UK agriculture faces many conflicting pressures; globally, still more pressures arise. In developed countries consumers demand safe, nutritious food alongside high animal welfare standards. In developing countries, the growing size of the urbanising population creates an increasing demand on the supply of food. Production everywhere needs to go hand in hand with sustainable and resilient management of land to protect the wider environment in the long-term and farmers need reliable incomes if they are to continue to supply and meet the various demands put on them. The UK is likely to undergo significant change in the near future in the way in which land-management is supported. These challenges are not all antagonistic, but delivering all things to all people requires creative solutions, the development of which requires in turn a full understanding of the trade-offs and synergies within a whole-systems analysis of agricultural production.
Overview Of Role
This role is for someone who will work in a multidisciplinary environment and interact with scientists from many different disciplines all researching processes in the farmed landscape. It is suitable for a highly numerate scientist, preferably someone with experience of modern programming and mathematical techniques.
The post-holder will concentrate efforts on analysing, understanding and developing means to improve modern agricultural systems. This is likely to involve investigating the trade-offs between agricultural production and the management of natural capital and delivery of associated services as well as taking account of social issues such as rural employment in relation to emerging pressures, plans and targets. Defra has published its 25-year plan for the environment and is developing an agriculture bill along with a vision for re-shaping land management in the UK once powers are repatriated from the EU. Net Zero GHG emission in agriculture by 2050 is one noteworthy target. Scientifically the time is right to test and evaluate emerging techniques such as modern Bayesian methods, big data manipulation or quantum computing and deploy these in the analysis of agricultural systems.
The post will be embedded in the multidisciplinary environment at Rothamsted and interact with many staff including plant, crop and livestock scientists, agronomists, economists, soil scientists, pest and disease specialist as well as other modellers and mathematicians.
Despite the challenges facing UK research, there are opportunities too and the successful candidate will be expected to help with the development of new forms of International collaboration post-Brexit with the EU as well as with China, other industrialised and developing countries as a means to sustain a research group. For this reason, continuing awareness of global initiatives such as the UN Sustainable Development Goals and the UN Convention on Climate Change will be an important part of the role.
The role holder is expected to carry out the duties listed below and any other duties reasonably required by the line manager or Institute, commensurate with the grade and level of responsibility for this post.
This is a full-time fixed-term contract until 31 March 2022 and offering a salary in the range of £29,842 to £32,315 per annum.
Interviews to be held mid-September 2019.