Two Internship Positions TSE/INRA April to July 2017 For M1 and/or M2 students
POLIRISK (second year of the project; interns will inherit the work done by previous interns) Growers, public policies, and economic modelling
Plant health constitutes a collective good: plant diseases negatively affect producers, consumers, and the entire chain indirectly or directly linked to plant products. Plant diseases also represent a threat to global food security. Wheat diseases represent the main reducing factor of yields, affecting the global wheat production. In France, a main avenue for disease management involves the use of pesticides, with negative impacts on the environment and human health. Other strategies (host plant resistance, taxation of chemicals, agricultural extensification) exist. It however is important to carefully assess their effects on yield losses, producers’ incomes, and the environment. POLIRISK is an interdisciplinary project which involves the training of students to different modelling approaches to risk assessment, policy evaluation, and selection of strategies. Each student is in charge of the development of one of the project’s modules, through interactions with other students and supervisors. Each internship is designed to feed the development of a real-time project website, to lead to an internship report, and to contribute to scientific publications from POLIRISK. POLIRISK is jointly co-ordinated by two epidemiologists1 from the AGIR research Unit (INRA Centre at Auzeville-Toulouse) and by two economists2 from the Toulouse School of Economics (Université ToulouseCapitole), over a three-year period. This project is funded by the SMaCH (Sustainable Management of Crop Health) meta-programme of INRA. POLIRISK aims at identifying public policies for a sustainable management of wheat diseases through the linkage of bio-physical and economical models: • a decision model to assess the impact of public policies on farmer’s decisions, • a mechanistic epidemiological simulation model of wheat diseases (EPIWHEAT), • an agrophysiological simulation model of yield losses caused by wheat diseases (WHEATPEST), and • an analysis of the impact of public policies through numerical optimisation of simulation outputs from these models. Four internship positions are therefore offered, for a period of four to six month starting early April 2017, at the M2 level (600 euros monthly). These positions will be based at AGIR or TSE and will correspond to the above four points. The four students are expected to work as a team, thus enabling flexibility in task sharing, and expectations. The titles of the four internships are: • Farmers, public policies, and economic modelling; • Epidemiological modelling of wheat diseases; • Agrophysiological modelling, damage mechanisms, and yield losses caused by wheat diseases;
• Simulation and control of economic and biological dynamics.
Objectives and activities of internship: Growers, public policies, and economic modelling
One original aspect of the POLIRISK project is the identification of efficient public policies, which must account for producers’ reaction, since they are the ultimate decision makers in terms of pesticide use or of variety choice, for instance. This position specifically concerns an economist who is motivated to undertake a multidisciplinary work in a team. In a first stage, an introduction workshop involving the entire group will introduce the important themes of the project in the various disciplinary areas: agronomy, plant disease epidemiology, and economy. A first bibliographical background will be provided and discussed. Specific activities associated with this position will include: – a literature review on public policies addressing plant health, and the effects of these policies on growers’ decisions; – the development of a simple, robust, modelling structure of an individual producer’s decision in response to a number of important variables such as prices, public policy, or climate; – Issues related to Intertemporal links, and to multiple agents – a selection of policies that may have relevant consequences. This work will then enable the generation of simulated outcomes, which will be analysed and discussed, and link with the existing literature. This work will be undertaken through team work with three other interns of the POLIRISK project.
Skills / expertise • Knowledge economic modelling; • Motivation for team work • Knowledge of the R language is an advantage • French and English: written, spoken
Practical information Internship based at the Toulouse School of Economics, with frequent sessions at the Toulouse-Auzeville INRA Centre. Level: M2, or M1 with a strong motivation. Internship bursary: about 600 euros per month.
Contacts : Manh-Hung.Nguyen@inra.fr