Job Vacancies Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR
Position: Scientist: Soil and Plant Health for Sustainable Banana and Plantain Production
Closing Date: Monday, 31 May 2010
Bioversity International undertakes, encourages and supports research and other activities aimed at improving the well being of present and future generations of people by enhancing conservation and the deployment of agricultural biodiversity on farms and in forests, with special emphasis on the needs of developing countries. The organization is active in over 100 countries worldwide, and has more than 300 staff working from some 20 country offices. It is one of 15 centres supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Bioversity’s ‘Commodities for Livelihoods’ programme is headquartered in Montpellier, France, with staff posted in Belgium, Costa Rica, Malaysia, the Philippines and Uganda. Bioversity is now seeking a well qualified candidate for the position of Scientist, Soil and Plant Health for Sustainable Banana and Plantain Production, Latin America and the Caribbean.
Bioversity is seeking a dynamic and imaginative scientist, with excellent communications skills and drive, to develop an externally-financed research programme to support the development of more productive and more sustainable banana and plantain (Musa) production systems especially for smallholders. The priority area of research excellence is improved pest and disease management as a component of sustainable intensification through soil and plant health. Opportunities are open for developing complementary research on other commodities such as coconuts and cocoa, and new research directions such as managing biodiversity to assure the resilience of production systems in the face of climate change. The scientist will provide scientific leadership and technical support to MUSALAC, the regional Musa research-and-development network for Latin America and the Caribbean.
This position will be based at Bioversity’s office in Costa Rica, which is hosted by the Centro Agronómico Tropical de Investigación y Enseñanza (CATIE), at Turrialba. Under the supervision of the Programme Director, Commodities for Livelihoods, based at Bioversity’s Office in Montpellier, France, and in close collaboration with Bioversity Senior Scientists working on Commodity Crops Genetic Resources and Sustainable Production and Utilization, the incumbent will be expected to:
* Develop collaborative research proposals, implement world-class research and publish peer-reviewed articles on soil and plant health with an emphasis on the use of micro- and other organisms for disease and pest management focusing principally on Latin America and the Caribbean but contributing to the Programme’s agenda in Africa and Asia;
* Provide scientific leadership and technical support in working with national and regional organizations to develop the research agenda of MUSALAC, including priority setting and the elaboration of collaborative research proposals for external funding in pursuit of these priorities. Important areas of work include the threat of Fusarium Tropical race 4, improved plantain production systems for small holders, bananas and plantains for food security in marginal areas, banana production in the subtropics and specialty bananas for niche and gourmet markets;
* Collaborate with Bioversity scientists in other regions and scientists from advanced research institutes through the ProMusa framework in priority setting and in planning global and inter-regional research initiatives on banana and plantain (and sometimes on other commodity crops included in Bioversity’s agenda);
* Support regional efforts of Bioversity and partner scientists through the MusaNet framework in the conservation, characterization and use of banana and plantain genetic resources (and sometimes of other commodity crops included in Bioversity’s agenda), including associated microorganisms;
* Contribute to Bioversity’s focus on the delivery of international public goods and capacity development relevant to food security, improved rural well-being, the conservation and use of agrobiodiversity and environmental sustainability;
* Facilitate planning meetings and other activities of MUSALAC, in coordination with representatives of partner organizations, as a mechanism for research-and- development priority setting, for the generation of global public goods and as an innovation and knowledge platform;
* Collaborate with CATIE in teaching, research and outreach on commodity crops and agrobiodiversity for rural livelihoods;
* Collaborate with other international agencies in Latin America in developing innovative approaches to international agricultural research and development;
* Manage Bioversity’s small office hosted by CATIE.
Qualifications and competencies
Essential qualifications & competencies:
* A PhD in biological or agricultural sciences.
* Minimum of 5 years professional experience in research on crop protection and disease epidemiology, soil and plant health, the use of endophytes and other organisms for disease management, preferably related to banana or plantain, including work with or in developing countries.
* Superior interpersonal and communications skills including effective advocacy, facilitation, consensus building skills, and an ability to interact effectively with a wide range of collaborators from different cultural backgrounds.
* Demonstrated competency in managing research, including both people and financial resources, especially in the setting of collaborative research partnerships.
* Good understanding of impact assessment and impact pathways, and of how these can be built into research projects to ensure that research outputs reach and benefit rural communities.
* An understanding of the diverse issues relating to research for development in sustainable agricultural development, especially applicable to commodity crops.
* Excellent English and Spanish, both written and spoken.
* Competence in the use of relevant software tools, including data analysis.
* Strong motivation and resourcefulness, with a sustained record of achievement, innovation and strategic vision, demonstrated in research products and publications.
Desirable competencies and qualifications:
* Knowledge of and field experience with diverse banana and plantain production systems in Latin America and the Caribbean.
* Knowledge of French, Portuguese or another major international language.
* Epidemiological modeling expertise.
Terms and conditions: This is an internationally recruited position. Bioversity International offers an attractive remuneration package including a competitive salary, non-contributory retirement plan, medical insurance, housing allowance and leave provisions. All benefits are denominated and paid in US Dollars. The initial contract will be for a period of three years subject to a probationary period of one year.
Applications: Please apply online through the following link: Bioversity Employment Opportunities Webpage by clicking the “Apply” button. Alternatively, via e-mail to: firstname.lastname@example.org including a letter of application, curriculum vitae in English (that includes date of birth, gender and nationality) and the names and full contact details of at least three referees (telephone, fax and e-mail address); or via mail to: Human Resources Office, Bioversity International, Via de Tre Denari, 472/a, 00057 Maccarese, Rome, Italy; or via Fax to (39) 06 6118 341 no later than 31st May 2010. Please quote the source of advertisement.
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