Postdoctoral Fellow in Phenotyping nutritional status of crops using remote sensing technologies – UM6P-Rothamsted-Cranfield Partnership

Job description
UM6P-Rothamsted-Cranfield Partnership
Vacancy for Postdoctoral Fellow
Position Announcement – Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), AgroBioSciences program (AgBS)
Job Title: Postdoctoral Fellow
Area of specialization: Crop physiology / Applied agronomy: Crop nutrient deficiencies; phenotyping for nutrient deficiency from stand-off/remote sensing monitoring methodologies including drones

About the UM6P-Rothamsted-Cranfield Partnership:
An international academic partnership between Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), in Morocco, and two of the UK’s leading agricultural research institutions – Rothamsted Research and Cranfield University – to build doctoral and postdoctoral research capacity for African agriculture.
Up to 20 early-career researchers in the agricultural sector will be supported through the partnership, based both in Morocco and the UK. The partnership comes on the back of growing relations between the UK and Morocco to strengthen collaboration in education, research and innovation fields. It is supported by OCP Group, which is one of the largest exporters of phosphate fertilisers in the world.
The initial phase of the partnership will focus on the delivery of seven agricultural research projects and the creation of a Centre for Doctoral Training, supporting the development of the next generation of African scientists and engineers.

About UM6P:
Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P, is an international higher education institution, established to provide research and innovation at the service of education and development for Morocco and the African continent. It has a state-of-the-art campus at the heart of the Green City of Benguerir, near Marrakesh. UM6P academics and staff enjoy strong research funding, moderate teaching loads, and excellent facilities. Its research approach is transdisciplinary with an emphasis on international collaboration. Many of our research programs run as start-ups. OCP group (, a world leader in fertilizer production, is a major starter client for the University providing capital and research funds. In parallel, a new portfolio of clients is growing with the development of an R&D cluster around the University and a growing number of international partnerships.

About Rothamsted Research:
Rothamsted Research ( is a globally renowned centre of excellence in agricultural research, with a history of 176 years of ground-breaking discoveries that span a wide range of disciplines, including plant science, crop protection, soils and nutrients, crop and livestock systems, applied statistics and modelling. Its scientists publish over 300 papers in international science journals each year.

About Cranfield University:
Cranfield University ( is a research-intensive, business-facing postgraduate-only institution specialising in strategic and applied research in science, technology and management. It was recently awarded the prestigious Queens Anniversary Prize (2017) for soil science.

Employment terms:
The successful candidate will be employed on an internationally competitive salary by the Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P) based at Benguerir, Morocco to work in the UM6P-Rothamsted-Cranfield partnership. The initial appointment as Postdoctoral Fellow will be for two years. At the end of the second year, the appointed candidate will be able to apply for a permanent position as Research Fellow at UM6P, subject to delivering a seminar and satisfactory performance as assessed by an evaluation panel.
Job/Project description:

The position is part of the UM6P-Rothamsted-Cranfield Partnership. The successful candidate will participate in an interdisciplinary research project entitled “Developing innovative remote sensing/automated crop phenotyping methods for African agriculture”.
Nutrient deficiency is a typical abiotic stress encountered in cropping systems across the globe. Fertilizer applications can alleviate the deficiencies, however optimal fertilization rates and modes of application for maximum yield will usually be different from optimal rates for maximal economic return. Within this project sensor and image analysis technologies will be developed to provide workflows that a) identify different nutrient stresses and b) estimate required rates of fertilization to maximise economic return.
The hypothesis of this project is that specific nutrient deficiencies can be recognised and quantified using sensor and image analysis technologies. The success of remedial treatments can be confirmed.
The Postdoctoral Fellow will be in charge of field experiment design and implementation either pot or field grown at Rothamsted and in Morocco. Data acquisition using handheld and drone-based (UAV) sensors as well as satellite imagery will be used, in order to identify and quantify the deficiency and provide information on suitable remedial action.
The Postdoctoral Fellow will be primarily based at UM6P- Benguerir for the duration of the project, but is expected to conduct research at all three partner locations in Morocco and the UK.

Key duties:

The Postdoctoral Fellow will be expected to:
*                      Conduct research as part of the project team
*                      Publish in high impact journals in the field
*                      Supervise graduate and undergraduate students
*                      Contribute to teaching or other training activities (if applicable)

Criteria of the candidate :

*                     PhD in the field of Crop physiology / Applied agronomy.
*                      Strong publication record in leading international journals
*                      Experience in supervising students
*                      Experience in conducting fieldwork
*                      Aptitude for team work, problem solving and collaborative relationships
*                      Excellent verbal and written skills in English
*                      Organizational dexterity and ability to prioritize and manage multiple goals
*                      Positive attitude in changing fast-paced environments
*  Active participation in improvement of self, processes and goals

Applications and selection procedure :

Applications must be sent using a single electronic zipped folder with the mention of the job title in the mails subject. The folder must contain:
• A cover letter indicating the position applied for and the main research interests.
• A detailed CV.
• A brief research statement.
• Contact information of 3 references (Applicants are assumed to have obtained their references’ consent to be contacted for this matter).

About the employer
Mohammed VI Polytechnic University is an institution dedicated to research and innovation in Africa and aims to position itself among world-renowned universities in its fields

The University is engaged in economic and human development and puts research and innovation at the forefront of African development. A mechanism that enables it to consolidate Morocco’s frontline position in these fields, in a unique partnership-based approach and boosting skills training relevant for the future of Africa.

Located in the municipality of Benguerir, in the very heart of the Green City, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University aspires to leave its mark nationally, continentally, and globally.

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