Vacancies

INSPIRATION Marie Skłodowska-Curie Innovative Training Network

Early-Stage Researcher (PhD) Fellowship

INSPIRATION (managing soil and groundwater impacts from agriculture for sustainable intensification) is a multidisciplinary European Training Network composed of 26 partners in 9 European countries, which aims to develop low-technology management practices, monitoring approaches, modelling and decision-making tools, and innovative technology applications in the field of sustainable agriculture by a combination of fundamental and applied science (www.inspirationitn.eu). The research focuses on understanding and predicting the environmental fate of nutrient and organic pollutants from agricultural practices and managing their impact on soil, water and climate systems to ensure sustainable production. It links lab- to catchment-scale studies of biogeochemical processes with field-scale evaluation of novel monitoring and management concepts, using state-of-the-art methods. The network will provide high-quality research training to young scientists, through 15 fully-funded Early-Stage Researcher (PhD level) fellowships. The network includes leading research groups, regulators, advisory bodies, water utilities, consulting firms, commercial R&D and multinationals. The project has an international advisory group and will undertake a comprehensive programme of knowledge transfer and outreach activities with other scientific networks and professional bodies in this field.

Job Description:

This is an industry-based PhD and the project will focus on the mitigation of soil and groundwater impacts of nutrients (NKP) from agriculture using mixed waste media. The main objectives of the PhD will include the following:
1. Identification of locally sourced raw materials/waste media across partner countries used in isolation or in combination that have the capacity to mitigate mixed contaminants and are safe to recycle back on land. 
2. Evaluation of the performance of biochar and other potential media in this application.
3. Development of methodology to measure NKP and other contaminants in the media. Passive sampling and microfluidic technologies will be considered.
4. Development of in-process monitoring to provide information for modelling the lab pilot plant.
5. Field deployment of measuring technology to monitor performance of media in a field application.

Experience and Qualifications:

Candidates must have a good first degree or MSc qualification in a related area. A background in Chemistry would be an advantage but is not essential. Excellent English language skills demonstrated by e.g. IELTS 7.0 or TOEFL 600 (or equivalent) due to entry requirements for PhD qualification is essential.

Candidates will be assessed on the following competencies:

  • Discipline Knowledge and Research Skills – Demonstrates knowledge of a research discipline and the ability to conduct a specific programme of research within that discipline.

  • Understanding the Research Environment- Demonstrates the ability to develop methodologies and to produce quality outputs.

  • Communicating Research – Demonstrates the ability to communicate their research with their peers and the wider research community (for example presenting at internal meetings, external conferences and publishing research in relevant journals).

  • Managing and Leadership Skills – Demonstrates the potential to manage their PhD project.

    Skills:

    Candidates for this position must possess excellent management and communication skills, and should possess the following personal attributes:

  1. Ability to work on your own initiative and to resolve problems as they arise.

  2. Ability to work with a variety of stakeholders, partners and individuals at all levels.

  3. Performance focused and ability to deliver according to agreed targets and deadlines.

  4. Strong analytical, administrative and inter-personal skills.

  5. Ability to carefully prepare project documentation, reports and research outputs with attention to detail.

Host organisation:

T.E. Laboratories Ltd., Tullow, Co. Carlow.

Duration of employment

The period of appointment is up to 36 months, from start date, which is expected to be August 2018 at the latest. This project will be funded by a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowship from start date until April 2020, and the remainder of the project will be funded by T.E. Laboratories, see details of benefits below.  Successful candidates are expected to register for a programme of study that leads to a PhD. The PhD will be registered at the National University of Ireland Galway.

Benefits

All fellows receive a contract of employment as a full-time researcher for the relevant period of their appointment, which includes applicable benefits in the host country. All fellows complete a comprehensive personalised career development programme, with targeted training measures and participate in a range of network events across the partnership, including industrial training experience. Participation in external relevant scientific and technical training events and conferences is also supported. Fellows will benefit from interdisciplinary cooperation and interaction with partner organisations from all sectors of the agri-environmental management community, providing them with the best preparation for a successful career in either academia or industry.

Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships for Early-Stage Researchers provide a fixed allowance of Euros 37,320 per year, which is subject to a country correction. Additional allowances for mobility and family status are also provided, as appropriate, in line with H2020-MSCA-ITN-2015. This will be paid until April 2020. T.E. Laboratories will provide a Research Salary of €28,000 p.a. for the remainder of the 36-month project.

Experience and mobility conditions:

To be eligible, applicants for Early-Stage Researcher fellowships must not have a PhD and must have less than 4 years full-time equivalent research experience from the award of the degree which entitles them to undertake a doctorate. Applicants can be any nationality but at the time of selection must not have resided or carried out their main activity (e.g. work or studies) in Ireland for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately prior to the starting date of the fellowship. Short stays, such as holidays, are not taken into account.

The eligibility requirements for Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellowships are non-negotiable and ineligible applicants will not be considered. Further information and the full terms and conditions regarding eligibility are provided on http://ec.europa.eu/research/mariecurieactions/about-msca/actions/itn/index_en.htm or https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/h2020-section/marie-sklodowska-curie-actions Work Programme 2014-2015.

Application process:

Candidates should provide the following information in one file for their application:

  1. A detailed CV with covering letter which explains your suitability, competence and motivation for scientific research and the fellowship to hr@tellab.ie  

Closing date for applications: 31.05.2018  at 17.00 (GMT)


 

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Teagasc PhD Walsh Fellowship Opportunity

“Optimising the design of in-field drainage systems and their constituent materials”

Ref 2016009

Background

The performance of in-field drainage systems is dictated by the hydraulic capacity of the soil within their catchment, their engineered design and arrangement and their constituent materials. The performance and working life of land drainage systems is largely dependent on the quality and suitability of the materials used in the in-field drains. Generally, these drains consist of a pipe and an envelope material. In-field drains have to satisfy the often conflicting requirements for favourable water flow and the retention of soil particles and their functionality is often reduced due to mechanical and biochemical blockages of the drain pipe or the envelope material. The range of materials available in terms of pipe and pipe envelopes does not easily fit into any standard classification, and many different combinations of both are in use. The pipe acts as a conduit for the flow of water while the envelope fulfils a number of purposes, mainly: as a hydraulic medium, as a filter for soil particles, and as bedding for the pipe. A range of drainage pipe types are available on the market with a range of purported uses and benefits. An even broader range of envelope materials, from locally sourced material to product from a multitude of quarries and merchants, are in use with variations in material type and grade. There is little or no guidance regarding the performance of these materials. While some are effective, many others are at fault for impaired capacity, ineffectiveness and failure of drainage systems. An assessment of the performance of a range of pipe types/sizes in combination with a range of envelope materials would provide guidance on their effectiveness and appropriateness. Furthermore, iron ochre deposits are a widespread cause of blockages in drainage systems. Methods of reducing and removing these would increase the effectiveness of land drainage in iron-rich soils. The study will also have scope for assessing the nutrient attenuation capacity of drain envelope materials, while the performance of alternative envelope materials will also be evaluated to assess their potential to offset the cost associated with conventional materials.

Requirements

Applications are invited from graduates holding a first or 2.1 class honours degree or M.Sc. in Civil Engineering/Engineering/Science disciplines. The successful candidate should be practically minded and self-motivated. A full EU driving licence is essential.

Award

The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark and Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG). The student will be working under the supervision of Drs Pat Tuohy, Owen Fenton (Teagasc) and Dr Mark Healy (NUIG). The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of €22,000. University fees are paid by the student from this stipend, which is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information/Applications

Dr Pat Tuohy, Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland; Phone +353 (0)25 42366; email: patrick.tuohy@teagasc.ie

Dr Mark Healy, Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway;Phone +353 (0)91 495364; email: mark.healy@nuigalway.ie

Application Procedure

Applicants should submit a CV and covering letter detailing their qualifications and experience to Pat Tuohy (patrick.tuohy@teagasc.ie) and Mark Healy (mark.healy@nuigalway.ie)

Closing date: June 1, 2018

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Teagasc PhD Walsh Fellowship Opportunity

“Optimizing dairy farmyard infrastructure for the management and treatment of soiled water”

Ref 2018048

Background

The removal of E.U. milk quota restrictions has heralded an increase in dairy herd sizes. This expansion in dairy production has resulted in the generation of increased volumes of dairy soiled water (DSW). This is an effluent from the milking parlour, collecting yards, roadways and other hard-standing areas, and consists of a dilute mixture of cow faeces, urine, milk, detergents and sediment. Approximately 10,000 litres of DSW is produced per cow per year on Irish dairy farms. DSW is potentially a major source of pollution; therefore measures are required for its management, storage, treatment and disposal. Options for on-farm treatment of DSW to reduce nutrient load and lessen the environmental impact have not been employed to any significant extent. These include solid separation, nutrient attenuating amendments, filtration systems and Integrated constructed wetlands (ICW). There is little guidance regarding the optimal design, construction, operation and maintenance of suitable DSW treatment systems. This project will address gaps in knowledge on the status of DSW, review current practices and attitudes towards its management and control, examine DSW reduction strategies, assess the capacity, effectiveness and economic advantages of DSW treatment systems and outline a strategy to optimize their usefulness. This project aims to bridge the gap between the available treatment technologies and current management practices on Irish dairy farms. While there are numerous methods which could reduce the costs associated with DSW management and disposal while mitigating the associated environmental risks, there is little to no awareness of them and no mechanisms available to implement them at farm scale. The successful candidate will be tasked with establishing strategies for optimal management of DSW and developing streamlined DSW treatment options that can overcome the roadblocks, from cultural/attitudinal, regulatory, practical and economic viewpoints, which prevent the uptake of such systems.

Requirements

Applications are invited from graduates holding a first or upper second-class primary degree or equivalent or M.Sc. in a relevant discipline (Environmental Science, Environmental Engineering, Water resource Management, Agricultural Science, etc.). The successful candidate should be practically minded and self-motivated. A full EU driving licence is required.

Award

The PhD Fellowship is a joint research project between the Teagasc Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark; Civil Engineering, National University of Ireland, Galway (NUIG) and the Institute of Agriculture and Environment, Massey University, New Zealand. The student will be based at Teagasc Moorepark and will be registered at NUIG, working under the  direct supervision of Drs Pat Tuohy, Daire Ó Huallacháin, Owen Fenton (Teagasc) and Drs Mark Healy and Alma Siggins (NUIG). The Fellowship provides an annual stipend of €22,000. University fees are paid by the student from this stipend, which is tenable for 4 years.

Further Information/Applications

Dr Pat Tuohy, Teagasc, Animal & Grassland Research and Innovation Centre, Moorepark, Fermoy, Co. Cork, Ireland; Phone +353 (0)25 42366; email: patrick.tuohy@teagasc.ie

Dr Mark Healy, Civil Engineering, College of Engineering and Informatics, National University of Ireland, Galway, Co. Galway; Phone +353 (0)91 495364; email: mark.healy@nuigalway.ie

 Application procedure

Applicants should submit a CV and covering letter detailing their qualifications and experience to Dr Pat Tuohy (patrick.tuohy@teagasc.ie) and Dr Mark Healy (mark.healy@nuigalway.ie)

Closing Date: Friday June 1, 2018