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The Human Resources Strategy for Researchers (HRS4R)

Irstea, has been engaged for continuous improvement of the work conditions and the career development of researchers and others employees in the institute.

By joining Irstea, you will work for an institute concerned by your quality life at work and the evolution of your career path.

For this matter, Irstea has been working to develop its HR practices by designing an action plan regarding the recommendation of European Commission, and by including the principles from the European Charter for Researchers and the Code of Conduct for the Recruitment of Researchers.

Our commitments:

  • An HR strategy for researchers included in our HR policy for all staff members.
  • Supporting the staff members through their career path.
  • A special attention for a better balance between professional and personal life.
  • A strong participation to reinforce the European Research policy.
  • A stronger transparency on the process of recruitment and the career path at Irstea.

For more information about this strategy

External competitive examinations : Submit your registration forms !


Join 1,200 staff members who act daily to advance environmental research.

Irstea employs French and international researchers and engineers that are either just starting out or already experienced in the fields of water, land use and environment technologies.

Irstea currently has 1,200 employees, 80% of whom are scientists, recruited through competitive examination or internal promotion as well as doctoral students, post-doctoral researchers, trainees, fixed-term contract staff, visiting foreign scientists, "disability" contract staff, etc.

Our research units are spread across 9 sites in France: Aix-en-Provence, Antony, Bordeaux, Clermont-Ferrand, Grenoble, Lyon, Montpellier, Nogent-sur-Vernisson, Rennes

Access employment, traineeship, PhD and post-doctoral offers

Irstea’s permanent employees are civil servants recruited through competitive examination or through relocation programmes as well as civil servants by the Ministry of Agriculture.

Irstea also offers traineeships and doctoral and post-doctoral contracts.

Competitive examinations

Irstea holds two competitive examination cycles per year to recruit researchers, engineers, technicians and administrative staff. Opening dates, job descriptions, application details as well as application guides are available in the external examinations section or from the Human Resources Department.

Disability recruitment

All posts open to relocation programme candidates are also open to staff with disabilities. Please look at the opportunities listed in our disability recruitment section.

Relocation programme

If you are already a civil servant and looking to move upwards and join Irstea, all our jobs are initially available internally within the civil service through two annual campaigns preceding the external examination cycles. You will find all the necessary information in the research staff relocation programme sections.

Some jobs are open internally to staff from the ministry of agriculture; information on this can be found in the MAAPRAT (Ministry for Agriculture, Food, Fisheries, Rural Areas and Land Management) staff relocation programme.

Fixed-term contracts

While the aim of Irstea employees is to be recruited to a permanent position, some positions (at all levels) are offered on a fixed-term contract basis throughout the year. Job descriptions can be found in the Fixed-term contract recruitment section.


With 102 employees trained to supervise research, offers PhD subjects based on the institution’s areas of research.
The PhD subjects offered by Irstea are either funded by the institute’s campaign, or wholly or in part by other sources (CIFRE (Industrial conventions for training through research), regional funding, industrial partners, research ministry, etc.)
Over twenty doctoral contracts are launched each year for priority research subjects. The list of PhD subjects with the terms for submission is published online in the first quarter, both in France and internationally. Candidates are selected in June and will be given an Irstea doctoral contract (a three-year fixed term contract, with the possibility of a one-year maximum extension).

Post-doctoral researchers

Post-doctoral researchers can contact our research units directly throughout the year to jointly build a post-doctoral project within the organisation's fields of research.
All our research topics regard: life sciences (biology, hydrobiology, geochemistry, microbiology, etc.), information and communication technologies and science (signal processing, environmental systems modelling), earth sciences and engineering sciences (mechanical, metrology, etc.), human and social sciences. More information is available in the post-doctoral section.
PhD contracts are open to young researchers who have not already defended a PhD at Irstea, with no nationality requirements.


Every year, Irstea welcomes 200 to 300 trainees having completed 5 years of post-secondary education. Internships last several months. Our scientists teach in higher education establishments. Students should not hesitate to contact them about internship plans. Alternatively, applications can be sent directly to the research units of interest (the list of Units can be found on the Irstea home page). Some internship offers are listed in the internship section.