The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s premier research organization dedicated to reducing poverty and hunger through rice science; improving the health and welfare of rice farmers and consumers; and protecting the rice-growing environment for future generations. IRRI is an independent, nonprofit, research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government. The institute, headquartered in Los Baños, the Philippines, has offices in 17 rice-growing countries in Asia and Africa, and over 1,000 staff. Working with in-country partners, IRRI develops advanced rice varieties that yield more grain and better withstand pests and disease as well as flooding, drought, and other harmful effects of climate change.
The Centre of Excellence for Rice Value Addition (CERVA) is a major component of the IRRI South Asian Regional Centre (ISARC) that is being established in India by IRRI, with strong support from the Government of India to enhance research and training capability in the south Asian and African regions enabling production of rice with superior grain qualities. With the mission of addressing the grain quality analytical needs of breeders and other stakeholders in the rice value chain, CERVA aim to establish a world class grain quality research, training and service facility encompassing capabilities to evaluate milling, cooking, nutritional and sensory qualities of rice grain.
This position will be based at the IRRI South Asia Research Centre (ISARC) at Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh and may only be filled by permanent citizens of India.
The Senior Associate Scientist I - Sensory Lab will work with the Head of CERVA to establish a sophisticated Sensory Quality Evaluation facility that enhances the overall grain quality testing capacity of CERVA. The role involves
- developing a research program to establish novel sensory profiling (instrumental and panelist based) tools for selecting lines with superior grain quality/premium lines reflecting consumer preferences in rice breeding programs,
- contributing to the development of new high-throughput phenotyping tools for capturing texture, taste and aroma preferences and utilizing the sensory panel to establish a comprehensive phenotypic data of sensory attributes from core collection and
- developing research strategies on rice grain value addition through product development and quality evaluation.
The novel methodologies developed will likely aid in gene discovery for sensory attributes to provide supporting high-throughput methods for breeding high quality rice. This research program will also focus on overcoming the limitations of sensory profiling and offering novel holistic tools to support breeding in selecting superior lines. The sensory specialist will collaborate closely with teams of breeders, genomics experts and market researchers working on rice quality.
Roles and Responsibilities
- Develop research strategies in the area of sensory profiling of rice and rice based products as a mission-critical research component to bridge the gaps in the area of grain quality
- Implement research activities in designing, data collection and management and sensory analysis to define high quality specialty rice while employing various tools including discrimination testing and descriptive profiling
- Increase throughput and reproducibility of sensory data from a core collection of Indica rice and various breeding material to define the genetic basis of sensory attributes and validate diagnostic markers related to texture, rheology, taste and aroma preferences
- Explore geographical distinction of consumer preferences on rice and rice-based products, and develop informed research strategies to ensure success of breeding programs to develop region specific premium quality rice varieties
- Develop sensory training programs to cater a range of audience taking into account regional sensory and product preferences
- Monitor and recommend best and robust practices in the sensory quality lab that enables generating high quality reliable data that complement and support further research programs
- Provide feedback on Institute’s initiatives related to consumer preferences and market demand
- Maintain close interactions with research programs on other grain quality components such as milling, cooking and nutritional qualities and explore inter-relationships between these components including relating sensory attributes of panel data with volatile compound data generated using GC-MS profiling to classify aromatic rice
- Work closely with the Grain Quality and Nutrition Centre at IRRI Headquarters and IRRI colleagues to develop new projects and forge partnerships to strengthen research in the area of rice grain quality while keeping the Head of CERVA informed.
- Contribute to develop student project proposals that align with the core mission of CERVA and further strengthen the sensory research team
- Support in establishing and monitoring Sensory Quality Testing facility and develop research strategies on sensory attributes of rice and rice-based products
- Lead on developing safety operating procedures for the sensory lab operations
- Develop a well-trained sensory panel and clear instrumental based sensory tools to overcome limitations of sensory evaluation
- Maintain accurate logs of all sensory evaluations and establish a database on sensory data to help generate comprehensive quality profiling of rice lines and varieties
Qualifications: PhD in Cereal Chemistry, Food Science or related crop science fields with minimum 7 years of relevant work experience.
- Knowledge in rice grain quality in general and sensory quality in particular with experience in genomics and metabolomics on aroma.
- Strong publication record; strong background in grain quality and sensory-oriented research activities
- Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
- Strong knowledge on statistical analyses of biological data
- Excellent knowledge of handling high-throughput data and data dimension reduction techniques to identify quality classes
- Excellent written and oral communication skills
- Strong record of academic-oriented professional achievement
- Ability to work effectively in a team of multidisciplinary scientists
- Ability to lead, interact and build relationships with collaborators and other stakeholders
- Experience in conducting surveys for ground trothing in developing countries for finding quality preferences in regions
- Ability to work in a multicultural environment
- Ability to coordinate Risk Management Quality Assurance in the laboratory
- House-Rent Allowance: IRRI provides a house rent allowance of 40% of base pay per month.
- Transport Allowance: A monthly transport allowance is provided to NRS as below: NRS L7: INR 5,000
- Dearness Allowance: One Hundred and Thirteen percent (113%) of employee’s base pay.
- Leave Travel Allowance (LTA): One-month base pay per annum, on availing minimum 2 days of vacation leave
- Education Allowance: INR 1000/- per child per month (limited 2 children)