Management of agri-food transitions (MANTRA)


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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. 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

Nature and purpose of the research project to be developed and related activities
Assisting the agroecological transition requires understanding how agri-food systems can be reconfigured to become sustainable. Transition studies represents this process as a confrontation between niches of innovation led by those involved who implement far-reaching changes and a dominant regime that is resisting. The originality of the project is to address this process as a co-evolution rather than a confrontation. Understanding this co-evolution raises the question of the cross-learning processes involved at the interfaces between niches and regimes. The hurdle to be overcome is that of the complexity of these interfaces where visions of the world, often radically different, converge. To be able to address this question, we propose to study the intermediary transitions and their supporting role. These players create bridges between the parties involved and formulate their visions and requests at the interface between niches of innovation and regimes in place, thus enabling the transformation of sociotechnical systems resulting in new collaborations between technologies, ideas, and niche markets. The aim is to characterise the practices, strategies, and organisation of these intermediaries, the nature of the cross-learning made possible and its effects in terms of value and motivation to act, as well as changes in practices. Conducting multi-level analyses on dynamics between micro- and meso-economic scales will require the use of mixed methods combining quantitative analyses and qualitative approaches.

Nature and purpose of the teaching project
There are high expectations, on the part of engineering students and master’s students, for courses on how to get involved and assist the ecological transition of agri-food systems. The aim of the junior professor position is to develop and teach a framework to design and deploy the action and learn from experience to train reflexive practitioners to cope with the complexity and uncertainty of difficult situations to transform and assist groups in these transformations. This proposal falls fully within the objectives of the INPT project on sustainable engineering and the deployment of the project “Toulouse Initiative for Research Impact on Society” of the new University of Toulouse. The aim is that all the engineering students of the INPT and PhD students in Toulouse have access to a “miner” on the production of knowledge on and for the transitions. The person recruited will therefore be in charge of creating these teaching modules:
• Master’s level (INPT, ENVT, ENSFEA, UT2 schools) challenges, theories and operationalisation of sustainable transitions (12h), learning and knowledge management (8h), assistance with changes in agri-food systems (4h), ethics and action (4h), transdisciplinarity and complexity management (4h),
• Seminar and reflexive workshops on the stance of research, inter and transdisciplinarity for the Doctoral Schools SEVAB and TESC of the University of Toulouse (12h).

Funding and related resources
ANR Package : 200 000€
INRAE Package : 110 000€
Total : 310 000€

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

PhD or equivalent.
International PhD or equivalent in sociology, geography or management.

Interdisciplinary skills to hybridise social sciences and biotechnical sciences, and experience in collaborative research with players in the field. Without it constituting a requirement, experience with players in the agricultural sector would be appreciated.

Knowledge and recognition in the field of Transition Studies, including project development and supervision of research.

Accreditation for supervising research (HDR) obtained (or international equivalent) or failing that, experience in supervising doctoral students and research likely to enable an HDR to be obtained at the end of the 3 years of JP.

Interest in research and teaching in an interdisciplinary context.

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.

International scientists, please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE.

Type of contract

Tenure-Track Junior Professor Chair enables recruitment of scientists based on a research and teaching project that lasts three years. At the end of this period, and following an assessment of your scientific achievements and professional capabilities, you may obtain a full-tenure position as Research Director (DR2).

A research and teaching agreement will specify the path you will follow towards full-tenure and enable you to acquire the qualifications necessary to become a full-tenure Research Director in your field.

You have until April 12, 2024 to submit your application. Only candidates previously selected on file by the selection committee will be invited to the hearing.

Offer reference

  • Profile number: CPJ24-ACT-1
  • Corps: Chaire de Professeur Junior
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 1


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