Postdoctoral position OT-11364

Phenotypic plasticity and genetic variability of shoot expansion in response to drought in wheat

34060 Montpellier

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INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment. 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 welcomed in the Laboratory for Plant Ecophysiology under Environmental Stresses (LEPSE) located in Montpelier. You will work as part of the H2020 SolACE and EPPN200 projects. Through these projects a genetic panel of both bread and durum wheat has been extensively phenotyped in high-throughput phenotyping platforms in controlled environment and semi-field conditions. By analyzing this large dataset you will study the phenotypic plasticity of wheat tillering under contrasted scenarios of water deficit.

In addition to giving new insight regarding the physiological responses of wheat to chronic drought and rewatering, your research will allow a generic approach of parameterization of crop growth models for bread and durum wheat and will identify potential sources of improvement of wheat adaptation and resilience to drought. You will conduct your research in close collaboration with another Post-Doctoral Research Fellow in applied mathematics and artificial intelligence who will develop methods for time-series analyses of in situ 3D images to characterize the evolution of the spatial structure of plants over time.

As a postdoctoral researcher, you will be led to:

  • Develop and evaluate phenomic methods to quantify traits related to cereal shoot expansion and architecture.
  • Analyze the links and trade-offs between the components of shoot expansion (leaf appearance rate, individual leaf expansion, and tillering) and their sensitivities to water deficit.
  • Carry out multivariate analyses on physiological traits to define the structure of the genetic diversity of wheat shoot expansion and its response to water deficit (phenotypic space) that maximizes the genetic variability to water and nitrogen deficit.
  • Write and publish articles in peer-reviewed journals.

You will join a multi-disciplinary group of plant ecophysiologists, modelers, geneticists, and computer scientists. You will have access to state of the art laboratory, experimental, and computer facilities. Montpellier is a city of 270,000 ideally located in the south of France, on the Mediterranean sea. With over 3,000 researchers, Montpellier is the largest European center for plant sciences and agronomy.mie.

Training and skills


Recommended training:

  • PhD degree in plant ecophysiology, phenomics, modeling or a closely related field.


 Knowledge required:

  • Strong background in plant ecophysiology
  • Proficiency in R or Python programming is highly desirable.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English

Appreciated experience:

  • Experience with handling large, multi-source and multi-scale datasets and analyses of experimental data.
  • Proven record of research publications in peer-reviewed international journals.

Skills sought:

  • Willingness to collaborate with others as part of a multi-disciplinary research team.

INRAE's life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from (depending on the type of contract and its duration):

- up to 30 days of annual leave + 15 days "Reduction of Working Time" (for a full time);
parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
- skills development systems: trainingcareer 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.

How to apply

I send my CV and my motivation letter

Offer reference

  • Contract: Postdoctoral position
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Beginning: As soon as possible
  • Remuneration: 42,672 – 49,248 € (commensurate with experience and qualification)
  • Reference: OT-11364
  • Dealine: 23/06/2021
Centre Occitanie-Montpellier

UMR0759 LEPSE 34060 Montpellier