Research Scientist in Hydrology (Quantity and Quality)


Antony, , FR

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 HYCAR research unit comprises around forty scientists.
You will work in an extremely dynamic environment in the fields of modelling and observation within a unit recognised internationally for its hydrological models and its participation in international initiatives to validate models on large-sample hydrology experiments, its experience in the nitrate cycle, and a hydrological research site (Orgeval catchment) that has been monitored for over fifty years.
Your mission will be to develop even further water quality modelling; the modeller will hold a pivotal position between the HYDRO and ARTEMHYS teams. The scientific challenge for the HYCAR research unit is to build a bridge between 1/ “conceptual” quantitative hydrological models with powerful predictive capabilities, which the unit have been developing for 40 years and taken to a very high level, and 2/ more descriptive approaches of the environment using the chemical composition of water as a means of tracing and therefore more suitable for analysing the paths of water.
The challenge will be to create new links between the field of excellence of the HYCAR research unit (surface hydrology) and water chemistry with a threefold perspective: scientific knowledge, better constraint of the parameterisation of the hydrological models, and prediction of water quality.
You will focus on two kinds of scientific hurdles: conceptual and methodological. The conceptual hurdles are essentially linked to how the equations regarding the release/leaching of ions are formalized: How can an acceptable level of complexity be preserved while introducing physical and chemical knowledge? How can the simulations of water flows benefit from the description of simulations of ion flows and vice versa? The methodological hurdles are linked to the chosen parameterisation and the need for a multivariate vision and progress simultaneously in the representation of flow and matter.
Your objective will be to develop integrated models and methodologies to address together the link between water quality and quantity on different scales and under various constraints. These approaches must be robust, flexible in terms of spatio-temporal scale, and enable effective coupling between hydrological, geochemical, and water use models. These integrated models will be based on behavioural laws well suited to the aforementioned digital and methodological constraints and if possible highlight the feedback mechanisms still difficult to quantify using only mechanistic approaches.
You will participate in activities linked to the development of projects and scientific coordination of all the teams within the HYCAR unit, as well as regional, national, and European stakeholders in research. You will promote your work through publications and presentations and will contribute to teaching activities.

Training and skills

PhD or equivalent

Ideally, you have general skills in hydrology and hydrochemistry, specialisation in modelling and epistemology, and general skills in programming. Knowledge of multi-criteria optimisation would be a bonus. You will address the issue of the appropriate level of modelling so as to ensure active and useful collaboration with your colleagues within HYCAR, and thus meet the scientific issues and societal challenges concerned.
Additional skills in field monitoring and promotion with regard to managers would be appreciated. Finally, experience in developing national models and using large databases would be a bonus.

Ideally, you have a PhD in hydrology, geochemistry, Earth science or physical geography.
You have a strong taste for modelling and multidisciplinary approaches.
A good command of programming with fundamental (FORTRAN/C) and interpreted (e.g. R) languages would be desirable.
Excellent writing skills in French and English would be appreciated, and you have the proven ability to publish in leading journals.
You have the ability to work in a team and develop research projects. Sound knowledge in hydrochemistry, hydrology and applied climatology would be desirable.
Knowledge in agronomy or ecosystems would be appreciated.
Acquaintance with water stakeholders and issues with water management would be a bonus.
Candidates should have a good command of English, 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: training, career 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.