Deadline of application

June 25, 2020 (Documents must be received by 17:00.)

The Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS) is now accepting applications for fixed-term employment of young researchers.

In order to facilitate further advancement in research activities that meet global challenges, JIRCAS is offering fixed-term employment aimed at nurturing excellent and highly motivated young researchers in pursuing research in the field of agriculture, forestry and fisheries.

The employment contract is subject to renewal after an evaluation of the performance and achievements of the researcher to be carried out 11 months before the end of the term. A fixed-term researcher who successfully passes the evaluation will be employed continuously as a regular researcher.

A fixed-term researcher may take maternity leave, childcare leave, or nursing leave during the term, and may apply for extension of the term to cover the period for leave of absence.

Available positions and job description

Recruitment no.

Research Division, Position, No. of positions

Employment  period

Research description・ Research outputs ・ Key words

1 (phenotyping)

Tropical Agriculture Research Front / Biological Resources and Post-harvest Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 October 2020)

Overview of research activities

Plant phenotyping is important in breeding and cultivation. Recent advances in genomics and information technologies facilitate the development of novel phenotyping platforms for more efficient and accurate evaluation of physiological, morphological and ecological interactions in plant growth. In addition, the development of continuous and non-destructive phenotyping technologies enables us to conduct effective crop management and yield prediction in model crops. So far, JIRCAS has introduced germplasms of rice, sugarcane, tropical fruits etc. and has developed breeding materials in collaboration with counterpart research organizations in developing countries. To utilize these germplasms, morphological and physiological characterization of these germplasm must be carried out using new phenotyping methodologies to identify and clarify the genetic diversity and factors of agronomic traits by new methodologies in phenotyping. The results will be linked to the development of new breeding materials, crop management and/or fed back to plant control. Furthermore, it is also necessary to disseminate the information for application in the breeding programs and efficient crop management of developing countries.

In order to maximize the utilization of our germplasm collection and to facilitate the breeding of new crops in developing countries, we are looking for a researcher who can pursue research in developing (1) novel efficient phenotyping methods using machine learning, and (2) applications of simplified methods of plant diagnosis using smartphones for implementation in developing countries. The candidate researcher will be based at the Tropical Agriculture Research Front (Ishigaki) and is expected to engage actively in the promotion of domestic and international collaborative research from a global perspective in the future.

Research topics

  • Development of continuous and non-destructive phenotyping methodologies for tomato, strawberry and other crops in environmentally controlled greenhouse.
  • Development of non-destructive and efficient phenotyping methodologies in the field for agronomic traits of rice or sugarcane germplasm
  • Development of measurement methods of floral traits of tropical fruit germplasm by 3D-structural analysis

Keywords

Rice, sugarcane, tropical fruit, machine learning, digital photographic analysis, germplasm, breeding, phenotyping, continuous and non-destructive phenotyping, database

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication.
  • Communication skills in Japanese language for non-Japanese applicants.
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators.
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required.

2 (Technology evaluation)

Social Sciences Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 October 2020)

Overview of research activities

In developing countries, farmers import agricultural chemicals, machinery and equipment needed for production, and export their agricultural products to other countries. This agricultural production environment allows farmers to concentrate on specific commodities leading to market expansion and increase in trading volume. However, it could also easily expose the farmers to various risks such as a decrease in production brought about by climate change or a sharp decline in demand due to epidemic outbreaks. Overcoming such an unstable environment for agricultural production requires a system that promptly provides market information, crops that can grow even under high temperature or dry conditions, and a stable water supply policy for irrigation.

To date, JIRCAS has developed stress tolerant rice varieties for adaptation to climate change, rust-resistant soybean varieties, and technologies to counteract the erosion of agricultural lands. In order to demonstrate the usefulness of these research outputs within and outside the target area, it is necessary to objectively grasp the impact based on actual data collected from survey of local farmers, and to clearly indicate increase in yield,  increase in income and decrease in price fluctuations as numerical values. Furthermore, it is also necessary to consider the acceptability within the community when adopting the technology.

Therefore, we are implementing the following procedure in order to evaluate the impact of new technologies from the perspective of local farmers. (1) Conduct a baseline survey of farmers in villages where a new technology is introduced. (2) Farmers in the village are divided into two groups and the technology is introduced in one group. (3) Evaluation of the impact of the new technology by mathematical programming or logistic regression analysis. We are looking for young researchers to pursue research on evaluation of agricultural technologies developed by JIRCAS. The potential researcher is expected to use a wide range of quantitative analysis tools and methods in tackling this research and must be able to coordinate the research and collaborate with domestic and overseas partners.

Research topics

  • Evaluation of the impact of soil conservation technology in Africa
  • Evaluation of the impact of disease resistant varieties in South America

Keywords

Technology evaluation, mathematical programming, regression analysis, rural survey, social acceptance

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication.
  • Communication skills in Japanese language for non-Japanese applicants.
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators.
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required.

3 (Water resource utilization)

Rural Development Division or Crop, Livestock and Environment Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 October 2020)

Overview of research activities

Securing basic access to water is crucial in agricultural production. Food security has been compromised due to the frequent floods and droughts caused by recent climate change and progressing degradation of agricultural lands. In order to address this global problem, it is important to promote sustainable land management and to develop technologies for preventing land degradation such as desertification.

In developing countries and regions, farming and water management are carried out in accordance to the natural conditions and climate of the region. However, extreme events such as floods and droughts are expected to intensify with climate change that would require changes in farming practices and water utilization. It is therefore necessary to grasp the hydrology and water environment conditions based on local measurements and to evaluate the current farming system in order to make future predictions using models, and to suggest countermeasures to the local government and farmers.

We are recruiting researcher(s) who can pursue a comprehensive assessment and evaluation of  the current state of water resources and the farming/irrigation system based on measurements using ICT in collaboration with local organizations in target areas. The potential researcher will be involved in research to predict the future changes in water resources using hydrological models that consider the effects of climate change, and the development of  measures such as water resource plans and farming system that respond to changes in hydrology and water environment.

In order to carry out these basic and fundamental researches and apply the results to the sites in the developing regions, the researcher will be required to coordinate the research onsite and to collaborate with researchers in Japan and overseas. The potential researcher is also expected to challenge new research targets while pursuing research in hydrology and water resource utilization.

Research topics

  • Assessment of the current state of water resources in monsoon Asia regions and evaluation of water use efficiency in irrigation and farming system
  • Prediction of future changes in water resources / irrigation conditions due to climate change using hydrological models and evaluation of the impact on farming
  • Examination of water management measures in response to climate change

Keywords

Hydrology, ICT, water environment, water management, water use planning

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication.
  • Communication skills in Japanese language for non-Japanese applicants.
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators.
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required.

4 (Tropical Soil Management)

Tropical Agriculture Research Front or Crop, Livestock and Environment Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 October 2020)

Overview of research activities

Soil carbon sequestration is a promising tool to mitigate the climate change caused by increasing levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Soil organic carbon concentration in the tropical region is generally lower than the temperate zone despite the huge amount of organic matter due to accelerated rate of decomposition induced by higher soil temperature. Technology development to enhance the soil carbon sequestration in the tropics is therefore necessary to mitigate the climate change. Soil carbon sequestration will also contribute in stabilizing the crop production through improvements of soil properties.

We have been conducting field experiment on soil management in Thailand for more than 40 years and produced valuable information on the long-term effects of application of organic matter in the soil. Our data and other existing data show that the use of crop residues or composts does not necessarily increase soil carbon sequestration in the tropics. This indicates that we need to develop techniques to improve the soil carbon sequestration for longer term in the tropical agricultural lands.

We are currently developing technologies that can be used to enhance soil carbon sequestration and fertility of agricultural soils in tropical regions including the utilization of biochar as alternatives to conventional organic matter or volcanic ash as a stabilizer of organic matter in soil. We also pursue research to improve the efficiency of these technologies at reduced cost and conduct ex-ante analysis of long-term effects of the new technologies using simulation models. In addition to carbon, we will also analyze other nutrients such as nitrogen as well as the physical properties of the soil etc. to develop technologies that can be used to improve soil fertility in tropical agricultural lands.

In order to conduct these studies, we are looking for a candidate researcher with sufficient skills and background to engage in the above-mentioned researches. The potential researcher is also expected to conduct collaborative research with domestic and overseas partners, and must be able to challenge new research areas regardless of experience in soil science research.

Research topics

  • Development of technologies to stabilize organic carbon in tropical agricultural lands
  • Development of low cost technologies for conversion of agricultural wastes into biochar
  • Evaluation of the long-term effects of new soil management methods using simulation models

Keywords

Soil carbon sequestration, biochar, soil fertility management, soil analysis, tropical agricultural soil

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication.
  • Communication skills in Japanese language for non-Japanese applicants.
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators.
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required.

5 (Crop development)

Biological Resources and Post-harvest Division, 1 person

5 years (from 1 October 2020)

Overview of research activities

Eradicating poverty in inland developing regions is difficult because the lands are isolated from the sea and geographically disadvantageous for transport. Although those regions are highly dependent on agricultural production, crop improvement is difficult because (1) crops specifically cultivated in those areas have genomes more complex than major crops, and (2) those regions are often affected by adverse environmental conditions such as drought and high salinity due to climate change. On the other hand, genetic resources that can adapt to the unique environments of the regions are also abundant. Therefore, the conservation of those valuable genetic resources has become an urgent issue and is expected to contribute to world food and nutrition security.

Through the international joint research, JIRCAS has been developing molecular breeding technologies and breeding materials in order to establish stable and sustainable production of agricultural crops in developing regions with adverse environments. It is necessary to elucidate the mechanism of environmental adaptation of crops adapted to various environments peculiar to inland regions while facilitating the conservation of major crops such as soybeans and rice, as well as genetic resources in those areas. Such basic knowledge will be indispensable in the development breeding materials that can grow under adverse environmental conditions and with enhanced nutritional value, and eventually contribute in attaining food and nutrition security in target areas.

Therefore, as part of the JIRCAS research project on the development of crops with tolerance to adverse environments and crops with high nutritional value, we are looking for young researchers to undertake basic research in understanding the molecular mechanisms of orphan (underutilized) crops that adapt to adverse environments in inland developing regions by using approaches in bioinformatics, next-generation sequencing, HPLC/ICP, phenotyping, and genetic analysis. The candidate researcher is also expected to engage in research of various crops and to collaborate with Japanese and overseas researchers on cross-disciplinary research including crop science and social science.

Research topics

  • Exploring genes and molecular materials for adverse environmental tolerance and high nutritional value of orphan crops that are adapted to adverse environments in inland developing regions (such as Nepal, Bolivia etc.).
  • Elucidation of the molecular mechanism for resistance to adverse environments and high nutrition in orphan crops adapted to adverse environments in inland developing regions.
  • Development of breeding materials for widespread cultivation in areas beyond the inland developing regions.

Key words

Bioinformatics, orphan crops, plant molecular biology, adverse environmental tolerance, high nutritional value, genetic resources

Other qualifications

  • English language ability for scientific discussion and publication.
  • Communication skills in Japanese language for non-Japanese applicants.
  • Must be comfortable working in an international setting with overseas collaborators.
  • Experience in overseas research activities desirable but not required.
Qualification
  1. The applicant must possess a doctoral degree or expected to receive the degree by September 2020.
  2. The applicant must possess sufficient academic background, experience and skills to pursue research in the intended post.
  3. The applicant must have sufficient Japanese language ability that would not interfere with daily work.  

JIRCAS promotes gender equality in accordance with the Basic Act for Gender Equal Society, and strongly encourages qualified female researchers as well as non-Japanese researchers to apply.

Salary and benefits

1. Salary

The monthly salary (basic salary) is JPY331,000 - 394,000 commensurate with qualifications and experience in accordance with the JIRCAS Staff Salary Regulations.

Bonuses equivalent to 1.7 months’ basic salary (less for first bonus after recruitment) are paid twice a year in June and December. Allowances include commuting allowance, overtime work allowance, regional allowance (if assigned in Tsukuba), and special area work allowance (if assigned in Ishigaki). However, allowances for dependents and housing are not provided.

2. Day-off and leave

  • Saturdays, Sundays
  • Public holidays, yearend and new year holidays (Dec 29 – Jan 3)
  • Annual paid leave: 5 days on recruitment (Oct 1, 2020)
  • Others : sick leave, summer leave (3 days), nursing care leave (5 days), special leave (marriage, maternity, mourning)

3. Working hours

  • Standard working time (8:30 am - 5:15 pm)
  • Flextime system, discretionary working time system (need to apply)

4. Welfare benefits

  • Health insurance and pension by MAFF mutual aid association
  • Employment insurance, Workers’ accident compensation insurance
Documents to submit
  1. Curriculum vitae (Form 1) File25.87 KB

          ※ Use the prescribed form.
          ※ Please make sure to indicate an email address for correspondence.

  1. Research achievements (Form 2) Microsoft Office document icon40.5 KB

          ※ Use the prescribed form.

  1. Research plan and future career goals (one-page A4, free format)
  2. Copy of peer-reviewd publications with applicant as lead author (one copy each)
  3. Summary of previous research activities (one-page A4, free format)
  4. Recommendation letter (From current supervisor excluding JIRCAS staff. Submission is optional.)
Send documents to

Dr. Masayoshi Saito

Director, Research Planning and Partnership Division
Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS)
1-1 Ohwashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8686

Deadline of application

June 25, 2020 (Documents must be received by 17:00.)

※ Submission by mail attachment or electronic file will not be accepted.
※ Please note that incomplete documents, flawed documents, or wrong information will be excluded in the evaluation of the applicant.

Selection process
  1. Screening of applicants based on submitted documents (early July 2020)
  2. Interview for selected applicants (early August 2020)

※Place: JIRCAS Headquarters (1-1 Ohwashi, Tsukuba, Ibaraki)

Start of employment

October 1, 2020 (tentative)

For inquiries, please contact

Dr. Masayoshi Saito (masaito@ affrc.go.jp)
Dr. Tomohide Sugino (tosugino@ affrc.go.jp)

Other matters
  1. All expenses incurred in attending an interview will be borne by the applicant.
  2. All submitted documents will not be sent back to the applicant regardless of the result of the application.
  3. All correspondence will be done by email only.
Handling personal data

All submitted documents will be used only for the purpose of screening the applications, and not for any other purpose.

Form 1 Curriculum vitae
Form 2 Research Achievements