Vacancy: Post-doctoral Scientist-Plant Sciences and Food Safety

Closing date: 18 September 2017

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Post-doctoral Scientist –Plant Sciences and Food Safety to lead the activities in developing improved grass pea (Lathyrus sativus) genotypes for East Africa and coordinate research on other food safety and nutritional security issues.

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 BecA-ILRI Hub is an initiative developed within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)/African Union’s African Biosciences Initiative. It consists of a Hub based on the ILRI campus in Nairobi, Kenya and a network of regional nodes and other affiliated laboratories and organizations throughout the region. It is a modern, state of the art biosciences facility, a suite of shared platforms established for research, capacity building and research related services in support of African and international agricultural scientists. Its facilities are world class, with a range of advanced molecular biology, immunology, diagnostics, genomics laboratories and bioinformatics platform all equipped with an up-to-date suite of specialized bioscience equipment (e.g. Illumina MiSeq sequencer, ultra-high performance liquid chromatography with mass spectrometer (UHPLC-MS), atomic absorption spectrometry (AAS) and specialized facilities (e.g. biosafety level 3 laboratory, plant growth facilities). The Hub hosts and conducts research in crop, microbe and livestock where new developments in science offer promise to address previously intractable problems constraining Africa’s development. Capacity building is a major goal of all activities; the scope covers agriculture and food security and their intersections with human health and nutrition, and the sustainable use of Africa’s natural resources. Further information is available at


1. Scientific research

  • Develop resources to enable the rapid improvement of grass pea (Lathyrus sativus)
  • Lead in pre-breeding of improved genotypes of grass pea for East Africa
  • Coordinate and supervise other research projects (e.g. ABCF fellowships) with a focus on nutritional quality and food safety
  • Analyse the nutritional content of grass pea and other plant products including animal feeds
  • Contribute to project reports and publish relevant findings on a timely basis in scientific literature and present at international scientific conferences

2. Capacity building

  • Contribute to capacity building activities at the BecA-ILRI Hub, including improvement of facilities and scientific and transferable skills trainings
  • Assist the NARS partners in developing research platforms in their labs
  • Supervise staff, students and research fellows

3.Resource mobilization

  • Contribute to resource mobilization efforts of the BecA-ILRI Hub
  • Participate in plant and food science professional forums in sub-Saharan Africa
  • Contribute to building collaborations and partnerships with international research institutions


  • Ph.D. degree in plant sciences, genetics and/or a related discipline
  • Strong experience in genetics, nutritional composition analysis and excellent analytical skills
  • Experience communicating scientific findings at conferences and other forums
  • Ability to perform in a multicultural research environment and as part of a multidisciplinary team
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English
  • Strong transferable skills and experience in international research collaboration
  • Strong interest in and commitment to African agricultural research and development

Post location: The position will be based in Nairobi, Kenya

Position level: Post-doctoral level.

Duration: The position is on a 2 years fixed term contract.

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, People and Organizational Development through our recruitment portal on or before 18 September 2017. The position title and reference number: PSF/08/2017 should be clearly marked on 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.

To find out more about ILRI visit our website at

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


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