Post Doctoral Research Fellow Level 1 (PD1) - Soil Nutrient Dynamics & Efficiency (Temporary)

Crops, Environment and Land Use Research Centre, Teagasc, Johnstown Castle, Co Wexford, Y35 Y521
 Salary:  Post Doc (Level 1) with a Salary Scale of €36,302 to €40,221
Research   Post Doc Full Time
Closing Date: 21/08/2020 Closing Time: 12:00


Job Summary

Temporary Externally Funded Non Grant-in-Aid contract post, the indicative duration of which is 48 months, subject to contract.  A panel may be formed from which future similar vacancies may be filled; such a panel will remain active for a maximum period of 12 months.


Basic Function and Background to the Role:

This Post-Doctoral Research position affiliated with the Farm Sustainability Tools for Efficient Nitrogen use (FaSTEN) research project will develop new knowledge to improve nutrient use efficiency on farms thus reducing potential nitrogen (N) losses to water and gaseous emissions to the environment. As part of FaSTEN, the Post-Doctoral Researcher will work with the dynamic project team (including partners at Teagasc, University College Dublin and Waterford Institute of Technology) to investigate different soil, environment and management factors affecting nutrient recovery by different grass sward types and cereal crops. The primary role of this post will be to execute laboratory, microcosm and field based research studies on fertiliser recovery and nutrient dynamics in soil & grass and soil & crops (in conjunction with the project researchers) and to analyze, model and interpret the data generated to develop new scientific information for enhancing N use efficiency across different soils, seasons, crop types and management systems. The Post-Doctoral Researcher will also gain experience and be involved with supporting and supervising the PhD students on the project who will investigate various aspects of nutrient use efficiency and environmental sustainability in agricultural systems. This post will include communication with a wide range of stakeholders, including policy, industry, advisory and farming community. The Post-Doctoral Researcher will contribute the final project outputs such as the generation of science based nutrient advice, a decision support tool for farmers and advisors and a number of scientific publications which underpin nutrient use efficiency on farms leading to agronomic and environmental sustainability in future.

The Teagasc post-doctoral programme provides training and development opportunities for early career scientists that enhances their experience of learning and equips them with the necessary skills for the next stage of their chosen career in research. 

This project requires the appointment of a Post Doctoral Research Fellow Level 1 (PD1) position for approximately 4 years.  The position will be based in the Environment, Soils and Land-use Department in Johnstown Castle, Wexford.  Teagasc - Johnstown Castle is Ireland’s leading research institute on the rural environment and conducts both fundamental and applied research on a wide range of subjects, e.g. nutrient efficiency, water quality, gaseous emissions, soil quality, agro-ecology, land use and organic farming.  Johnstown Castle has 190 hectares of farmland and operates 3 scientific research farms.  These enterprises facilitate a range of research projects at plot, field and farm level.  Our programme is funded by, among others, the Department of Agriculture, the Irish National Development Plan, EPA and EU.  The main users of our research are farmers, Government Departments, the Environmental Protection Agency, policy makers, development agencies and rural communities.   A significant proportion of the research is conducted in close collaboration with researchers in other institutions in Ireland, UK, the EU, USA and other countries.

This is a research focused training role, the primary purpose of which is to provide early career scientists with the opportunity to develop their research skills and competencies.

The Post-Doctoral Fellow will, while working in conjunction with senior research staff, gain insight and experience into a variety of areas including the processes of project and budgetary management, publishing in peer-reviewed academic journals, writing grant applications, and attracting external funding; the development of active collaboration with relevant national and international research communities; the development of communication and presentation skills, leadership and management skills, and overall career development.

Modules will be conducted under the supervision and direction of the Project Leader or other designated manager in conjunction with the Head of Department.

Job Objectives

Duties & Responsibilities specific to this project:

  • To identify current knowledge gaps in nutrient use efficiency across agricultural soils and grassland and cropping systems and for reducing potential N losses and emissions to the environment.
  • To help develop and manage the day-to-day tasks in a 3 year laboratory and field research programme to investigate the factors affecting nutrient use efficiency in agricultural systems.
  • Management of project data and analysis, and help with day to day supervision of the PhD student.
  • To generate data and information for the development of nutrient management support tools tailored to specific soils, environments and farming systems ad linked to the Teagasc, NMP Online system.
  • Providing advice and communication with industry partners and farmer stakeholders.
  • To interpret research findings and prepare scientific and popular press publications for a variety of audiences, as appropriate.

Additional Duties & Responsibilities:

  • To interpret research findings and prepare scientific and popular press publications.
  • To disseminate research findings to a variety of audiences as appropriate.
  • To assist Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service Charter and Action Plan.
  • To comply with all relevant Teagasc policies and procedures.
  • Fully co-operate with the provisions made for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of themselves, fellow staff and non-Teagasc staff and co-operate with management in enabling Teagasc to comply with legal obligations. This includes full compliance with the responsibilities outlined in the Safety Statement.
  • To actively participate in the Teagasc Post Doctoral Fellowship programme and review processes, and to undertake all Post Doctoral fellowship training and associated duties as agreed in the Training & Development Plan.
  • Such other duties as assigned from time to time.

Skills Required

This section outlines the qualifications, skills, knowledge and/or experience that the successful candidate would be required to demonstrate for successful discharge of the responsibilities of the post.  Applications will be assessed on how well candidates satisfy these criteria.


  • PhD in Agricultural Science, Soil science, Environmental Science or a related discipline.
  • Relevant research experience not to exceed 3 years’ post-PhD.
  • Demonstrated research and technical expertise in soil fertility, crop nutrition, and nutrient cycling in agricultural systems.
  • Evidence of research activity (publications, conference presentations, awards) and future scholarly output (working papers, research proposals etc).
  • Excellent project management, analytical, report writing and data analysis skills.
  • An ability to collaborate with team members and PhD students to help build research knowledge and skill and to guide professional development.
  • Excellent communication skills (oral, written, presentation) with an ability to enable effective knowledge and technology transfer.
  • Ability to generate new ideas, unique concepts, models and solutions.
  • Full drivers license. The role will involve travel to field sites and to meetings with partner research organisations.


  • Knowledge of nutrient dynamics and losses in grassland swards, incl.grass-clover and multispecies swards would be an advantage.
  • Knowledge of agronomic and environmental indicators of nutrient use efficiency and environmental sustainability in agricultural systems.
  • Experience with decision support tools and modelling nutrient flows in agro-ecosystems.
  • Aptitude for multidisciplinary approaches.
  • Experience in setting own research agenda.
  • Evidence of teamwork and collaboration with relevant partners.

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