Junior Research Scientist studying the functional analysis of microbial consortia in bioprocesses


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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

INRAE is recruiting a researcher to work in the Toulouse Biotechnology institute and more specifically in the SYMBIOSE team.

TBI hosts researchers from the life sciences and engineering disciplines who are developing multiscale, pluri- and interdisciplinary approaches to tackle bioeconomy-related challenges. With over 300 staff, TBI possesses over 40 years of internationally recognised experience and a well-connected network of national and international, public and private sector collaborators. TBI performs research in the fields of enzyme catalysis and engineering, systems and synthetic biology, fermentation, chemical and process engineering and ecoconception.

One of the core challenges for TBI, and more specifically the SYMBIOSE team, is to design efficient microbial communities, selecting microbial consortia and developing target functions. Currently, these functions are monitored using chemical and metabolic markers, thus providing the means to understand and drive community metabolisms in the bioreactor environment.

Research in the SYMBIOSE team is aligned with the TRANSFORM department’s (INRAE) strategy. This relates to the development of novel processes using naturally occurring microbial consortia (or mixed microbial communities) to convert renewable resources into target products that are both biobased and eco-designed.

In the context of climate change adaptation, the microbial valorisation of solid (biowaste, lignocelluloçsic biomass, animal dejections etc.) liquid (urban sewage and industrial wastes), and gaseous (CO2, CO, etc.) residues forms a core feature of the bioeconomy. Accordingly, these bioprocesses are relevant to both the agricultural wastewater and organic waste treatment sectors where they are used to produce energy (e.g., methane) or other target molecules (e.g., organic acids, alcohols, microbial polymers etc).

As a newly recruited researcher, you will reinforce the expertise of the SYMBIOSE team in the field of bioreactor engineering and provide new expertise for the analysis of metabolic pathways and fluxes and bioenergetics. You will develop new tools and dynamic approaches designed to monitor bioreactor metabolism and will be encouraged to explore new ways to drive microbial functions in bioreactors to produce target products.

In the host laboratory, you will benefit from a whole range of state-of-the art and cutting-edge equipment (9 core facilities) including the MetaToul core facility. This national facility has over 15 years of experience in the field of metabolic and fluxomic analyses to investigate microbial metabolism. Equipped with high resolution mass spectrometry (HRMS), NMR, robotics and bioinformatics and staffed by highly experienced professionals, MetaToul is unique in France.

To begin with, you will also benefit from ongoing research projects, notably the recently initiated B-BEST-funded project that aims to produce specific target molecules using microbial consortia. This project will provide the opportunity to begin work on the study of metabolic pathways and competition between majority microbial populations.

Being located on the INSA engineering school campus, you will also have the option to teach students in the fields of process engineering applied to water treatment, energy production and environmental remediation and/or in bioengineering.

Your first circle of collaborators being the SYMBIOSE team members, you will be working with people skilled in modelling and possessing experience of functional characterisation and meta-omics, microbiology and physicochemistry. Moreover, you will benefit from an existing network of collaborations including those with TU Delft, the Danish University of Technology, the University of Ghent, the Sapienza University, the University of Santiago de Compostelo and Brisbane University. If desired, these collaborations will open opportunities for short-term international mobility.

Finally, as a recruit you will be eligible for financial help from INRAE.

Our research team tells you more about your future job

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Competition is open to candidates with a PhD (or equivalent)
You hold a PhD in bioprocess engineering or bioengineering (or closely related field).
You have acquired skills in kinetic modelling, cellular metabolism and bioenergetics and the study of microbial consortia.

You are fluent (spoken and written) in English and have previous experience of working abroad in an international environment. Successful candidates that have not yet acquired international experience will be expected to perform a postdoctoral fellowship abroad immediately following their 12-month probationary period.

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-TRANSFORM-2
  • Corps: CR
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 27
Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

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