Junior research scientist in spatialized hydrological modeling


Lyon, France 🇫🇷


  • Profile number: CR-2023-AQUA-2
  • Corps: CRCN
  • Category: A
  • Open competition number: 16

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 recruiting researchers by open competition and offering permanent position.

It is a major player in research and innovation created on 1st of January 2020. INRAE is a research institute resulting from the merger of INRA and IRSTEA. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France.

The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment. INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities

The RiverLy Research Unit combines expertise in hydrology, hydraulics, ecology, ecotoxicology, and environmental chemistry to develop approaches at various structural scales of hydrosystems to improve understanding of their functioning, dynamics, and quality. The Catchment Hydrology research group works on hydrological processes and functioning in river catchments, quantitative water resources, and the related risks (floods and droughts).

In particular, it develops spatialized hydrological modelling tools to study the anthropogenic influence (climate, land use, developments, and uses, etc.) on hydrological processes to meet the challenges of water resource management in the context of global change. The modelling philosophy developed is that of a data and knowledge aggregator model. The modelling is based on an explicit description of water pathways, processes, and hydrological compartments, with a fine resolution from the headwaters of the catchment to the outlets, and representations adapted according to the spatial scales of a continuum ranging from mesoscale basins (a few tens of km²) to large regional and national basins (100 000 km² and more). It is based on field observation and pays particular attention to the physical meaning of the parameters and the consistency of the modelling results (the right answers for the right reasons).

Within this research group, you will develop an integrated, explicit, and spatialized vision for representing interactions between water resources and water uses in hydrological modelling. You will contribute to the following research questions:
– integration and improvement of modelling various water uses (hydropower, irrigation for agriculture, industrial use, drinking water supply…) and hydraulic infrastructures (farm or hydroelectric dams, weirs, urban rainwater management…) in connection with the temporal and spatial scales, data available, and specific objectives of each case study;
– integration of the non-stationarity of water uses and other physical or anthropogenic factors affecting the catchment response (climate, glaciers, land use, etc.), as well as any potential feedback (e.g. climate-vegetation);
– assessment of hydrological trajectories (past-present-future) of river catchments, and identifying thresholds, tipping points, as well as levers for adaptation, taking spatial contrasts into account;
– investigation of the ability of the models to simulate key hydrological processes for issues other than quantitative water resource applications and conditioning water management (e.g. river-groundwater exchanges for water temperature, contributions of hydrological compartments for water quality and river habitats), at various temporal and spatial scales and in particular along the hydrographic network.

Your research will fall more particularly within the research activities of the AQUA department (https://www.inrae.fr/departements/aqua). You will be proactive in contributing to multidisciplinary projects aimed at integrated, balanced, and sustainable water management. In collaboration with the other research groups of the RiverLy research unit, as well as with research units of the AQUA department, your research will contribute to RiverLy’s multidisciplinary approach for better integrated management of catchments. You will also pay special attention to communicating the research results to water management stakeholders in the territories.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Candidates must have a PhD or equivalent.
Specialization in hydrology is highly recommended, as well as sound post-doctoral experience and experience in distributed hydrological modelling (model application and development).
Good command of several programming and computing languages is highly recommended.
The ability to communicate your research results through scientific papers and oral communications, both in French and English, is essential.
Autonomy, creativity, and the ability to supervise interns and PhD students are essential.
The ability to work in a multidisciplinary team and openness to the operational environment would be desirable.
Candidates should have a good command of English (both written and spoken), and long-term international experience would also be desirable. Successful candidates who have not yet acquired this experience abroad will be required to do so after their probationary period (1st year).

INRAE’s life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from:

– 30 days of annual leave + 15 days “Reduction of Working Time” (for a full time);
– parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
– skills development systems: trainingcareer advise;
– social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
– holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
– sports and cultural activities;
– collective catering.

For international scientists: please visit your guide to facilitate your arrival and stay at INRAE


FLORA BRANGER: 04 72 20 89 24, flora.branger@inrae.fr

ERIC SAUQUET: 06 42 95 84 50, eric.sauquet@inrae.fr






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