Soil Researcher – Agricultural Catchments Programme
Teagasc - Agriculture and Food Development Authority
To contribute, as part of the Agricultural Catchments Programme (ACP) team, to the evaluation of the effectiveness of the measures contained in the Nitrates Action Programme under the Nitrates Directive with particular emphasis on:
Producing policy-relevant peer-reviewed scientific papers using existing and new ACP data and disseminating the results to a wide audience.
Improving understanding of the linkages between sources of nutrients and their availability for transport and loss to water.
Analysing the data produced to assess the effectiveness of the measures.
Disseminating the results of the programme to a wide audience.
The vision for the ACP is a national project of excellence based on a stakeholder partnership which will generate knowledge to underpin profitable farm production in a clean environment.
The ACP objectives are:
To establish extended baseline information and comparative data on agriculture in relation to both the Nitrates and Water Framework Directives.
To evaluate the Nitrates Action Programme measures in terms of water quality and farming practices.
To provide a basis for a scientific review of NAP measures with a view to adopting modifications where necessary.
To develop a better understanding of the factors that determines farmers’ understanding and implementation of the NAP.
To provide national focal points for technology transfer and education for all stakeholders in relation to diffuse nutrient loss from agriculture to water
To advise on any specific monitoring requirement deemed necessary for the purposes of the WFD
To achieve these objectives an integrated team of researcher, advisers, technologists and technicians has been assembled to deliver the programme in partnership with the farmers in the catchments. At catchment and national level the programme team works in conjunction with other Teagasc researchers and advisers.
This integrated research and advisory programme is managed by the Programme Manager with the support of a consultant Principal Scientist. Close liaison is maintained with farmers and the farming organisations at local and national level. The first four-year phase of the Programme ran from 2008 to the end of 2011. Phase 2 of the programme runs from the beginning of 2012 to the end of 2015.
The programme provides:
Baseline and monitoring datasets for farm production, nutrient and farm management practices, nutrient transformations and transfers to water and their impact on its quality. These will be used to contribute to the national monitoring requirements of both the Nitrate and Water Framework Directives
A transparent scientific and economic assessment of the effectiveness of the National Action Programme measures. Modifications of the measures to meet the water quality targets established in both Directives will be identified, if required.
An assessment of socio-economic and behavioural impacts of the implementation of the measures.
Planning and technical support for participating farmers to underpin profitable farming systems.
A platform for technology transfer, education and promotion which will use the output from the programme in the formulation of advisory and technology transfer initiatives.
Main Duties and Responsibilities:
Producing high quality, policy relevant papers for publication in peer reviewed scientific journals using existing and new ACP data.
Overseeing the implementation of existing ACP protocols for determining nitrogen and phosphorus availability for transport from a range of farming systems.
Identifying the factors contributing to risk of nutrient loss to water.
Collaborating in the adoption of existing or new models to describe and extrapolate ACP results.
Collaborating effectively with Teagasc colleagues and other relevant national and international research programmes.
Contributing effectively to national and international scientific meetings.
Providing technical support to ACP advisory colleagues in the catchments.
Contributing to productive teamwork within and outside the ACP
Supervising post-graduate students.
Providing data as appropriate for colleagues and post-graduate students.
Participating in dissemination activities including farmer meetings, open days, stakeholder meetings etc.
Contributing to the preparation of interim and final reports on the effectiveness of the NAP measures.
Assisting Teagasc in meeting the commitments of the Quality Customer Service charter and action plan.
Actively participating in the annual business planning and PMDS processes.
Candidates must have an honours Level 8 degree in agricultural science or equivalent and relevant degree.
PhD in agronomy, crop science, soil science, environmental science or other relevant discipline
Design and conduct of field and catchment scale experiments related to soil and agronomic science.
Data collection and analysis relating to soil science and nutrient management.
Strong proficiency in and record of publication of peer-reviewed scientific papers and technical articles.
Good one-to-one and group communication skills
General laboratory skills.
Experience of conducting agronomic trials.
Good knowledge of Irish agriculture, general agronomy, soils and nutrient management practices on Irish farms.
Good knowledge of nutrient dynamics in Irish soils, particularly of nitrogen and phosphorus: crop requirements, nutrient transformations and loss pathways.
Knowledge of the Nitrates and Water Framework Directives and their impacts on farm management and practices on Irish farms.
Ability to work effectively as part of an integrated advisory/research team, including consulting, collaborating and building relationships with key stakeholders.
Ability to communicate effectively with farmers and to enable transfer of knowledge effectively.
Ability to work independently if necessary, and meet self-imposed milestones and deliverables.
Ability to set clear standards and to take a quality customer service approach to work.
Ability to align personal development objectives with programme objectives.
Ability to see ways forward in complex change situations