The French National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food, and the Environment (INRAE) is a public research establishment. It is a community of 12,000 people with more than 200 research units and 42 experimental units located throughout France. The institute is among the world leaders in agricultural and food sciences, in plant and animal sciences, and is 11th in the world in ecology and environment.

INRAE’s main goal is to be a key player in the transitions necessary to address major global challenges. In the face of the increase in population, climate change, scarcity of resources and decline in biodiversity, the institute develops solutions for multiperformance agriculture, high quality food and sustainable management of resources and ecosystems.

Work environment, missions and activities: You will be welcomed in the Herbivore Research Unit (UMRH) located close to Clermont-Ferrand (Theix). The UMRH is a joint research unit associating INRAE and VetAgro Sup and contributing to the design of sustainable farming systems for herbivores that seek to reconcile production efficiency, product quality and socio-economic viability with environmental protection and valuation, and animal welfare. The UMRH assesses both on-farm practices and predominant and alternative systems of herbivore farming, and proposes innovative techniques with high environmental value.

To achieve this aim, UMRH analyses and integrates the underlying biological mechanisms, and establishes laws for animal responses with approaches ranging from high-throughput techniques to modelling and decision support tools for various stakeholders (producers, consumers, citizens, and policy-makers). During your postdoc you will be also welcomed in the Animal Genetics and Integrative Biology Research Unit (UMR GABI) located close to Versailles (Jouy-en-Josas). You will work in the Bovine Genetics and Genomics team (G2B) in charge of finding new knowledges and tool contributing through genetics to improve the sustainability of cattle production. During your postdoc you will be supervised by G. Cantalapiedra-Hijar (UMRH) and S. Taussat (UMR GABI).

Ruminant production is of considerable economic and societal value. Ruminants can transform human-inedible feed (e.g. grasses and forages rich in cellulose) into high-quality human-edible food (e.g. meat, milk). However, this conversion has a low biological efficiency, especially in ruminants fed high-forage diets, and is associated with N pollution and greenhouse gas emissions (GHG). Given the growing human population, the scarcity of natural resources and the need to preserve our environment, improving the conversion of human-inedible feed resources into animal products is becoming a major challenge for ruminant productions.

The need to improve animal feed efficiency at the same time as reducing the feed to food competition, the anthropogenic GHG emissions and N pollution has been highlighted by the EU, the Animal Task Force-ATF (European public private partnership), the FAO, the Global Research Alliance on Greenhouse Gases (GRA GHG), and by the recent outcomes from the COP meeting.

Huge improvements have been achieved in the last decades to understand how dietary factors affect feed efficiency in ruminants (INRA, 1978, 2018). However, for a given diet, animal-to-animal variability also exist for feed efficiency (Cantalapiedra-Hijar et al., 2018). This between-animal variability in feed efficiency is a heritable trait (Taussat et al., 2019; Berry et al., 2013) and if correctly measured or predicted could be used to modulate recommended allowances given by current ruminant feeding systems.

In the last years, several research studies have found genomic and metabolic markers of feed efficiency in beef cattle (Taussat et al., 2020; Jorge-Smeding et al., 2021) but their potential to be used as a tool to assist precision nutrition has not yet been explored. In the context of precision nutrition, current feeding systems for ruminant should evolve to include the animal variability in feed efficiency but the associated economic and environmental benefits should be first demonstrated. 

You will be in charge of:

  • Testing and evaluating easy and rapid laboratory methods to analyze previously identified biomarkers of feed efficiency
  • Developing prediction equations of feed efficiency from easy-to-measure biomarkers and using a large Charolais beef population (n = 600)
  • Contributing to calculate heritabilities and genetic correlations between biomarkers and feed efficiency and develop genomic prediction equations including metabolites
  • Defining the experimental design and analyzing the results of a feeding trial in beef cattle conceived to demonstrate the potential of a biomarkers-assisted precision nutrition

2 working places during your postdoc in France (80% at UMRH [Theix] and 20% at UMR GABI [Jouy-en-Josas])

Training and skills


–  Recommended training: PhD in animal nutrition, animal genetics or equivalent

–  Knowledge required: Statistics (mixed models), bioinformatics and R software

–  Appreciated experience: Laboratory analysis, biomarkers exploration, metabolic network analysis

–  Skills sought: teamwork skills, rigour, organisational skills and autonomy

INRAE’s life quality

By joining our teams, you benefit from (depending on the type of contract and its duration):

– up to 30 days of annual leave + 15 days “Reduction of Working Time” (for a full time);
– parenting support: CESU childcare, leisure services;
– skills development systems: training, career advise;
– social support: advice and listening, social assistance and loans;
– holiday and leisure services: holiday vouchers, accommodation at preferential rates;
– sports and cultural activities;
– collective catering.

How to apply

I send my CV and my motivation letter

Offer reference

  • Contract: Temporary position
  • Duration: 18 months
  • Beginning: 01/04/2023
  • Remuneration: From 2664 to 3040€ gross salary according to experience
  • Reference: OT-16836
  • Dealine: 15/02/2023




+33(0) 4 73 62 41 06

TAUSSAT Sébastien

+33(0) 1 34 65 24 87


Centre Clermont-Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes More information on centre

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