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ILRI vacancy: Scientist – Climate Information and Agro-advisory

Expiration date

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Company / Organization

International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a system modeler focusing on climate analytics and with modeling experience for East Africa to strengthen engagement with several large initiatives in the region. These include significant contribution towards supporting the Netherlands Government funded project on Climate Smart Agriculture in East Africa to be implemented in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, among other initiatives.

ILRI works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.

The position

Farmers in East Africa need to increase agricultural productivity and achieve food and nutrition security through adoption of appropriate climate-smart agriculture (CSA) practices, technologies, and institutional innovations to effectively adapt to climate variability and change. CCAFS works with the national agricultural research and extension agencies, climate institutes and weather forecast centers, NGO’s and CGIAR centers to develop climate information services, farm technologies and management systems based on high resolution spatial modeling applications such as the CCAFS Regional Agricultural. Forecasting Toolbox (CRAFT) and CCAFS Agricultural Monitor (CAM) around a set of crops and along value chains that are well adapted to East Africa. The use of system modelling tools in association with seasonal and sub-seasonal climate forecasts enable researchers to identify intervention strategies and points of intervention in the farm-value chain that result in the greatest returns for the lowest risk. With increased focus on developing climate risk and vulnerability profiles and identifying target regions more to environmental changes, CCAFS is retooling to undertake multidisciplinary research for development and systems approaches.

The Climate Smart Agriculture project is implemented by the CGIAR research program Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security in East Africa (CCAFS EA) that is hosted by the International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) in the region, in cooperation with SNV Netherlands Development Organization, Wageningen University and Research, Agriterra and Rabo Partnership. The project will provide an opportunity to farmers to adapt their farming activities and minimize the negative effects of climate change by adopting innovative climate-smart agriculture technologies and practices along value chains, thereby contributing to the increased availability of safe and affordable nutritious food for the growing population in the region. The scientist will play a key role in developing climate change scenarios from available model outputs, perform data analytics using CRAFT, CCAFS Agricultural Monitor (CAM) and other relevant approaches and procedures for downscaling climate information, and using a range of analytical techniques for understanding modelled scenario information at different scales of relevance for East Africa. The scientist will also support other related activities across other bilateral projects.


  • Identify key issues constraining starting-up or doing business in the different agri-food chains and sub sectors in Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda, and the implications for climate smart agriculture and food systems in these countries;
  • Lead the development of climate risk and vulnerability analysis along agricultural value chains;
  • Initiate effective engagement with relevant national government and regional organizations, CGIAR Centers, private sector and other relevant stakeholders, and lead development of climate information services to support development of effective climate information and agro-advisory services for farmers;
  • Develop and lead climate-informed and safety net interventions for the target countries in East Africa;
  • Contribute to on-going research in climate risk management, assessing climate change vulnerabilities and impacts, and planning for adaptation;
  • Support use and analysis of climate modelling experiments (outputs) at different time scales, seasonal and sub-seasonal climate forecast information services and modeling/generation of future climate change scenarios and associated research on choice of CSA technologies;
  • Provide analytical expertise in big data analytics for developing CRAFT, CAM and other approaches to understand temporal and spatial dynamics and change in crop-based systems, such as developing high resolution crop, climate, soil and crop management data for agricultural systems models in multi-point simulations to support climate information services and agro-advisories, and develop digital fertilizer recommendations in collaboration with other CCAFS partners;
  • Coordinate and design integrated digital agricultural data hub, agricultural decision support platform and advisories, as well as decision support tools (DSTs), and test effectiveness of DSTs in the field and value-chains;
  • Identify opportunities for mitigation (reduction of GHG and increase of carbon sequestration) within the business cases along the agricultural value-chain;
  • Support research on barriers to adoption of climate-smart technologies and practices, and enabling environment hurdles as part of CCAFS scaling and policy engagement efforts;
  • Support creating an enabling policy environment, linkage and influencing of national climate plans and priority setting for targeted investments that support scaling of interventions under climate change scenarios to support CCAFS’s scaling and policy engagement efforts;
  • Provide technical and strategic support to further develop relevant public and private meteorological services in the target countries;
  • Collaborate with and lead interdisciplinary teams from CCAFS South-South Initiative, CGIAR centers, regional NARES, development partners (e.g. SNV, IFAD, GIZ, USAID etc.) and higher education institutions to further develop and contextualize CAM for weather deviations and crop loss assessment for national and regional area yield index insurance schemes;
  • Strengthen capacity of partners and engagement with CCAFS strategic partners from international, regional and national universities through co-supervising undergraduate, graduate and postgraduate students; and
  • Contribute to the resource mobilization efforts of CCAFS in collaborations with other CGIAR Research Programs and CCAFS partners through writing research proposals.


  • PhD degree in atmospheric or climate science, agriculture, crop science, natural resource management or related discipline with experience in climate modeling, climate information and advisory services and agricultural systems research;
  • Solid knowledge of atmospheric dynamics and climate physics;
  • Ability to use climate model runs on high performance computers and analyze the results in comparison with observations;
  • 5+ years’ experience in the parameterization, validation and application of crop/climate models to understand temporal and spatial dynamics and change;
  • Significant expertise in management and analytics of big data related to climate services information and predictive models of future climate;
  • A high level of competency in the design and implementation of climate services information and predictive models of future climate;
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis methods, GIS and spatial analysis skills; and
  • Excellence in English (both spoken and written).
  • Experience with FORTRAN, MATLAB and R programming language as well as large data analysis tools such as CDO and NCO to analyze and automate climate and crop model outputs;
  • Experience in SQL and C# in scripting/automation techniques; and
  • Experience in CIS, agro-advisory and DSTs development;
  • Experience of working with climate and crop data from multiple models;
  • Experience in working with a wide range of national and international stakeholders in East Africa and interest to work in interdisciplinary team;
  • Understanding of East African smallholder farming systems and their constraints and opportunities for sustainable intensification;
  • Demonstrated ability to write proposals and fund raise;
  • Previous experience in working with international climate related institutes, CGIAR centers and CRPs is a plus;
  • Excellent experience and knowledge in climate and weather changes and the associated large-scale circulations in East Africa; and
  • Experience on crop yield and loss assessment both for early warning and insurance schemes in East Africa.

Post location: The position will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Position level: The position level is 4C
Duration: 3 years with the possibility of renewal, contingent upon individual performance and continued funding.
Benefits: ILRI offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes medical insurance, life insurance and allowances for: education, housing, home leave, and annual holiday entitlement of 30 days + public holidays.


Applicants should send a cover letter and CV expressing their interest in the position, what they can bring to the role and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the director of ILRI’s People and Organizational Development. All applications to be submitted online on our recruitment portal, screening of applications will start on 31 October 2018 and continue until the position is filled. The position title and reference number, CCAFS /10/2018, should be clearly marked in the subject line of the online application.

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.

More information

To find out more about ILRI, visit our website at
To find out more about working at ILRI, visit our website at

ILRI is an equal-opportunity employer.