Research scientist permanent position (Ingénieur de Recherches)

Monitoring the risks of disease emergence in forests

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 a major player in research and innovation created on 1 January 2020, resulting from the merger between INRA and IRSTEA. INRAE brings together a community of 12,000 people, with 268 research, service and experimental units, located in 18 centers throughout France. INRAE is one of the world’s leading institutions in agricultural and food sciences, plant and animal sciences, and ranks 11th in the world in ecology and the environment. In the face of population growth, climate change, resource scarcity and biodiversity decline, INRAE is building solutions for multi-performing agriculture, quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Working environment, missions and activities

You will be recruited in the Joint Research Unit (INRAE and University of Lorraine) Tree-Microbe Interactions (IAM), which has about 80 staff members, including 46 permanent staff members in three teams.

The IAM Unit’s research focuses on the biology and ecology of interactions between microorganisms and forest trees. It aims to improve our knowledge and understanding of the interactions between trees, fungi (pathogens, symbiotic and saprotrophic) and rhizospheric bacteria that contribute to the functioning and sustainability of forest ecosystems. The host team (Ecology of Forest Pathogenic Fungi), composed of 4 researchers, 2 engineers and assistant engineers and 4 technicians and technical assistants, develops research on the population biology of forest pathogenic fungi. The main research topics addressed are: (i) the determination of the main causes of emergence of forest diseases, (ii) the study of pathogen dispersal and its evolutionary consequences, (iii) the adaptation of pathogens to their hosts and (iv) the impact of emerging pathologies on forest ecosystems.

In this context, you will be in charge of developing innovative epidemiological surveillance methods for the early detection of new tree diseases in the natural environment, monitoring their emergence and assessing their impact on ecosystems. Targeted diseases will mainly be of fungal origin and will cover introductions of invasive parasites, pathogenicity evolution (linked to hybridization phenomena or resistance breakdown) and more gradual emergences linked to climate change or land use changes (especially host densities). Research will focus on a limited number of host-parasite pairs, which will also serve as study models for more fundamental work carried out in the UMR IAM (dispersion, adaptation, hybridization). It will involve experimental work in the field and in the laboratory: etiological characterization of diseases, inoculum detection and monitoring methods (based on quantitative PCR) and monitoring of epidemics and their long-term impact in the natural environment.

Your activity will be carried out in close coordination with the organizations in charge of epidemiological surveillance of forests (Forest Health Department, DSF) and agriculture (Plant Epidemiosurveillance Platform at Avignon) and of plant health risk assessment (ANSES Plant Health Laboratory), at the national level and locally in Nancy. More broadly, you will participate in national and international (cross-border networks, European projects, IUFRO working groups) scientific networks in the field of forest health.

Trips over several days with overnight stays in France and Europe are to be expected.

Training and skills required

PhD in population biology and/or plant epidemiology.

You ideally have a solid background in population biology and/or plant epidemiology. Your possible complementary skills in forest ecology and/or fungi biology will be appreciated, but are not essential. Your practical experience in the use of molecular tools for diagnosis, detection and quantification (quantitative PCR) will be appreciated. Skills in statistics and GIS (Geographic Information Systems) will be appreciated. You have good written (publications and scientific reports) and oral (meetings, conferences) communication skills and ability to communicate to non-academic audiences. You have a good command of written and spoken English and at least basic knowledge of French. You are independent, self-confident, curious and rigorous. You have a good sense of organization and an ability to work in a team and to supervise people (technicians, trainees).

Your quality of life at INRAE

By joining INRAE, you will benefit from:

– 30 days of annual leave + 15 days “Reduction of Working Time” (for a full time job);

– support for parenthood: CESU childcare, leisure benefits;

– skills development schemes: training, career guidance;

– social support: advice and listening, social aid and loans;

– holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;

– sports and cultural activities;

– collective catering.

How to apply

Download the applicant’s guide (in French only).

Note the profile number: IR20-ECOFA-1

Register here.

Job category: Ingénieur de Recherches

Closing date for registration: May 12, 2020

For more information about the position, please contact:

Dr Pascal FREY

Mobile: 33 631 45 94 07