30September2022

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Irish Horticultural Produce may be at Risk of Failing European Maximum Levels (MLs) for Cadmium (Cd)

Teagasc are seeking to recruit a contract research officer to work in their Crops Research Centre, Oak Park, Carlow. The appointment will be made on a contract basis. The successful candidate will be responsible for the day to day running of an externally funded multidisciplinary project examining the bioavailability of cadmium in tillage soils, its uptake by agricultural crop species and its subsequent movement through the food chain. The candidate will be responsible for the delivery of a specific research programme investigating the chemical, agronomic, physiological, and genetic aspects of cadmium dynamics in cropping systems, especially potatoes and other vegetable crops. 

Candidates should hold a minimum of a level 8 degree in a relevant discipline with a background in biology and soil chemistry. Candidates would ideally have demonstrable experience of soil chemistry analytical techniques and field studies including good knowledge of experimental design and statistics. Candidates should also demonstrate an ability to work both independently and as part of a team, take responsibility, have good record keeping abilities and exhibit a level of computer literacy appropriate to the role of a modern research scientist.

Background:

Recent mandatory testing has indicated that a proportion of Irish horticultural produce may be at risk of failing European maximum levels (MLs) for cadmium (Cd). This project provides research to mitigate threats to the Irish horticultural production industries from Cd contamination and will build a national expertise in this area

The successful candidate will work at the Teagasc Crops Research Department, Oak Park Co Carlow. The candidate will also work closely with Teagasc researchers at the Soils and Environment Department at Johnstown Castle Co Wexford and the Horticultural Development Unit based at Ashtown, Dublin 15.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Drive the daily operation of the project, interact with and co-ordinate activities of project partners, assist the principal investigator with the overall running of the project and with the completion of progress reports
  • Devise, design and carry out laboratory, glasshouse and field-based experiments to understand the factors governing the uptake of cadmium into crop plants and develop strategies and advice for mitigation that can be disseminated to stakeholders
  • Pursue the publication of results in peer reviewed scientific literature.
  • Contribute to the supervision of a multi-disciplinary PhD student assigned to the project
  • Other related duties that may arise
  • To assist Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service charter and action plan.
  • To actively participate in the annual business planning and Performance Management Development System (PMDS) processes.

Person Specification

Note: The 'Essential' qualifications, skills and knowledge outlined below are 'must-have' which will be used in the short listing process.

Qualifications:

  • Candidates must have an honours Level 8 degree in Plant biology, soil chemistry or a related discipline
  • A postgraduate degree and/or research experience concerning heavy metals (specifically cadmium) contamination of crop species would be a distinct advantage

Skills:

  • Excellent laboratory skills, organizational skills,
  • Excellent report writing and data analysis.
  • Proven record of scientific communications.
  • Aptitude for multidisciplinary approaches.

Knowledge:

  • Soil chemistry
  • Plant biology
  • Crop agronomy
  • Experimental design
  • Statistics
  • Specific knowledge of heavy metal interactions between the soil and plants.
  • An understanding of current food safety legislation regarding heavy metal contamination of crop plants

Behaviour 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.

Eligibility:

  • For operational reasons, current serving permanent staff members of Teagasc cannot normally be considered for funded contract posts advertised through open public competition.

Other:

  • Full Clean Drivers Licence – Essential (EU Drivers Licence)

Source: HortiTrends News Room