Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

1 PhD position on ecological analysis of plant virome structure and reciprocal transfers between cultivated and wild host populations for the Marie Skłodowska Curie European Innovative Training Network - INEXTVIR

This job offer has expired

    National Institute of Biology
    Agricultural sciencesAgricultural products
    Biological sciencesBiodiversity
    Communication sciencesScience communication
    Computer scienceInformatics
    Computer scienceModelling tools
    Environmental scienceEcology
    Environmental scienceWater science
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    31/10/2019 17:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Bordeaux
    H2020 / Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions

INEXTVIR - Innovative Network for Next Generation Training and Sequencing of Virome - is funded by the European Commission under the Horizon 2020 programme and offers 15 fully funded PhD positions with an attractive stipend, complementary training activities and generous travel and laboratory and research budgets. The successful candidates will be hosted by a member of a European Consortium of universities, research institutions and companies in Belgium, France, Spain, Slovenia and the UK. Successful candidates will have natural or social-science based research interests and will participate in a transdisciplinary network of research and training aimed at accelerating the start of the applicants’ scientific career.

Plant viruses cause 50% of the emerging plant diseases globally and pose an important threat to many agricultural crops. Losses are estimated at €15 to 45 billion per year through lower yields and reduced product quality. The project seeks to generate a better understanding of viral communities and their role in agricultural ecosystems by using the latest advances in high throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies coupled with modern big data analytical approaches and socioeconomic analysis and communication based on societal requirements and concerns. The project provides a timely opportunity to change our approach to plant health and improve our ability to overcome global agricultural, food security and environmental challenges. The main objectives are:

  • To define the virome present in selected agricultural crops across Europe using cutting-edge High-throughput sequencing (HTS) technologies.
  • To understand the biological impact virus communities, have on the biology and ecology of farming systems.
  • To improve virus detection capabilities in plant health and certification settings thorough the development and validation of HTS methods including the use of novel sequencing technologies (e.g. Nanopore sequencing) and development of bioinformatics approaches based on AI and machine learning.
  • To assess the agronomic and socio-economic impact of the virome and translate it into practical decision tools for different stakeholders including policy makers, plant health bodies, diagnostics industry, agricultural sector and society.

INEXTVIR will offer early stage researchers (ESR) world class technical training in their host institute, through research secondments and short-term scientific visits. ESRs will have a unique opportunity to obtain complementary skills in effective dissemination and communication, quality management, intellectual property management, technology transfer and commercial exploitation of research results, managing research projects, entrepreneurship and company start up, organization of R&D and product development in industry, formulation of effective research bids and development of impact from research, all delivered through a bespoke series of workshops and schools.

We are looking for 1 Early Stage Researcher (ESR), with a background in life sciences and related studies (biology, agronomy, biotechnology, bioinformatics). Successful candidates will have a strong interest in one of the following fields: plant virology, bioinformatics, virus ecology and epidemiology, agriculture, socio-economics, societal communication, policy and regulation.

The position is offered for 3 years for the following Individual Research Project and the hired researcher must enroll in a Doctoral Programme, undertake mobility in order to implement the Individual Research Project, as well as to participate in complementary training activities.

PhD Project Description:

Brief description of individual research project: Using HTS-based approaches the project will (1) characterize the virome of one or two selected weed or wild plant species under a wide range of growth conditions (wild populations, within crops-populations), (2) estimate how this virome is affected by plant cover diversity and by the closeness with particular crops and (3) symmetrically evaluate how the virome of neighbouring crops is affected by that of weeds or wild plants, providing a first evaluation of viral fluxes between the wild and cultivated compartments.

Relevance for the ESR career development: The ESR will acquire a wide range of skills, in particular concerning the development and use of HTS-based virome scanning techniques and the analysis of virus population genetics, epidemiology and ecology. In addition, the ESR will gain a general practical training in molecular and classical plant virology.

Tentative Secondments and short visits: 1) FERA (non-academic): 3 months for developing specific assays for the detection and population genetics characterization of selected newly identified viruses and evaluation of their prevalence in weeds and crops under the UK agro-ecological conditions; 2) UPM (academic): 1-2 months for performing population genetics and ecological network analyses on the accumulated virome data.

Supervisory team:

Dr .Thierry Candresse (thierry.candresse@inra.fr https://www6.bordeaux-aquitaine.inra.fr/bfp/Personnel/A-C/Candresse-Thierry). Senior INRA scientist and team leader for Plant Virology with a long experience in plant virology and in particular in the use of HTS-approaches for plant virus characterization and metagenomics

Dr. Armelle Marais (https://www6.bordeaux-aquitaine.inra.fr/bfp_eng/Staff/K-M/Marais-Armelle)

Educational requirements: Masters or equivalent, preferably in plant virology, plant pathology or ecology.

Other specific requirements: A good mastering of English, team spirit, dynamism, thoroughness and curiosity.


Remuneration is according to MSCA ITN rules. Salary per month depends on the host country correction coefficient following the EC rules (Table 2 of the MSCA Work Programme 2018-2020, http://ec.europa.eu/research/participants/data/ref/h2020/wp/2018-2020/main/h2020-wp1820-msca_en.pdf, page 82). Net salary results from deducting all compulsory (employer / employee) social security contributions as well as direct taxes (e.g. income tax) from the gross amounts.

In addition to the stipend, mobility allowance (600€ per month) will be paid as part of the salary or as other benefits depending on the organization. Family allowance*(500€ per month) will be paid as part of salary where the researcher has a family by the time of recruitment.

PhD tuition fees will be covered by the host organisation.

Eligibility criteria

The Marie Curie funding is available for researchers that move, both within Europe and globally. The following criteria apply:

  • Nationals from any country may apply.
  • Mobility: at the time of the recruitment, the researcher must not have resided or carried out his/her main activity (work, studies, etc.), in the country of the chosen host institution (recruiting beneficiary) for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the date of the recruitment.
  • Research category of Early Stage Researcher (ESR): researchers who, at the time of the recruitment, have not yet been awarded a doctorate degree and are in the first 4 years (full-time equivalent) of their research careers, including the research training period that would entitle them to a doctorate.

Selection process


  • Educational background relevant for the chosen position (individual research project)
  • High proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Networking and communication skills (to be evaluated in the interview).
  • Previous research experience, relevant to the chosen position is desirable.


Pre-selection: will be based on CV, experience, skills, motivation letter, and recommendation letters.

Interviews: Short-listed candidates will be interviewed.

Start of contract: December 2019



Applicants should send full application consisting of:

  • Curriculum Vitae (Europass format recommended; please specify your residence/work place in the last 3 years).
  • University transcripts (grades)
  • A motivation letter addressing his/her research interests in relationship to the individual research project.
  • At least two recommendation letters

To be emailed to the corresponding project supervisor (thierry.candresse@inra.fr) and in copy to Antonia.LorenzoLopez@nib.si indicating ref. “INEXTVIR call for ESRs” in the subject of the email. The deadline to submit the required documentation is 31st October 2019.

Additional comments

All hired researchers are obliged to submit two questionnaires: 1) Evaluation questionnaire, at the end of the fellowship, and 2) Follow-up questionnaire, 2 years after the fellowship (https://ec.europa.eu/eusurvey/runner/Evaluation_for_MSC_fellows).

The hosting institutions will follow gender equal opportunities/policies during the recruitment process.

Further information relevant links:


https://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/resources/document-libraries/information-note-fellows-innovative-training-networks-itn_en (version 2)


The INEXTVIR consortium will process data collected from the applicants for recruitment purposes only, and their rights in relation to the processing of personal will be preserved according to principles of the GDPR EC current regulations. No CVs, neither cover letters, or other data will be shared outside the network or for other purposes than those described in the selection process below, unless upon authorisation from the interested applicant. The data will be kept for a period of five years after the end of the project for the purpose of an audit by the EU.

Offer Requirements

    ENGLISH: Excellent


  • Educational background relevant for the chosen position (individual research project)
  • High proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Networking and communication skills (to be evaluated in the interview).
  • Previous research experience, relevant to the chosen position is desirable.

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Institut National de la Recherche Agronomique (INRA)

EURAXESS offer ID: 452989


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