Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher
Post Number
1003753
Closing Date
4 Sep 2019
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,625 - £38,575
Hours per week
37
Project Title
The impact of globalisation on breeding for rust resistance in wheat
Expected/Ideal Start Date
01 Sep 2019
Months Duration
30
Interview Date
18 Sep 2019

Job Description

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.

Key Relationships

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

Percentage
Identify, plan and carry out data analysis to meet the objectives of the project
70
Prepare papers and reports for publication in scientific journals and other relevant media
10
Disseminate research findings through presentations at internal, national and international meetings
5
Collaborate with colleagues at the John Innes Centre and the RustWatch consortium in the development of original research
5
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
5
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
5

Person Profile

Education & Qualifications

Requirement
Importance
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
Essential
BSc, BA or equivalent in a relevant subject
Essential

Specialist Knowledge & Skills

Requirement
Importance
The ability to define rigorous, testable hypotheses in economics or social sciences relevant to agriculture
Essential
The ability to identify and use diverse sources of relevant data on agriculture, economics, society and meteorology
Essential
A high level of expertise in statistical analysis of complex numerical data
Essential
Knowledge of agricultural science, particularly plant breeding and plant pathology
Desirable
Knowledge of data sources on international travel and transport
Desirable
Knowledge of meteorological data sources
Desirable
Knowledge of statistical genetics
Desirable

Relevant Experience

Requirement
Importance
Demonstrated ability to perform research and develop novel ideas
Essential
Proven record in scientific writing
Essential
Experience of oral research presentations
Essential
Experience of training and supervising others, including students
Desirable

Interpersonal & Communication Skills

Requirement
Importance
Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, including the ability to present complex information with clarity
Essential
Good interpersonal skills, including the ability to work within a team at JIC and as part of a multi-organisation collaboration
Essential
Demonstrated ability to work independently, using initiative and applying problem solving skills
Essential
Excellent time management and organisational skills
Essential
Ability to collaborate with internal and external stakeholders
Essential
Ability to follow instructions/Standard Operating Procedures
Essential
Promotes and strives for continuous improvement
Essential

Additional Requirements

Requirement
Importance
Promotes equality and values diversity
Essential
Willingness to embrace the expected values and behaviours of all staff at the Institute, ensuring it is a great place to work
Essential
Able to present a positive image of self and the Institute, promoting both the international reputation and public engagement aims of the Institute
Essential
Ability to maintain confidentiality and security of information where appropriate
Essential
Attention to detail
Essential
Willingness to work outside standard working hours when required
Essential
Ability to undertake occasional travel (national and international) related to collaborations and/or seminars
Desirable

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.

For more information about working at the John Innes Centre, please click here.

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 nbi.recruitment@nbi.ac.uk.

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).

Department

Crop Genetics

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.

Group Details

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.

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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.

Background:

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 role:

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.

Additional information:

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.