Animal Microbiome Researcher

Animal and Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Teagasc, Grange, Dunsany, Co Meath, C15 PW93
 Salary:  Research Officer with a Salary Scale of €37,808 to €72,999
Research   Funded Full Time
Closing Date: 31/07/2023 Closing Time: 12:00


Job Summary

Temporary externally funded non Grant-in-Aid contract post, the indicative duration of which is 27 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 working with cattle, conducting studies related to animal health, evironment and feed efficiency, collecting biological samples and recording other performance data, some work will be conducted on dairy cattle herds at Teagasc Moorepark, Co. Cork.

Tasks will involve liaising with laboratory staff, recording performance, conducting genomics-based sample preparation such as microbial DNA and RNA for microbial profiling including metagenomics and metatranscriptomics, host animal data collation, bioinformatics and statistical analysis.



The agri-food sector is Ireland’s largest indigenous industry and a key player in the national economy. Sustainability of ruminant production has implications for the environment, the economy and food security. ‘Microbiome’ is a term that describes the genome of all the microorganisms, symbiotic and pathogenic, living in and on all vertebrates. Microbiomes associated with the host play a key role in health, welfare and environmental efficiency in ruminant production systems. This post doctoral fellowship is part of a large international project called ‘HoloRuminant’, funded by the EU Horizon 2020 Framework Programme for Research and Innovation (2014-2020). The goal of the project is to elucidate the developmnet and role of ruminant-associated microbiomes and their interplay with the host in early life and throughout fundamental life events. The project will use a holistic multi-omics approach to characterise the acquisition and evolution of microbiomes from different ruminant body sites and their influence on the host’s resistance to disease and environmental efficiency of production. The project will determine microbiomes’ functions by combining multi-level information for microbes, host and their interaction; define microbiomes’ roles during challenging life periods such as perinatal, weaning, and after exposure to pathogens; and evaluate the effect of ruminant microbiomes on critical phenotypes for sustainable production, health and welfare.



Job Objectives


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

  • Collect biological samples (e.g., nasal, respiratory tract, saliva, blood and rumen contents) from cattle over time and from a range of animal models and record performance measurements such as health and environmental measurements.

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

  • Conduct bioinformatics and statistical analysis of genomic data to assess the development of microbiomes over time and their relationship with performance traits such as animals health, feed efficiency and the enviroment.

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

  • 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.

  • To actively participate in the annual business planning and Performance Management Development System (PMDS) processes.

* This job specification is intended as a guide to the general range of duties and is intended to be neither definitive nor restrictive.  It will be reviewed from time to time with the post holder.

Skills Required






At time of applying candidates must have:

  • A QQI honours Level 8 degree in Science, Animal Science, Molecular biology, Microbiology or a related discipline.
  • A postgraduate degree (PhD) and/or research experience in anmal science, microbiology and the application of molecular biology would be a distinct advantage.


  • Excellent laboratory skills, handling and sampling livestock, organization skills, report writing and data analysis and preparating manuscripts for publication.


  • Proven record of scientific communications.
  • Aptitude for multidisciplinary approaches.



  • Expert knowledge and technical know-how on ruminants and animal microbiomes including respiratory, gastrointestinal such as rumen, and their relationship with health, performance and the environment. 
  • Knowledge and experience of how to analyse animal microbiomes using sequencing approaches and bioinforamtics analysis. 

Behavioural Competencies

  • Ability to work as part of a team, including consulting, collaborating and building relationships with key stakeholders.
  • Strives for high quality of work and demonstrates commitment to the programme.
  • Ability to communicate effectively to enable knowledge and technology transfer.


As this role will involve travel between Teagasc centres around the country, the candidates must have their own car and must also satisfy and continue to satisfy during employment with Teagasc, legal requirements to drive unaccompanied on Irish public roads.

Eligibility This is an open public competition. Should a current serving Teagasc staff member be successful in their application through open public competition for this post, their current contract of employment with Teagasc will come to an end on taking up this post.

 Note:  The ‘essential’ qualifications, knowledge, skills and behavioural competencies outlined above are ‘must-have’ which will be used in the selection process.

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


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