Research Officer - Greenhouse Gas Emissions from Peat Soils

Updated: 2 months ago
Location: Ireland,
Job Type: FullTime
Deadline: 25 Aug 2022

Duration:

Permanent .  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.

Background:

The Irish agriculture and land-use sector faces significant challenges to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 22% to 30% by 2030 and reach climate neutrality by 2050 as set out in the 2021 Climate Action Plan.  In response to this Teagasc has developed a new Climate Action Strategy. This new post will be central to supporting Teagasc in the delivery of this strategy.

Teagasc is expanding its research and KT programme to rapidly advance the science and implementation of current and new measures to meet the biodiversity and climate challenges that farmers are facing. In addition to recruiting new staff there is a large capital investment to establish the National Agricultural Sustainability Research and Innovation Centre (NASRIC). The large number of new staff recruited will join the current research teams and will utilise the research infrastructures across the entire organisation.

This competition seeks to recruit a permanent Research Officer focused on investigating the effect of land-use, farm management practices and mitigation measures on agricultural peat soils to balance agronomy, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and biodiversity. The successful candidate will collaborate with colleagues in CELUP and AGRIP conducting soil water management research (drainage and rewetting) and the management of carbon towers on the 8 peat soil sites in the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory.   

The successful candidate will join a very well-resourced team of permanent and contract staff carrying out greenhouse gas mitigation research. This position will be based in the new National Agricultural Sustainability Research and Innovation Centre Johnstown Castle, Wexford. Teagasc - Johnstown Castle is Ireland’s leading research institute on soils and environment related research, and conducts both fundamental and applied research on a wide range of subjects, e.g. soil quality, nutrient efficiency, water quality, gaseous emissions, agro-ecology, and land use. The research will be conducted in collaboration with the Heavy Soil Programme in AGRIP and the Forestry programme within CELUP. The successful appointee will be empowered to establish an innovative research strategy, acquiring physical and human resources through internal/external funding to deliver ‘through-to-practise’ solutions that reduce losses to air and water from peat soils. In line with their career development they will be fully supported to develop a national and international network of collaborators through high impact publications and active participation at international conferences.

Basic Function:

To develop, lead and implement an integrated peat soil research programme to combine agronomic production and greenhouse gas mitigation.

  • To conduct research on the effect of management practices on agricultural peat soils to balance agronomy, greenhouse gas emissions, improve water quality and biodiversity.

  • To refine emission factors for peat soils, water table management and investigate mitigation options.

  • To refine emission factors for forestry on peat soils and investigate mitigation options. 


Job Objectives
  • Lead research projects to improve quantification of carbon and nitrogen cycling in agricultural peat soils and drainage waters.

  • Investigate the effect of land-use, farm management and mitigation measures to balance agronomy, greenhouse gas emissions, water quality and biodiversity.

  • Oversee the establishment and management of a network of agricultural peat soil eddy covariance sites being established under the National Agricultural Soil Carbon Observatory across Ireland.

  • Produce high quality papers, relevant for farm practice and policy for publication in peer reviewed scientific journals using existing and newly generated data.

  • Establish strong collaborative links within Teagasc and national/international researchers.

  • Active pursuit of external funding opportunities to further resource the research program with the objective of developing critical mass in the area by building and supervising a dynamic team of post-doctoral researchers(s) and post-graduate student(s). 

  • Work closely with Teagasc Knowledge Transfer Specialists/Advisors to ensure effective dissemination of research findings to advisers and stakeholders.

  • Supervise, in conjunction with university partners, postgraduate students to Masters and PhD level.

  • Assist Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service Charter and Action Plan.

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

  • Fully co-operate with the provisions made for ensuring the health, safety and welfare of oneself, 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.

  • Such other duties as may be assigned from time to time.

* 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.


 
Required Skills

Essential

Desirable

Qualifications

  • Candidates must have an honours Level 8 degree in botany, soil science, engineering, physics or environmental science or related discipline.

  • PhD in a relevant discipline.

Note: While a PhD is an essential requirement for this post, equivalent research experience may be deemed acceptable solely at the discretion of the Director of Teagasc.

  • Use of infra-red gas analysers and eddy covariance equipment and post-processing software.

  • Experience in eddy covariance techniques and/or soil and dissolved organic carbon measurement.

Skills

  • Proven record of scientific communication.

  • Excellent field and laboratory skills, organizational skills, report writing, data analysis and statistical analysis.

  • Excellent one-to-one and group communication skills (farmers, students, colleagues, stakeholders). Good team working skills.

  • Excellent ability to plan, organize, manage and schedule work effectively.

  • Good organizational skills, including people management.

  • Working with large datasets in R or MATLAB.

  • Aptitude for multidisciplinary approaches.

  • Project management and experience of winning competitive research funding.

  • Record of successful research grant writing.

Knowledge

  • Methods and techniques for measuring greenhouse gas emissions from soil.

  • Soil carbon and nitrogen biogeochemistr.

  • Understanding of agricultural systems.

  • Peatland hydrology, ecology and biogeochemical cycling.

  • Familiarity with temperate grassland management and ruminant-dominated agricultural systems.

Behavioural Competencies

  • Willingness to work as part of an integrated advisory/research programme team

  • Ability to work independently if necessary, and meet self-imposed milestones and deliverables.

  • Willingness to collaborate positively within the programme team as well as with outside agencies.

  • Ability to contribute to group discussions/workshops with farmers and other stakeholders.

  • Strives for high quality of work and demonstrates commitment to the programme.

  • Flexible with an openness to change and an ability to adapt to changing priorities.

  • Ability to communicate effectively to enable knowledge and technology transfer.

  • A proactive, solutions-focused approach to work.

  • Commitment to ongoing personal and professional development, with an ability to align personal development objectives with programme activities

Other

  • As this role involves driving vehicles, candidates must satisfy and continue to satisfy during employment with Teagasc, legal requirements to drive unaccompanied on Irish public roads.

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


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