Monday 31 December 2012


Researcher Vacancy in IITA (Netherlands)

The International Institute for Tropical Agriculture (IITA) through its Natural Resources Program and the Wageningen UR Farming Systems Ecology chair group offer a challenging position as a postdoctoral researcher to lead research in the realm of farming systems analysis in the humid tropics.

IITA is an international non-profit research-for-development (R4D) organization created in 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and supported primarily by the Consultative Group of International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Our R4D is anchored on the development needs of sub-Saharan Africa. We develop agricultural solutions with our partners to tackle hunger and poverty by reducing producer and consumer risks, enhancing crop quality and productivity, and generating wealth from agriculture. We have more than 100 internationally recruited scientists from about 35 countries and 900 nationally recruited staff based in various stations across Africa. Please visit for more information on IITA.

The chair Farming Systems Ecology is one of the 17 chairs in the Department of Plant Sciences, Wageningen University and Research Centre and member of the Graduate School ‘Production Ecology and Resource Conservation’ (PE&RC). This chair is responsible for academic education and research on high-quality organic and other low-input farming systems in ecologically self-supporting landscapes.

Our principal scientific goal is the integration of knowledge to allow analysis and design of ecologically inntensive and multi-functional farming systems. We contribute to co-innovation in farming practices that rely on the natural functionalities that ecosystems offer. We develop tools and methodologies that allow analysis and design of alternative farming systems at field, farm and landscape scales. A special emphasis is on the use of on-farm systems analysis and modelling tools, although experimental work at component level is also performed as an essential part of testing of our concepts.

The group combines a strong international profile with a close link with National and European partners in the sustainable farming sector. Our website provides a good overview of our activities worldwide:
The objective is to develop, adapt and put in practice an analytical framework for local to regional and global scale studies on tradeoffs around the sustainable intensification of smallholder farming systems, and contribute to capacity development on systems analysis and simulation modelling in the target regions. This must contribute to achieving the goals of the CRP 1.2 and similar international initiatives. To be able to inform policies and strategies for efficient targeting of agricultural innovations, key attributes pertaining to the dynamics of smallholder systems, namely stability, vulnerability and resilience will be characterised by means of a common framework to allow for comparative and prospective studies across the target regions of the CRP 1.2 in Africa, Latin America and Asia.
The Postdoctoral Researcher will be in charge of:
  • developing/adapting existing models at field, farm and landscape level
  • testing their ability to simulate farmer decisions and systems trajectories influenced by such decisions, across the various sites of the program
  • contributing to capacity building through training of PhD students on systems analysis and modelling.
  • contributing to develop research proposal and to acquire the necessary resources to fund PhD research
  • publishing the results of your research in peer-reviewed international journals.
  • The postdoctoral researcher will be part of a team and as such will be expected to participate in the various activities of both teams, contributing to teach lectures related to his/her area of experitise, contribute in the co-supervision of MSc and PhD students, and in the development of new project proposals in line with the topic of your research, aiming to extend this position in time.
The candidate should have a PhD in agronomy, soil science, ecology or another discipline that is appropriate for taking a quantitative systems approach.

  • proven skills in simulation modelling and a strong background in biology, bio-mathematics and/or environmental physics.
  • able to execute and supervise field activities and training of local partners.
  • have a proven publication record in high impact international journals.
  • have good communication skills.
  • ability to work effectively as part of a team.
  • experience in teaching and MSc and PhD student supervision would be an advantage.
  • have a shown ability to write successful project proposals.
  • ability to work with multicultural and multi-disciplinary teams.
DUTY STATION: IITA-Nairobi, Kenya and Wageningen, the Netherlands.

GENERAL INFORMATION: The offer is a one year appointment renewable for two extra years after assessment of performance. The position is a shared position between IITA (66% of time) and the Farming Systems Ecology Group of the Department of Plant Sciences of Wageningen University (33% of time).

Applications including covering letter, curriculum vitae, names and addresses of three referees should be addressed to the Human Resources Manager. Please complete our online application form using this link:

DUE DATE: 15th January 2013
IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from women candidates.
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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