Tenure Track Junior Professorship "Entomological sciences for sustainable innovations "

    Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD)
    First Stage Researcher (R1)
    15/09/2022 23:00 - Europe/Brussels
    France › Gif-sur-Yvettes


  • Key words: insects, biodiversity, rearing, food, recycling, palatability
  • Planned tenured position as IRD Research Director after a 5-year contract
  • Chair attached to EGCE / IDEEV, Gif-sur-Yvette – Paris-Saclay University
  • Contact: cpj-ird.egce@universite-paris-saclay.fr

Context and stakes for the Global South

Finding ways to promote sustainable development to eradicate hunger, ensure food security, improve nutrition and develop sustainable agriculture are major research objectives at IRD. The fast increase of human population is leading to a growing demand for food resources and in particular in animal proteins. This has a huge impact on biodiversity through the transformation of natural complex ecosystems into more simplified agricultural land, where the use of chemical pesticides accentuates the erosion of biodiversity. This increased consumption is also correlated with an increase in waste produced by farm animals as well as by humans.

Edible insects are considered as one of the solutions to meet the growing demand for animal proteins. Insects are widely consumed in many countries of the intertropical world. Because of their diversity, they offer a large number of possibilities as a source of food for humans, as feed for farm animals and pets, or as a source of different types of molecules for human health. In addition, insects which are able to feed on waste, could help to reduce the pollution induced by agricultural and other human activities.

Insects are considered as traditional food in hot and humid latitudes because their biomass and diversity are greater there. This food which was traditionally collected by hunting/gathering activity followed by self-consumption, now finds itself at the centre of a fast-growing socio-economic sector. Fundamental research must guide the development of this sector so that it remains sustainable. The development of edible insect production and consumption in Africa and Latin America requires technological scaling up in mass rearing, harvesting and processing.

The study of the natural biodiversity of insects is potentially of interest for breeders as well as the acquisition of data on their biology, in particular their recycling capacity, are essential for the development of an insect farming that is both sustainable and capable of responding to food challenges in the South.


Scientific objectives

Given these challenges, particularly in inter-tropical latitudes, insects represent a huge potential that is still underdeveloped as a source of food for livestock and human populations, or of molecules of interest (antibiotics, bioplastics, oils , etc.) or as recycling agents. The objective of the scientific project should be to explore the biodiversity of insects and their life history traits in order to develop and optimize a sustainable insect rearing that meets the needs of local populations and agronomic actors. This project should include a partnership with Africa and/or Latin America.

The proposed project could advantageously fit into some of the main issues and challenges in insect rearing:

  • Identification of species suitable for mass production, zootechnical characterization, domestication and genetic improvement of productivity traits.
  • Study of the sensory mechanisms of the palatability of diets, including finding ways to improve the conversion of by-products from the agronomic industry or waste.
  • Study of the reproductive behavior and optimization of reproduction processes under monitored production conditions.
  • Study of the microbiome, and application to the bioconversion of plastics or polluting materials, development of probiotics.
  • Biosecurity of insect farms, study of pathogens, impact and treatment in sustainable insect production.

The project opens up interdisciplinary research perspectives with food sciences, the chemistry of natural substances or pharmacy. Developments in physics and mathematics of image processing for the setting up of high-throughput phenotyping techniques (quantities consumed, size, etc.) could be considered in order to develop methods to quickly sort and select individuals with interesting traits for breeding.

Finally, the dialogue with civil society on the societal acceptability of the consumption of farmed insects and the valorisation of results towards the socio-economic world is an important element of the project, and will benefit from the strong collaborations already existing between the host laboratory and various partners in the South and/or industry.


Teaching objectives

Within the University of Paris-Saclay, the junior professor will participate 1/ to courses taught at AgroParisTech such as the teaching unit “Plants and Insects as Sources of Innovation for Alternative Food” which is part of the master in Integrative Biology and Physiology and deals with new sources of protein and waste recycling, 2/ to a 3 weeks block teaching “Perspectives of use of insects”, focused on the production methods and uses of insects in animal and human food or for other applications. These courses meet a growing demand from the students and the private sector, in particular the insect production sector which is gaining momentum in France and around the world.

The teaching activities will also include the animation of interdisciplinary field schools based on fundamental ecological and societal approaches which aim to describe ecosystems and their functioning, such as ECOTROP organized since 2011 by EGCE via IDEEV, in Cameroon and Gabon.

The junior professor will also be encouraged to produce a MOOC for the series "Transversal skills in research professions", supported by the IRD as part of the Network of Excellence in Engineering Sciences of the Francophonie (RESCIF), with the aim of strengthening the capacities of countries in the South to develop their research work in an international context.


Funding available

The junior professor will be awarded (1) by an ANR grant of 200 k€ (including a minimum of 120 k€ in payroll - doctoral students, post doc, technicians), (2) by an IRD grant for a doctoral contract, or a post-doctorate for a period of two years, and 30 k€ for a long-term mission (about 6 months), and (3 ) by EGCE as other IRD researchers of the group, and will have access to shared equipment of the UMR in molecular biology, behavioral observation tools and electrophysiology.

More Information

Eligibility criteria

Applications, selection and interviews

Applications must be submitted online at: https://demarches.adullact.org/commencer/ird-chaire-de-professeur-ou-professeure-junior-e by September 15, 2022. Applications will be assessed by a committee comprising IRD members and external experts. Candidates pre-selected by the committee will be invited for videoconference or face-to-face interview. The audition, lasting approximately one hour, will consist of a presentation by the candidate of his/her research and teaching project (the duration of which will be indicated in the invitation) followed by a discussion with the committee.

Offer Requirements


Assessment criteria

  • Excellence of the candidate, motivation, scientific and pedagogical supervision capacity
  • Quality, originality, interdisciplinarity of the research and teaching projects and their Global South component
  • Relevance of the proposed methods with regard to the identified problems
  • Relevance and structuring effect of the project within the laboratory and at the level of partnerships
  • Coherence with the Site policy
  • Adequacy of the means to the proposed project and capacity to mobilise complementary mean

Specific Requirements

Conditions for applicants

Candidates must fulfill one of the following criteria :

  • hold a doctorate as provided in article L.612-7 of the French Education Code;
  • hold a PhD or doctoral level of education;
  • hold a doctorate in engineering;
  • hold a study and research diploma in dental science (DERSO);
  • hold a study and research diploma in human biology (DERBH);
  • hold an overseas university degree considered equivalent to the above-mentioned diplomas; in this case, applicants should submit an equivalence request.
  • show proof of qualifications or scientific works considered equivalent to the above-mentioned diplomas; in this case, applicants should submit an equivalence request.


For the equivalence request - (refer to the file integrated into the platform “démarches-simplifiées).


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EURAXESS offer ID: 800323


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