Postdoctoral Researcher (Crop Pathology)
Post Details
Job Title
Postdoctoral Researcher (Crop Pathology)
Post Number
1003753
Closing Date
24 Oct 2019
Grade
SC6
Starting Salary
£31,625 - £38,575
Hours per week
37
Project Title
The impact of globalisation on rust diseases of wheat
Expected/Ideal Start Date
02 Dec 2019
Months Duration
30

Job Description

Main Purpose of the Job

Explore the role of globalisation in the world-wide increase in rust diseases of wheat, and develop recommendations for reducing the spread and severity of wheat rusts. These are among the most serious of all crop diseases, threatening food production in many regions of the world.

The project will evaluate global changes in the "disease triangle" and compare their impacts on rusts of wheat. It will examine how the genetic diversity and distribution of rust resistance in wheat varieties have changed, how those changes have affected the potential for the world-wide dispersal of virulent rust fungi to cause epidemics, and how the establishment of rust epidemics has been affected by climate change. The research will examine the extent to which globalisation of food production, plant breeding, trade and travel may have stimulated epidemics of wheat rusts. Conclusions from the work will contribute to a European Union programme on improving rust control in wheat crops.

The postdoctoral researcher will work with a substantial degree of independence to obtain and analyse data relevant to the project from diverse sources in agriculture, social sciences and environmental sciences. The project will involve collaboration with other scientists at the John Innes Centre and other organisations within the RustWatch collaboration supported by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. It will also include writing peer-reviewed papers to report the research, helping to train and supervise other scientists, contributing to reports and recommendations, and making presentations at project meetings and research conferences.

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), Plant Protection Research Centre (Latvia) and Aarhus University (Denmark).

Main Activities & Responsibilities

Percentage
Obtain data and carry out data analysis to meet the objectives of the project
70
Prepare papers for publication in scientific journals and reports for project reviews 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
As agreed with line manager, any other duties commensurate with the nature of the role

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
Ability to define testable hypotheses about agricultural systems on large geographic scales using published data
Essential
Ability to identify and use diverse sources of relevant data on agriculture, agricultural systems and climate change
Essential
A high level of expertise in statistical analysis of complex numerical data
Essential
Knowledge of plant breeding and the plant breeding industry
Desirable
Knowledge of data sources on international trade, transport and tourism
Desirable
Knowledge of data sources relevant to climate change
Desirable
Knowledge of statistical genetics
Desirable
Knowledge of plant pathology and breeding for disease resistance (highly desirable)
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
Desirable
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 who study 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, who researches durable disease resistance in crops, 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 crop species.

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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 rust diseases of wheat. These are growing in importance world-wide and are among the most serious diseases of 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. It is one of several research groups in plant pathology, which together make the John Innes Centre an outstanding institute for research on crop diseases.

The role:

The goals of the project are to understand the role of globalisation in the world-wide increase in rust diseases of wheat, and to develop recommendations for reducing the spread and severity of wheat rusts. These are among the most serious of all crop diseases, threatening food production in many regions of the world.

The project will evaluate global changes in the "disease triangle" and compare their impacts on rusts of wheat. It will examine how the genetic diversity and distribution of rust resistance in wheat varieties have changed, how those changes have affected the potential for the world-wide dispersal of virulent rust fungi to cause epidemics, and how the establishment of rust epidemics has been affected by climate change. The research will examine the extent to which globalisation of food production, plant breeding, trade and travel may have stimulated epidemics of wheat rusts. Conclusions from the work will contribute to a European Union programme on improving rust control in wheat crops.

The postdoctoral researcher will work with a substantial degree of independence to obtain and analyse data relevant to the project from diverse sources in agriculture, social sciences and environmental sciences. The project will involve collaboration with other scientists at the John Innes Centre and other organisations within the RustWatch collaboration supported by the EU's Horizon 2020 programme. It will also include writing peer-reviewed papers to report the research, helping to train and supervise other scientists, contributing to reports and recommendations, and making presentations at project meetings and research conferences.

The ideal candidate:

Reflecting the interdisciplinary nature of the project, the successful applicant may have a PhD or equivalent experience in an agricultural science or a social science relevant to agriculture. They will be able to develop novel ideas and define testable hypotheses about the impact of current, large-scale changes in agricultural systems on crop diseases, and identify relevant sources of published data to test those hypotheses. A high level of expertise in data analysis is essential, as are excellent science communication skills, both written and oral.

Knowledge of plant pathology, including breeding for disease resistance, will be particularly helpful, as will knowledge of areas such as travel and transport, climate change or crop genetics.

The appointee will be able to work independently and efficiently with a high degree of initiative, while contributing to the research group and advancing the goals of a multi-organisation collaboration.

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 fulltime post for a period of 30 months.

We welcome applications from candidates seeking job-share, part-time or other flexible working arrangements.

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.