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Rothamsted Research

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Postdoctoral Research Scientist — Sustainability Assessment

Salary Details:
£29,842 - £32,315
North Wyke
Work Area:
Closing Date:
25 May 2018
Overview Of Role
We are seeking a highly qualified postdoctoral research scientist to carry out sustainability assessment of pasture-based livestock production systems. The contract will initially run for 3 years and be based in the institute’s North Wyke site, the home of the North Wyke Farm Platform National Capability (NWFP) in Devon, England. The position will be funded through Soil to Nutrition (S2N), a large-scale strategic research programme supported by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).

Pasture-based ruminant production systems canutilise soils unsuitable for arable crop production by converting forages and fibrous feedstuffs into high-quality protein sources for humans, and therefore have the potential to contribute to food security without initiating the food-feed competition for natural resources. At the same time, ruminants are a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions, with 10 percent of human-induced carbon footprint attributable to their production around theworld. Given this strong trade-off between the costs and benefits brought into society by grazing animals, there is an urgent need for development of strategies to improve system-wide performance of pasture-based livestock production.

With this background in mind, Rothamsted Research recently launched S2N. Comprising a series of interconnected lab, field and modelling experiments, the primary objective of S2N is to elucidate the physical, chemical and biological mechanisms that regulate the flow of nutrients from soil to crops to animals and then humans and, based on this mechanistic understanding, to develop metrics of sustainability for commercial livestock producers. Findings from this ambitious programme are expected to influence the formation of next-generation farming strategies,which can enhance long-term economic feasibility of livestock farms without compromising natural environment or social value.

As an integral member of S2N and the Grazing Livestock Systems research cluster within Sustainable Agriculture Sciences Department, the successful candidate will be responsible for economic and environmental evaluation of contrasting agricultural systems, including those trialled on the NWFP and others commonly observed in the UK and the Global Farm Platform partner countries (http://www.globalfarmplatform.org). The position is primarily desk-based to perform quantitative trade-off analysis, for example life cycle assessment (LCA) and bioeconomic modelling, based on field data already collected (but not necessarily collated). However, in order to achieve the wider goals of the research team, the successful candidate will also take an initiative, as required, to design, plan and implement laboratory and field experiments to collect foreground data that will improve the accuracy of the modelling analysis and resultant metrics of agricultural sustainability.

The successful candidate will possess a PhD in Agricultural Sciences or a related field along with a strong record of scientific publications in high impact journals; see the Person Specification and Selection Criteria document for further details.

Applicants should prepare a single PDF file combining (1) curriculum vitae, (2) cover letter detailing how each essential (and desirable) shortlisting criterion is satisfied and, optionally, (3) supporting documents outlined in the Person Specification and Selection Criteria document. This file should be uploaded to the online application system as ‘CV to attach to application’; applications without a cover letter will be automatically rejected. Shortlisted candidates will be invited to interviews currently scheduled for 8 June 2018.

Pre-application enquiries regarding this vacancy should be addressed to Head of Sustainable Agriculture Sciences Department, Professor Michael Lee (michael.lee@rothamsted.ac.uk).


About The Company
Established in 1843, Rothamsted Research is one of the UK's leading Research Institutes delivering world class agricultural science. Our commitment to learning and development, equality and diversity as well as creating a positive work life balance, enable a welcoming environment for all prospective employees. We have an attractive benefits package including 25 days annual leave, a generous pension scheme and a vibrant campus offering various cultural and recreational activities.

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