Post-Doctoral Animal Microbiome Fellow (Long Term Contract)

Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Grange, Dunsany, Co Meath, C15 PW93
 Salary:  Post Doc (Level 1) with a Salary Scale of €40,331 to €44,572
Research   Post Doc Full Time
Closing Date: 02/08/2023 Closing Time: 12:00


Job Summary

Temporary Externally Funded Non Grant-in-Aid contract post, the indicative duration of which is 36 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:

The successful candidate will be based at the Animal and Bioscience Research Department, Teagasc Grange, Co. Meath. While most of the research programme will be conducted on-site performing genomics-based microbial profiling, the successful applicant will have some involvement in the collection of biological samples and recording of methane emissions and performance data on beef cattle at Teagasc Grange. In addition, some work will be conducted on dairy cattle herds at Teagasc Moorepark, Co. Cork and sheep flocks at Teagasc Athenry, Co. Galway.

Tasks will involve liaising with laboratory staff, conducting genomics-based sample preparation for microbial profiling, metagenomics, host animal data collation, bioinformatics and statistical analysis.

The Post-Doctoral Researcher will work on an Ireland and New Zealand collaborative research project called ‘Methane-Predict', liaising with international collaborators and will have the opportunity to travel to acquire lab-based, bioinformatics and other skills as required. The successful candidate will also be integrally involved in postgraduate student supervision, preparation of progress reports as well as peer reviewed scientific manuscripts. 



The digestion of plant matter consumed by ruminant livestock (cattle, sheep etc) is facilitated by members of a microbial ecosystem residing in the rumen (forestomach). However, one group of rumen microbes, known as methanogens, are responsible for nearly 60% of Irish agricultural related greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions through the production of methane (CH4). As a result, there is an urgent need the volume of enteric CH4 emitted by Irish ruminant livestock sector. The composition of the rumen microbiome has been identified as a reliable proxy for predicting the methanogenic output ruminant livestock. Through a recent collaboration between Irish and New Zealand partners, a rumen microbial profiling (RMC) technique, aimed at facilitating the selection of low methane emitting animals, was recently identified that can predict CH4 emissions in beef cattle with a high level of accuracy (~0.7).

This post-doctoral fellowship is part of an Ireland and New Zealand collaborative research project called ‘Methane-Predict’, funded by the Department of Agriculture, Food and the Marine through the 2022 IE-NZ Joint Research Call. Methane-Predict’ aims to identify and validate low-cost rapid testing of RMC, milk and meat samples to rank individual ruminants for enteric methane emissions across 6 diverse sheep, beef and dairy cattle populations ranging in size from 200 to 500 animals per group. The project will use a holistic multi-omics approach to compare and contrast the composition and functionality of the rumen microbiome of high and low methane emitting cattle (beef and dairy) and sheep across both Ireland and New Zealand.


Background to Teagasc Post-Doctoral Programme

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 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 PD 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:

  • Assist in the management of all aspects of the agreed research programme on these animals.

  • Develop and conduct metagenomics based laboratory procedures and liaise with laboratory staff in collaborating institutions (i.e. Teagasc, MTU, ICBF, Sheep Ireland and international partners' laboratories) to ensure effective collaborative data analysis.

  • Conduct bioinformatics and statistical analysis of genomic data to assess the relationship of the rumen microbiome with ruminant methanogenesis and the fatty acid profile of milk and meat.

  • Assist in the collection biological samples (e.g., rumen contents, milk and meat sample)  over time and from a range of animal models and record performance measurements associated with enteric emissions.

  • Supervision of postgraduate students, technical staff, protocol review, and collaboration with research staff.


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.

  • To take up additional duties as they may arise and be assigned by management.

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 Molecular Biology and/or Animal Science

  • Relevant research experience not to exceed 3 years’ post-PhD

  • Demonstrated research and technical expertise in molecular biology related sciences.

  • 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

  • Candidates must satisfy and continue to satisfy during employment with Teagasc, legal requirements to drive a car unaccompanied on Irish public roads


  • Experience in animal science / gut or rumen microbiology

  • Experience in measuring methane emissions in ruminants

  • Experience in setting own research agenda

  • Evidence of teamwork and collaboration with relevant partners

Note:  Alternative location(s) may be considered solely at the discretion of Teagasc management.

  Already Registered? Log in here
 Join our Careers Portal + submit your application

Please enter a valid email address

This email already has a universal profile registered. Log in instead to access it

This email address is already registered with this talent pool. Please login to access your profile. Forgot your password? Simply click the link to reset