Temporary position OT-21911

Integrating the cocktail effect in environmental footprint based on Life Cycle Assessment

11100 Narbonne

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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

General context
The common methodology for calculating individual potential toxicological or ecotoxicological impacts of a given substance, in the Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) framework, is computed, for a dedicated compartment (air, soil, water),
by its characterization factor (i.e. a measure of its (eco-)toxicity) multiplied by its mass (Munoz et al., 2008). Then, the global impacts suffered by the compartment are simply obtained by the sum of the potential individual effects of each
of the substances contained in this compartment. This hypothesis of additivity of the impacts without interactions between substances is an approximation of which we do not know whether it is maximizing or not (Coors et al.,
2018). Testing this hypothesis and improving the global computation of the potential impacts by taking into account some interactions would approach this type of modeling for practical use, for example for the environmental display of
different consumer products and/or an informed comparison between different scenarios (for example for wastewater treatment . . .) (Helias et al., 2022). In this context, the TAILORED project, funded by the ADEME, proposes to test
this hypothesis and to state a proof-of-concept to define a first model that takes into account the cocktail effect for some substances.

Postdoctoral mission and objectives
A set of substances has been chosen by the different members of the project to represent different families of compounds and different ecotoxicity levels. These substances will be tested individually on our model organism, the
gammarus, to provide a first set of individual results (Geffard et al., 2010). All the experiments will be carried out by our project partner at the Riverly unit. Then you will define an experimental design to test some mixtures of
these substances, that will be used to first test the potential existence of cocktail effects. When cocktail effects are highlighted, the results of the experiments will be used to define a model, in the Life Cycle Assessment framework, that
takes it into account. This could be done, for example, by implementing new characterization factors for some mixtures of substances or by weighting directly the individual characterization factors. This is a position where initiative is key.
Any new ideas you may have or new ways of approaching this subject will be strongly supported.. Finally, the last objective will be to apply the methodology developed to some study cases on the quality of water impacted by urban
and industrial discharges at different points. This will support a new prioritisation of substances during wastewater treatment, not only based on the concentration of compounds but also on their complete ecotoxicity potential impacts
(Aemig et al., 2021 ; Servien et al., 2023).

1. Munoz, I., Jos´e G´omez, M., Molina-D´ıaz, A ., Huijbregts, M.A.J., Fern´andez-Alba, A .R., Garc´ıa-Calvo, E., 2008. Ranking potential impacts of priority and emerging pollutants in urban wastewater through life cycle impact assessment. Chemosphere 74, 37–44.
2. Coors, A., Vollmar, P., Sacher, F., Polleichtner, C., Hassold, E., Gildemeister, D., K¨Hassold, E., Gildemeister, D., K¨uhnen, U., 2018. Prospective environmental risk assessment of mixtures in wastewater treatment plant effluents – Theoretical considerations
and experimental verification. Water Research, 140, 2018, 56-66.
3. H´elias, A., van der Werf, H.M.G., Soler, LG. et al., 2022. Implementing environmental labelling of food products in France. International Journal of Life Cycle Assessment 27, 926–931.
4. Geffard, O., Xuereb, B., Chaumot, A., Geffard, A., Biagianti, S., No¨el, C., Abbaci, K., Garric, J., Charmantier, G. and Charmantier-Daures, M., 2010. Ovarian cycle and embryonic development in Gammarus fossarum : Application for reproductive toxicity assessment. Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry, 29, 2249-2259.
5. Aemig, Q., H´elias, A., Patureau, D., 2021. Impact assessment of a large panel of organic and inorganic micropollutants released by wastewater treatment plants at the scale of France. Water Research, 188, 116524.
6. Servien, R., Bonnot, K., Latrille, E., H´elias, A., and Patureau, D., 2023. Consideration of unmeasured micropollutants released from WWTP for impact estimations. Science of the Total Environment, 166313.

Training and skills


We seek a highly motivated postdoctoral fellow for this position. The ideal candidate should possess the following qualifications :
— A PhD in applied mathematics (statistics) or life-cycle assessment ;
— Basic knowledge of programming in either R or Python ;
— Proficiency in the English language ;
— An interest in environmental problems would be advantageous.

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: Temporary position
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Beginning: 01/10/2024
  • Remuneration: Between 2816 € and 3190 € depending on experience
  • Reference: OT-21911
  • Deadline: 30/06/2024
Centre Occitanie-Montpellier

Laboratory of Environmental Biotechnology 11100 Narbonne Website


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