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Decision and Policy Analysis Research Area – DAPA

Calling all geeks! Agricultural modelling scientist position available

CIAT Outlook logo 9B-EN

We’re looking for a head geek and hot-shot agricultural scientist to take charge of the Modelling Expert Group in the Decision and Policy Analysis area of CIAT. Here’s your opportunity to lead a world class team of young, diverse and dynamic scientists working to deliver cutting edge research on eco-efficient agriculture for the tropics.

Closing date for applications: 28 February 2014. See position details below.


The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) works to reduce hunger and poverty, and improve human health in the tropics through research aimed at increasing the eco-efficiency of agriculture. CIAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium, a global research partnership working many partners for a food secure future. The Center’s research focuses on improving key crops (cassava, common bean, rice, and tropical forages); reversing soil and land degradation; and using information to foster better decisions about issues such as climate change and environmental management. Headquartered near Cali, Colombia, CIAT has regional offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Hanoi, Vietnam, with staff posted in other developing countries as well.

This position will take on a leadership role on agricultural modelling. The candidate will lead the Modelling Expert Group in the Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) research area of CIAT. The DAPA group is a growing research area of CIAT that works towards CIAT’s mission of eco-efficient agriculture for the tropics by ensuring improved decision making by a range of stakeholders on the themes of climate change, linking farmers to markets and ecosystem services. See the DAPA website for more details.

DAPA has a long and successful history in spatial analysis and modeling in the fields of agriculture and environment, and a large and diverse team located mostly centrally in Cali, in addition to numerous collaborations with other CGIAR centers and academic institutions. Models being one of the core tools of DAPA, the Modelling Expert Group’s goal is to ensure that DAPA is at the vanguard in terms of modelling approaches. Such work should help making DAPA a science leader in its priority areas, and support DAPA’s research themes in modelling approaches that help deliver on proposed outputs and contribute to development outcomes.

The group currently consists of approximately 15 researchers with varied background (including statistics, agronomy, agricultural engineering and meteorology) and expertise in different aspects of agricultural models, from empirical/statistical models through to mechanistic crop models.

We are looking for a candidate who can provide intellectual leadership to the group by improving within-group coordination as well as mentoring and supervising its members. The candidate should also develop an active and progressive research agenda for the group –including broader integration with other areas of DAPA and CIAT. We envisage the successful candidate to have a proven track record in modelling, with broad knowledge of modelling approaches (particularly for agriculture) and a strong publication record, with interest to lead a young, dynamic and growing research group.


  • Lead the Agricultural Modelling team by providing an enabling environment for staff to develop methods, discuss and exchange ideas, and ensure the highest quality of science in approaches that DAPA uses
  • Develop a research agenda around agricultural modelling and lead the team in the
  • implementation of that agenda
  • Lead the team towards better integration and participation within CIAT and DAPA. This should
  • include participating in existing activities of diverse DAPA projects that require modelling
  • support, and actively engage in grant proposal writing, together with colleagues from the other
  • research themes and expert groups in DAPA and more broadly also of other programs in CIAT.
  • To collaborate with modelling groups and/or projects worldwide to ensure that DAPA is at the
  • vanguard in methods and cross-fertilising in terms of approaches and uses
  • Publish articles in peer-reviewed international journals on modelling approaches and their
  • application


  • PhD in geography, environmental science, agricultural sciences, meteorology or related fields
  • At least 2 years professional experience in agricultural modelling
  • A strong publication record in the areas of environmental and/or agricultural modelling
  • Demonstrated ability to prepare well written and researched proposals
  • Experience in DAPA’s primary research themes preferable i.e. linking farmers to markets,
  • climate change, ecosystem services
  • Strong communication skills – both written and oral, in English. Strong drafting and presentation
  • skills. Knowledge of Spanish a plus.
  • Good inter-personal and teamwork skills, ability to work in a multicultural environment.
  • Ability to undertake field travel in order to achieve objectives

Terms of employment

The position is internationally recruited and based at CIAT Offices in Cali – Colombia. The initial contract
will be for two (2) years, subject to a probation period of three (3) months, and is renewable depending
on performance and availability of resources. CIAT offers a multicultural, collegial research environment
with competitive salary and excellent benefits; we believe that the diversity of our staff contributes to
excellence. CIAT is an equal opportunity employer, and strives for staff diversity in gender and


Applicants are invited to send a cover letter illustrating their suitability for the above position against
the listed qualifications, competencies, skills together with a detailed curriculum vitae, including names
and addresses of three referees knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and
work experience. All correspondence should be addressed to the CIAT Human Resources Office to
Andrea Linares (z.a.linares@cgiar.org) and should clearly indicate “Agricultural Modeller”.

Closing date for applications: February 28th, 2014

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