Contract Postdoctoral Fellow, Systems Agronomist
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Postdoctoral Fellow, Systems Agronomist (Ref: DDG-R4D/PDF/SA/01/18)
Background: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for the
internationally recruited position of Postdoctoral Fellow, System Agronomist.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that generates
agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and
natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve
livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource
integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future.
Please visit http://www.iita.org/ for more information on IITA.
CocoaSoils aims to build the knowledge base for sustainable intensification of cocoa production through
a large public-private partnership that spans all cocoa growing regions of the tropics. Enhancing cocoa
productivity and nutrient use efficiency requires a deeper understanding of the nutrient requirements of
the cocoa tree and the roles and physiological responses to different nutrients. Integrated Soil Fertility
Management (ISFM) recommendations will be developed based on medium- and long-term data from
carefully planned and consistently managed nutrient response trials following agreed protocols and
resource commitments. Specific ISFM and other productivity-enhancing recommendations will be
delivered towards the sustainable intensification of cocoa production. CocoaSoils will be implemented
through public-private partnerships with leading partners IITA and WUR in collaboration with CIAT,
ICRAF, UNEP-WCMC, NARS (including CNRA, CRIG, CRIN, IRAD, and Universities), cocoa
authorities, fertilizer industry partners, cocoa industry partners and IDH. A global network of long-term
cocoa fertilizer trials across different environments and systems will be established by companies
participating in the CocoaSoils consortium. The main objective of these trials is to collectively design and
adopt fertilizer recommendations for cocoa growers, guidelines for recycling of cocoa husks, as well as
guidelines to manage the risk of spreading diseases; and to develop a database on the efficacy and
availability of organic resources.
The postdoctoral fellow will undertake the following activities:
• Design a decision support framework based on a stepwise approach that has been developed by IITA
and partners to support the implementation of recommendations derived from the CocoaSoils
experimental trials in smallholder cocoa plantations in Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Ghana and Nigeria.
• Lead work on integrating new knowledge into existing extension materials of the different countries
and develop tools and processes that enable continuous updating of the existing extension package.
• Conduct a study on farmers’ perspectives and practices in relation to climatic change and investigate
the social challenges and opportunities about adoption of climate smart cocoa practices for cocoa
• Conduct a range of household surveys and semi-structured interviews as well as an institutional
mapping focusing on how formal institutions (at local/regional/national/transnational levels)
influence the use or the adoption of climate smart practices as a risk management strategy for cocoa
• Undertake studies on understanding the diversity of cocoa-based livelihoods in the four countries
and the specific role of cocoa in their livelihoods, employing both quantitative and qualitative
• Develop models that can prioritize sustainable intensification practices based on site specific
• Carry out cost benefit analysis for prioritized practices and integrate results with relevant agronomic
• Develop protocols that combine giving recommendations based on consolidated extension materials
with collected data relevant for monitoring.
• Lead participatory and inclusive decision support tool design, validation and testing with research
and development partners.
• Collaborate with scientists and mobile app developers to improve data collection based on principles
of Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing.
• Design, develop and maintain information systems to implement procedures to avail data using
mobile app- and web-based tools to end-users.
• Conduct statistical analyses of experimental and survey-based agronomic, socio-economic data.
• Align this work with adoption work across IITA and Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security
(CCAFS) R4D project portfolio in West, Central and East Africa.
• Supervise activities of PhD and MSC students who are involved in the project in areas such as
research design and data analysis.
The candidate should have a finalised PhD in Geography, Economics, Development Studies, Sociology,
Anthropology, Communications, systems analysis or related fields in agriculture.
• Applied knowledge, and experience in food and agricultural sciences.
• Expert knowledge in data analysis and experimental design.
• Experience and knowledge in Mobile app development.
• Big data collection based on principles of Crowdsourcing and Citizen Science (ODK).
• Proven analytical, quantitative and qualitative research skills.
• Affinity with modeling and knowledge/field experience in cocoa are an advantage.
• Ability to work independently and in a team; pro-active attitude; good communication skills; ability
to deal with high a work load; and capacity to work under challenging (field) conditions.
• Proven track record of scientific publications in high quality scientific journals.
• Proactive, innovative and independent problem solver, and excellent team player.
• Experience in implementation, monitoring and reporting of research for development projects.
• Excellent communication skills, able to interact with a multi-cultural and interdisciplinary team of
scientists and development partners in layman language.
Duty Station: Accra, Ghana
General information: The contract will be for an initial period of two years. IITA offers an
internationally competitive remuneration package paid in US Dollars.
Applications: Applications must include covering letter which should address how the candidate’s
background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for, curriculum vitae, names
and addresses of three professional referees (which must include either the Head of the applicant’s
current or previous organization or applicant’s direct Supervisor/Superior at his/her present or former
place of work). The application should be addressed to the Head, Human Resources Service.
Closing Date: 23rd February 2018
IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from women
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.