Postdoctoral position OT-21796

Post-doctoral position in statistics applied to snow avalanche climatology

38 402 Saint martin d'heres

Back to jobs listing

INRAE presentation

The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and Environment (INRAE) is a major player in research and innovation. It is a community of 12,000 people with 272 research, experimental research, and support units located in 18 regional centres throughout France. Internationally, INRAE is among the top research organisations in the agricultural and food sciences, plant and animal sciences, as well as in ecology and environmental science. It is the world’s leading research organisation specialising in agriculture, food and the environment. INRAE’s goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. Faced with a growing world population, climate change, resource scarcity, and declining biodiversity, the Institute has a major role to play in building solutions and supporting the necessary acceleration of agricultural, food and environmental transitions.

Work environment, missions and activities

You will be hosted at Institute of Environmental Geosciences (IGE), a public research laboratory in Earth and Environmental Sciences from CNRS/INSU, IRD, Grenoble Alpes University, INRAE ​​and Grenoble-INP. Within IGE, the ECRINS team focuses its activities on rapid mass movements, related risks and the cryosphere in mountains. The ECRIN team develops knowledge and methods on processes, hazards; as well as on evolution of risks and their components, risk assessment and mitigation, and decision support. For instance, ECRINS has internationally recognized expertise in the development and implementation of advanced statistical methods in the field of mountain risks, notably snow avalanches. These methods make it possible to quantify hazard and risk and how these relate to climate conditions and changes at short- and  long-term (see references below).

In this context, you will be responsible for developing and implementing statistical models allowing the analysis of avalanche activity and its links with weather and climate conditions. The objectives are i) the improvement of statistical models for daily forecasting, ii) the quantification of changes in activity and their control by climate change at annual to decadal time scales. The targeted areas are the French Alps and the Aosta Valley (Italy). For the latter, the work will be carried out in close partnership with the Montagne Sure Foundation (FMS), as part of the PREVRISK-CC project. The work will also benefit from regular exchanges with Météo France’s Snow Study Center, with which long-standing collaborations have been established for studying the climatology of snow avalanches. Finally, this position is integrated within the PEPR IRIMA, a large research program on risks in France, and the Grenoble Risk Institute. This environment, will allow stimulating and fruitful exchanges with a large community.

In this context, you will be more specifically in charge of:

  • Developing and evaluating methods to forecast avalanche activity based on snow-meteorological conditions using advanced classification and learning techniques, under reanalysis and forecast conditions;
  • Developing synthetic snow weather indicators based on the information available to feed these models;
  • Applying these methods to the Val d’Aosta territory;
  • Analysing and quantifying spatio-temporal trends in avalanche activity in the Aosta Valley and the French Alps;
  • Interacting with colleagues from the ECRIN Steam, partners from the Montagne Sure Foundation and Météo France to enrich and interpret the results obtained, and more broadly with the PEPR IRIMA and Grenoble Risk Institute community;
  • Promoting the research produced as scientific articles and contribution to conferences.


Eckert, N., Keylock, C. J., Castebrunet, H., Lavigne, A., & Naaim, M. (2013). Temporal trends in avalanche activity in the French Alps and subregions: from occurrences and runout altitudes to unsteady return periods. Journal of Glaciology, 59(213), 93-114.

Lavigne, A., Eckert, N., Bel, L., & Parent, E. (2015). Adding expert contributions to the spatiotemporal modelling of avalanche activity under different climatic influences. Journal of the Royal Statistical Society Series C: Applied Statistics, 64(4), 651-671.

Sielenou, P. D., Viallon-Galinier, L., Hagenmuller, P., Naveau, P., Morin, S., Dumont, M., ... & Eckert, N. (2021). Combining random forests and class-balancing to discriminate between three classes of avalanche activity in the French Alps. Cold Regions Science and Technology, 187, 103276.

Evin, G., Sielenou, P. D., Eckert, N., Naveau, P., Hagenmuller, P., & Morin, S. (2021). Extreme avalanche cycles: Return levels and probability distributions depending on snow and meteorological conditions. Weather and Climate Extremes, 33, 100344.

Giacona, F., Eckert, N., Corona, C., Mainieri, R., Morin, S., Stoffel, M., ... & Naaim, M. (2021). Upslope migration of snow avalanches in a warming climate. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 118(44), e2107306118.

Training and skills

  • Background / training: PhD in statistical modelling with knowledge in learning and classification methods and spatio-temporal statistics; basic knowledge of mountain risks and the mountain environment appreciated but not essential.
  • Previous experience: research in statistics applied to environmental issues, climatology, geophysics or risks.
  • Ability and skills: conducting innovative research in statistics; programming in R, Python and/or Matlab; autonomy and capacity for initiative; interest for interdisciplinarity and interaction with colleagues and partners; writing scientific articles and contributing to conferences; scientific English European reference B1.


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, renewable for an additional 18 months
  • Beginning: As soon as possible
  • Remuneration: 2643.53
  • Reference: OT-21796
  • Deadline: 31/05/2024


Living in France and working at INRAE Our guide for international scientists

Learn more