functional team (1 DR, 1 IR, 1 IE (at 50%), 2 technicians, non-permanent staff), you will develop a project focused on understanding the structure and functioning of viral populations responsible for aphid-transmitted yellowing diseases on field crops, with a strong focus on grain cereals. The approaches you will develop can mix field activity with the exploitation of existing or future data sets. You will contribute to the analysis of multi-year data obtained within the framework of the “Deep Impact” Priority Research Program and will generate, within partnerships (Technical Institutes, INRAE labs), new metagenomic data on viral populations circulating in cereal crops, in weeds and in aphid vectors. In order to overcome the limits of current metagenomic approaches, you will also develop barcoding approaches allowing to simultaneously characterize viral populations (genus-specific PCR) and host plants or aphid vectors, allowing greater analytical power through the multiplication of data points. A first objective will be to generate a broad vision of the circulation of the various viruses of the B/CYDV species complex responsible for yellow dwarf disease in cereal crops as well as in reservoir plants and insect vectors through the analysis of metagenomics data (viral diversity, phylogenomics, phylogeography). As a longer-term objective, you will address scientific questions in viral ecology centered on the analysis of the consequences on viral populations and on their impact, of the evolution of management practices or of agroecological strategies aimed at reducing the use of pesticides or other inputs in agriculture. Depending on the resources obtained and the partnerships established, it will also be possible, over time, to extend these questions to other biologically related viruses that pose similar problems on other major crops (beet, legume crops, rapeseed) but also possibly to other viruses which would emerge as a consequence of global change or of the evolution of cultural practices and cultivated species.

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Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Selection process open to candidates holding a PhD (or equivalent).
A training in community ecology is recommended and prior experience in metagenomics and/or viral ecology expected. Expertise in bioinformatics analyses and biostatistics of metagenomics data will be a plus.

Excellent communication skills and an ability to develop collaborative networks with public and private partners in France and internationally are expected.

Proficiency in English is expected as well as a long-term international experience of research: successful candidates who do not have any experience of research abroad will have to spend a period abroad at the end of their first-year post-hiring.

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-SPE-1
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 36
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