This project aims to map African soil microbiome and develop predictive toolkits based on soil microbiota and physico-chemical characteristics of soil to assess soil fertility and health. It will determine factors that influence microbial diversity and community structure in continentwide scale. This project will generate important knowledge on African soil microbiome and it will bridge current farming practices with the biotechnology industry, government agencies, and academia, and will fill the gaps between basic research and large-scale agricultural applications. At the same time, it will provide evidence of the economic and environmental benefits of improving predictive tools for assessing soil fertility and develop an index of soil microbiota richness that will improve fertilization recommendation in agroecosystems.

We are seeking highly motivated candidates with metagenomics, bioinformatics and biostatistics background or related fields. As the solution for such complex problem will include several approaches, candidates are expected to work transdisciplinary and any experience on that is highly appreciated. Even though each candidate will have a specific focus within the project, they will be working together all the time in order to achieve the desired results.

The first position will focus on field sampling across Africa, DNA extractions, PCR and amplicon sequencing library preparations for Illumina MiSeq and sequences analyses using DADA2 pipilines.

The second position will focus on metagenome analyses as well as integration of datasets of amplicon sequencing. This position will mainly focuses on bioinformatics and biostatistics.

Applicants should be familiar with Next-Generation sequencing and Bioinformatics approaches. Applicants should also have a clear understanding about the main problems related to soil microbiology and microbial ecology.

Key duties:

Successful candidates are expected to: 

  • Develop experimental design and sampling strategies.
  • Perform DNA extractions, PCR, Amplicon Sequencing on Illumina Platforms.
  • Analyses sequencing data.
  • Writing research articles.
  • Contribute and supervise graduate students.
  • Develop and implement collaborative research with different partners and networks in Africa.

Criteria of the candidates :   

  • PhD in Soil Microbiology, Microbial Ecology, Bioinformatics or related fields.
  • Background in biostatistics or related areas. A good understanding on general soil biology.
  • Experienced in working with data collection, meta-analysis, and great communication skills.
  • Demonstrated ability to plan, conduct and interpret research results through publications in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Proven supervisory skills.
  • Working knowledge of popular bioinformatics pipelines and R packages.
  • Aptitude for teamwork, problem solving and collaborative work.
  • Excellent English proficiency. French understanding is desired but not required.
  • Organizational dexterity and ability to prioritize and manage multiple goals.
  • Positive attitude in changing environments.
  • To be proactive.

About UM6P:

Located at the heart of the future Green City of Benguerir, Mohammed VI Polytechnic University (UM6P), a higher education institution with an international standard, is established to serve Morocco and the African continent. Its vision is honed around research and innovation at the service of education and development. This unique nascent university, with its state-of-the-art campus and infrastructure, has woven a sound academic and research network, and its recruitment process is seeking high quality academics and professionals in order to boost its quality-oriented research environment.

OCP group (http://www.ocpgroup.ma/en/home), a world leader in fertilizer production plays a great role as a starter client for the University. In parallel, a new portfolio of client is growing in an open spirit, in parallel with the development of an R&D cluster around the university.

UM6P is a very ambitious university, enjoying ample research funding, moderate
teaching load, and excellent facilities.

In its research approach, the UM6P promotes transdisciplinary, entrepreneurship spirit and collaboration with external institutions. Either international ones for developing up to date science and at continent level in order to address real challenges.

All our programs run as start-ups and can be self-organized when they reach a critical mass. Thus, academic liberty is promoted as far as funding is developed by research teams.

The research programs are integrated from long-term research to short-term applications in linkage with incubation and start-up ecosystems.

UM6P offers highly competitive salaries at the international level. Our researchers get incentives through a participation to the intellectual property they develop.

We invite you to visit UM6P virtually via the website : http://visite.um6p.ma/models.php

About African Genome Center (AGC):

AGC is a new center on Genomics, Proteomics and Bioinformatics in Africa at the Mohamed VI Polytechnic University, which is tailored to become an African world class center for OMICS research, training and technology transfer.

AGC mission is articulated to:

  • Catalyze the development and excellence of genomics, proteomics and bioinformatics research and promote its integration in Africa
  • Accelerate the discovery of new applications for genomics in strategic areas in Africa
  • Train students in Genomics at the Master’s, Doctoral, and Post-Doctoral levels
  • Facilitate the technological transfer of its scientific research results to the industry and community

Applications and selection procedure :

Application files should contain the following :

  • A cover letter indicating the position applied for, the main research interests, and your motivation to participate in such project.
  • 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).

Applications are to be submitted directly on the hiring platform, or by mail to the HR Business Partner on the following address : mhamed.elboukili@um6p.ma

For further information on research projects please contact Professor Mohamed Hijri, Mohamed.hijri@um6p.ma

Start date:
Location: Mohammed VI Polytechnic University, Marrakech, Morocco