Overview: Grazing ruminant livestock systems play a key role in providing nutritious and healthy food for the society while delivering further ecosystems services (e.g., carbon sequestration). Grazing strategies influences the distribution and cycling of nutrients within the system often leading to improved soil nutrients availability by enhancing soil microbial activity and rhizosphere processes that can support crop and livestock nutrition. Grazing can therefore have large impacts on the health of grazing systems.

However, grazing systems need to be managed to ensure negative environmental impacts (e.g., greenhouse gas emissions) are reduced, contributing to the Net Zero goal. Thus, UK agroecosystems must maximise natural co-benefits for society when delivering sufficient, high-quality produce. The vision for Growing Health (GH) programme, one of the new Rothamsted Research’s Institute Strategic Programmes and which this role will deliver to, is to support the delivery of healthier UK agroecosystems.

GH will develop and expand ‘One Health’ values to better understand trade-offs and co-benefits of improved crop health, soil health, and agroecosystem health and function, at multiple scales. One of the areas of research of this programme is aimed at elucidating how grazing management affects nutrients availability and flows in grazing ruminant livestock systems.

Job specification: Rothamsted Research is seeking a postdoctoral scientist with a PhD in Animal Science, Ruminant Nutrition, Agricultural Science, or closely related field for a four-year position. The successful candidate will work, as part of a team of researchers and technicians, with cattle and sheep herds at Rothamsted Research, North Wyke to measure and compare relevant key performance indicators, such as animal performance and behaviour, enteric methane emissions, animal health and welfare, pasture productivity and quality, and wider environmental impacts on soil, air and water from a variety of grazing strategies.

This role will also imply measuring and modelling of enteric methane emissions from beef cattle and sheep during the winter housing period on the North Wyke Farm Platform and the Orr Small Ruminant Facility, using C-Lock GreenFeed instruments.

Also, the successful candidate will develop the methodology for emission measurements during the grazing period, potentially using the same GreenFeed instruments or by setting up the SF6 gas tracer technique. The candidate will also collate and correlate emission data with diet quality variables and predicted dry matter intake.

Essential skills and instructions for the application: As a member of Rothamsted Research’s Grazing Systems research team that strives to promote economic, social and environmental sustainability of ruminant production systems in the UK and beyond, demonstrated willingness to make their research relevant to real-world agricultural producers is key.

Experience of measuring methane emissions and setting up experiments with ruminant livestock, including animal handling, are essential. A track record of publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals and the ability to clearly communicate in English, verbally and in writing, are also essential skills. The full list of essential and desirable experience/knowledge/skills can be found in the Person Specification and Short-Listing Criteria form. 

The following documents must be uploaded as attachments with the application:

  • A one-page cover letter explaining your motivation for applying for this position and how your research experience qualifies you for the job. Applications without this letter will not be considered.
  • CV, including a full list of publications
  • Names and contact information of three referees

Applicants that do not meet all the essential criteria will not be shortlisted.

  • You should ensure that you provide evidence of your experience in your application form, giving length of experience, examples and dates as required.
  • It is not sufficient to simply list your duties and responsibilities.
  • The panel will not make assumptions from the title of the applicant’s post or the nature of the organisation as to the skills and experience gained.
  • If you do not provide sufficient detail, including the appropriate dates needed to meet the eligibility criteria, the selection panel will reject your application.
  • ONLY the details provided by you in your application form (including CV and cover letter) will be provided to the selection panel for the purpose of determining your eligibility for the post.

Enquiries regarding this vacancy should be addressed to the Grazing Livestock Systems team lead (North Wyke), Dr. Jordana Rivero (jordana.rivero-viera@rothamsted.ac.uk).  The post attracts a salary of £31,350- £32,315 per annum for 37 hours per week. This vacancy will close on 4 June 2023 with interviews to follow. 

About The Company: Established in 1843, Rothamsted Research is one of the UK’s leading Research Institutes delivering world class agricultural science.  Our commitment to learning and development, equality and diversity as well as creating a positive work life balance,  enable a welcoming environment for all prospective employees. 

We have an attractive benefits package including 25 days annual leave, a generous pension scheme and an attractive campus offering cultural and recreational activities. Rothamsted Research values its commitment to equality and diversity in its workforce and we particularly encourage applications from women, disabled and Black, Asian and Minority Ethnic (BAME) candidates, as these groups are currently under-represented within the organisation.


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