- Job Title
- Postdoctoral Researcher
- Post Number
- Closing Date
- 4 Sep 2019
- Starting Salary
- £31,625 - £38,575
- Hours per week
- Project Title
- The impact of globalisation on breeding for rust resistance in wheat
- Expected/Ideal Start Date
- 01 Sep 2019
- Months Duration
- Interview Date
- 18 Sep 2019
Main Purpose of the Job
Evaluate the impact of the globalisation of agriculture, trade and tourism on the world-wide spread of rusts of wheat. These diseases are becoming increasingly important world-wide and threaten the viability of wheat production in several regions. The objectives of the work are to (1) assess the extent to which globalisation has affected the genetic diversity of rust resistance in wheat varieties; (2) evaluate the potential for the sexual stage of rust fungi to increase the severity of epidemics on wheat in the UK; (3) contribute to formulating recommendations for reducing the spread and severity of rust diseases of wheat.
The research will involve analysis of diverse types of data relevant to dispersal of rust diseases, including those on plant breeding, travel and transport, meteorology and epidemiological parameters of rusts. The research will thus combine concepts from agriculture, social sciences and environmental sciences while focussing on the specific topic of the growing world-wide importance of wheat rusts.
The Postdoctoral Researcher will work with a substantial degree of independence to conduct the research, while collaborating closely with other researchers at the John Innes Centre and other organisations with in the RustWatch collaboration supported by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. The work will also involve helping to train and supervise junior members of the group, preparing papers and reports, making presentations at project meetings and research conferences, and contributing to the effective operation of the research group.
Internal: Line manager, group members, Dr Diane Saunders and members of her group, and, as necessary, other researchers, research support staff and students across the Institute.
External: Research collaborators at INRA (France), Agricultural University Peshawar (Pakistan), Latvian Plant Protection Research Centre and Aarhus University (Denmark).
Main Activities & Responsibilities
- Identify, plan and carry out data analysis to meet the objectives of the project
- Prepare papers and reports for publication in scientific journals and other relevant media
- Disseminate research findings through presentations at internal, national and international meetings
- Collaborate with colleagues at the John Innes Centre and the RustWatch consortium in the development of original research
- Contribute to the smooth running of the group, including supervision and training of other members of the group as required; as agreed with the line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the post
- Ensure research and record keeping is carried out in accordance with good practice, scientific integrity and local policies; continually strive for excellence, acting on feedback and relevant learning and development opportunities
Education & Qualifications
- PhD (full award or expected within 6 months) or equivalent in agricultural economics, a social science relevant to agriculture or a relevant discipline in agricultural science
- BSc, BA or equivalent in a relevant subject
Specialist Knowledge & Skills
- The ability to define rigorous, testable hypotheses in economics or social sciences relevant to agriculture
- The ability to identify and use diverse sources of relevant data on agriculture, economics, society and meteorology
- A high level of expertise in statistical analysis of complex numerical data
- Knowledge of agricultural science, particularly plant breeding and plant pathology
- Knowledge of data sources on international travel and transport
- Knowledge of meteorological data sources
- Knowledge of statistical genetics
- Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas
- Proven record in scientific writing
- Experience of oral research presentations
- Experience of training and supervising others, including students
Interpersonal & Communication Skills
- Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
- Good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work within a team at JIC and as part of a multi-organisation collaboration
- Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
- Excellent time management and organisational skills
- Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
- Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
- Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
- Promotes equality and values diversity
- Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
- Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
- Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
- Attention to detail
- Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
- Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
Who We Are
John Innes Centre
The John Innes Centre is an independent, international centre of excellence in plant science and microbiology, carrying out fundamental and strategic research, to train scientists and making our findings available to society.
Our research makes use of a wide range of disciplines in the biological and chemical sciences including; cell biology, biochemistry, chemistry, genetics and molecular biology.
We pride ourselves on being a welcoming and inclusive working environment for all. We have a diverse and multicultural scientific community and thrive on our European and international links, appointing staff from across the world. We expect this to continue post Brexit. However, any candidate who would like further information on current or anticipated immigration requirements can contact the HR Team on +44 (0)1603 450888 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
We are proud to hold a prestigious Athena SWAN Gold award, recognising the impact of our work in promoting gender equality in science. We are also a proud member of the Stonewall Diversity Champion’s programme, a founding signatory of the Tecnician Commitment and, as a Disability Confident employer, guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for the post.
The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852), limited by guarantee (registered in England No. 511709).
The Department of Crop Genetics undertakes fundamental research on the biology of cereals, brassicas and legumes to understand the genetic and molecular basis of phenotypic variation. A major goal is to develop the technologies and knowledge base to provide a predictive framework that will underpin conventional and novel plant breeding strategies. This will enable high-yielding, stress and disease resistant varieties, with a particular end-use quality, suitable for an efficient but benign agriculture.
The post will be in JIC's Crop Genetics Department, which includes leading researchers on many aspects of arable crops. Wheat and crop pathology are two areas of particular strength in the department. The project will be supervised by Prof James Brown, whose research is on breeding crops for durable disease resistance, and will involve collaboration with Dr Diane Saunders, a specialist in rust pathogens of cereals. JIC and the neighbouring Sainsbury Laboratory have a dynamic programme of research on genetics, evolution and molecular biology of fungal diseases of diverse crops.
Applications are invited for a Postdoctoral Researcher to join the Crop Pathology group at the John Innes Centre, Norwich, UK, to study the impact of globalisation on diseases of arable crops.
The post is in the lab of Professor James Brown, which takes an inter-disciplinary approach to studying durable control of crop diseases, including methods of breeding for durable resistance. This is one of several research groups studying diverse aspects of plant pathology, which together make the John Innes Centre an outstanding institute for research on crop diseases.
The goal of the project is to understand the impact of current, rapid changes in agriculture on the durability of crop disease resistance. These include globalisation of the plant breeding industry, climate change, and inadvertent dispersal of pathogens by global transport networks. The research will focus on rust diseases of wheat, particularly the genetic diversity of disease resistance, changes in the severity of rust epidemics, and improved control of wheat rusts. The project will be a desk study, combining data from diverse sources in agricultural science, international transport, and climate change. The work will involve collaboration with colleagues at JIC and with partners in an EU Horizon 2020 project, RustWatch.
The ideal candidate:
Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the project, the successful applicant may have a PhD or equivalent experience in agricultural economics, a social science relevant to agriculture, or a relevant discipline within agricultural science. Candidates must be able to define testable hypotheses in social sciences relevant to agriculture, and to identify and use relevant data sources. A high level of expertise in analysing complex data is essential, as are excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity. Knowledge of areas such as agricultural science, particularly plant breeding and plant pathology, international travel and transport, and climate change will be advantageous.
Salary on appointment will be within the range £31,625 to £38,575 per annum depending on qualifications and experience. This is a full time post for a contract of 30 months.
We welcome applications from candidates seeking job-share, part-time or other flexible working arrangements.
Interviews will be held on 18 September 2019.
We are an equal opportunities employer, actively supporting inclusivity and diversity. As a Disability Confident organisation, we guarantee to offer an interview to all disabled applicants who meet the essential criteria for this vacancy. The John Innes Centre is also proud to hold a Gold Award from Athena SWAN and is a member of Stonewall’s Diversity Champions programme.
The closing date for applications will be 4 September 2019.
The John Innes Centre is a registered charity (No. 223852) grant-aided by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council.