FG IV Scientist - Exploratory Research Project Spatially explicit PESTIcide health RISK indicators based on satellite mapping of crops and human settlements (PESTIRISK)

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Organisation: Joint Research Centre (JRC)

About the organisation

As the science and knowledge service of the Commission, the mission of DG Joint Research Centre (JRC) is to support EU policies with independent evidence throughout the whole policy cycle. The JRC is located in 5 Member States (Belgium, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain). 

The JRC offers a vacancy for a Contract Agent within the Exploratory Research Project “Spatially explicit PESTIcide health RISK indicators based on satellite mapping of crops and human settlements” (PESTIRISK). The JRC Exploratory Research Programme is a strategic initiative characterised by ideas that might lead to novel results and qualitatively enrich current JRC scientific work.

The current vacancy is in the Directorate for Sustainable Resources of the JRC. The directorate supports the European Commission with independent, technical and scientific evidence in the areas of the environment including biodiversity, environmental quality and sustainable use of natural resources. The operational scientific research will take place in the Food Security Unit.

The Scientific Development Unit is in charge of the overall JRC Exploratory Research Programme.

About the position

A position to carry out scientific tasks in accordance with Exploratory Research Project “Spatially explicit PESTIcide health RISK indicators based on satellite mapping of crops and human settlements” (PESTIRISK).

Pesticide use has continuously increased in the EU from 2008 to 2018. The European Commission’s Farm to Fork Strategy, embedded in the Green Deal priority, targets to reduce the overall use and risk of chemical pesticides by 50% until 2030 across the EU. So far, to assess the overall health risk from pesticide use in the EU, Eurostat uses the Harmonized Risk Indicators 1 and 2 (HRI1, HRI2). However, this indicator is solely based on pesticide national sales reporting and substance hazard weighting. Numerous studies point to widespread pesticide contamination of dwellings and public areas near agricultural lands. As pesticides’ use is crop-specific, spatially explicit crop type maps can be used to model exposure scenarios on people. Benefiting from satellites and machine learning, two key JRC datasets should make this possible: the EU Crop Map and the Global Human Settlement Layer (GHSL). In this project, the 10-m resolution 2018 EU Crop Map will be further expanded to cover the period 2017- 2021. By combining the EU Crop Map with the GHSL spatial population data and the data on pesticide use practices, the project aims to develop an exposure model. The modelling precision can be further improved using the IPCHEM data on pesticide monitoring in humans and the environment, ultimately leading to the development of a unique spatially explicit pesticide exposure risk indicator.

The successful candidate will:

  • Develop a detailed research plan to explore the exposure of public to pesticides due to the proximity to agricultural fields;
  • Participate to the development and implementation of multi-year crop type maps for area of interest of the project;
  • Explore and develop a method to estimate pesticide exposure by combining spatial datasets of agricultural land, population distribution and chemical occurrences;
  • Use available information sources to develop a catalogue of most commonly used pesticides on particular crops;
  • Link with relevant stakeholders to understand different agricultural practices across the EU in order to improve the precision of the exposure model;
  • Develop innovative data-driven approaches to spatially map pesticide exposure at the EU-27 scale resulting in an indicator.