Scientist I - Sensory Laboratory Management

Scientist I - Sensory Laboratory Management

International Rice Research Institute

Job Purpose

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.

The Sensory Laboratory Manager 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 1) 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, 2) 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 3) 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.

This position will be based in Varanasi, India.

Current IRRI staff are encouraged to apply and will be prioritized.

Roles and Responsibilities


-Develop research strategies in the area of sensory profiling as a mission-critical research component to bridge the gaps in the area of grain quality
-Provide leadership and guidance in implementing research activities in design, 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
-Ensure 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
-Collaborate with the Head of the Grain Quality and Nutrition Centre at IRRI Headquarters and other -IRRI colleagues to develop new projects and forge international partnerships to strengthen research in the area of rice grain quality
-Contribute to develop PhD and Post Doc project proposals that align with the core mission of CERVA and further strengthen the sensory research team


-Establish Sensory Quality Testing facility and develop research strategies on sensory attributes of rice and rice-based products
-Develop safety operating procedures for the sensory lab operations
-Establish well trained sensory panel and develop 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
-Perform any other relevant duties as assigned by supervisor from time to time


-PhD in Cereal Chemistry, Food Science, or related crop science fields with minimum 3 years of -Post-Doctoral Research Experience

Skills Required


-Knowledge in grain quality in general and sensory quality in particular with experience in metabolomics on aroma
-Strong publication record; strong background in grain quality and sensory-oriented research activities
-Excellent interpersonal and communication skills
-Strong knowledge of quantitative methods for and statistical analysis with genetics background
-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
-IRRI offers a highly extensive employee benefits package inclusive of globally-covered medical insurance, retirement plan, life and accident insurance and other allowances. Join our team and be part of our story!

Please note only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.
This position will remain open until filled.


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Scientist I - Sensory Laboratory Management