Job Summary, Duration:

Temporary Externally Funded Non Grant-in-Aid contract post, the indicative duration of which is 46 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 applicant will carry out research that will increase our understanding of how crop genetics control root and rhizosphere microbial phenotypes, and how these interact with the environment to deliver an integrated crop resilience to climate stress. The impact of plant-soil interactions on the capacity of soil microbial communities to carry out important biogeochemical cycling functions, including carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling, will be assessed on cereal, potato, and legume annual crops. This work will be carried out as part of the Roots2Res (Root phenotyping and genetic improvement for rotational crops resilient to environmental change) project, which is funded by the European Union Horizon 2021

Research & Innovation programme, and comprises a multidisciplinary team of plant physiologists, agronomists, geneticists, microbiologists, soil scientist, breeders, and modellers from twenty-two transdisciplinary project partners across thirteen countries. The aim of Root2Res, is to generate new tools to help understand the genetic control of root and rhizosphere functions associated with adaptation to climate change in rotational systems composed of annual crops and elucidate how these traits interact with the rhizosphere microbiome to deliver more sustainable crop cultivars.

Background to Project:

The position will be primarily based in the Teagasc Environment, Soils and Land-use Department in 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, including soil health, soil-plant interactions, biodiversity, nutrient efficiency, water quality, gaseous emissions, agroecology, and land use. Johnstown Castle is well equipped with laboratory, greenhouse and field facilities to support a wide and innovative research programme, as well as 190 hectares of farmland. It has a wide-ranging programme on soil and plant microbiomes in agricultural systems.

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:

  • Assess the composition and functioning of microbial communities within root and rhizosphere of annual crops, in the context of plant and climatic factors.
  • Assess the impact of plant-soil interactions on the capacity of soil microbial communities to carry out important biogeochemical cycling functions, including carbon, nitrogen and phosphorus cycling.
  • Assist in the sampling and management of experimental trials to meet project objectives
  • Engage with partners from collaborating organisations, and coordinate sample transfer, to carry out soil microbial and soil function analyses and interpretation.
  • Contribute to the development, optimization, standardization and validation of techniques for soil microbiological analysis.
  • 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 Soil microbiology or a related discipline.
  • Relevant research experience not to exceed 3 years’ post-PhD
  • Demonstrated research and technical expertise in soil microbiology and/or soil functioning.
  • 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


  • Demonstrated research and technical expertise in microbiome analysis and bioinformatics.
  • Experience in microbial functional analysis associated with C, N and P cycling
  • Expertise in qPCR techniques
  • Experience in setting own research agenda
  • Evidence of teamwork and collaboration with relevant partners
  • Full driving licence.




Closing Date: 15/12/2022

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