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Senior Research Fellow–Soil Fertility Program/EPTD (#11-116)

International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI)
Location: Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Last Date: April 9, 2011


The International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks a qualified candidate to serve as Senior Research Fellow/Soil Fertility Program in its Environment and Production Technology Division (EPTD). This is a two-year, fixed term, exempt, renewable appointment based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The candidate will work in the newly-created Ethiopian Agricultural Transformation Agency (ATA), which is an initiative of the Government of Ethiopia (GOE) with the primary aim of promoting agricultural sector transformation by supporting existing structures of government, private-sector and other non-governmental partners to address systemic bottlenecks and deliver on a priority national agenda to achieve growth and food security.

The formation of the ATA is a result of two years of extensive diagnostic study across eight sub-sectors of Ethiopia’s agricultural system in a highly-consultative, multi-stakeholder process. Its structure and function is focused on nimble, innovative and results-oriented support to a range of partners in the agricultural sector.

Programmatically, the ATA will focus on a set of high priority initiatives identified by an inter-ministerial Council chaired by the Prime Minister. There are expected to be approximately 6-7 initial areas of focus, including seeds, markets/cooperatives, technology access and adoption and extension and research. Across the thematic initiatives, the ATA engages public, private and non-governmental stakeholders to support strategic planning, manage and strengthen implementation capacity and test innovative models. The ATA will be financed by GOE and a range of development partners.

The Senior Research Fellow will have primary responsibility for developing, implementing and supporting a portfolio of initiatives to improve soil fertility across Ethiopia’s diverse agro ecologies. Key areas of intervention the Senior Fellow will explore include: advancing a process for integrated soil fertility management, initiating and improving national and local soil data quality and accessibility, encouraging the effective use of organic carbon resources, scaling up best practices for soil and water conservation and reducing value chain constraints for chemical and bio-fertilizers, among others. The successful candidate will possess a passion for improving the lives of small-holder farmers, a deep familiarity with Ethiopia’s agricultural system and extensive knowledge of soil systems and fertility. S/he would likewise possess the entrepreneurial ability to visualize transformation, to mobilize stakeholders across system and to drive practical change on the ground.

The Senior Research Fellow/Soil Fertility Program will report to the Division Director of the Environment and Production Technology Division of IFPRI with day-to-day working with the Chief Executive Officer of the Agency.


• Conceive, launch and support a portfolio of integrated initiatives locally tailored designed to measurably improve soil fertility across Ethiopia’s diverse agro ecologies.
• Initiate studies on soil data and assist in implementing the creation of a repository for these studies, including examining effective channels of communication.
• Document and analyze the lessons of experiences in improving soil fertility in Ethiopia.
• Advance best practices of soil and water conservation.
• Build the capacity, as necessary, of key government, private and informal actors in Ethiopia’s agricultural system to enable long-term improvements in soil fertility.
• Serve as the leader of the Soil Fertility Program team, responsible for the overall direction and management the Program.
• Engage stakeholders across the agricultural system (government, business, civil society, universities, cooperatives, farmer organizations, farmers, donors, etc.) to identify and prioritize actions to improve soil fertility.
• Work with stakeholders to design and then implement high-priority interventions to improve soil fertility.
• Support stakeholders to mobilize needed financial, human or organizational resources for project execution.
• Manage the performance of soil fertility initiatives; setting key performance indicators, milestones and targets; engaging stakeholders to creatively solve problems and overcome obstacles in order to achieve desired results.
• Critically assessing capacity gaps hindering the effective implementation of soil fertility initiatives and developing approaches for improving capabilities as required. Using the ATA soil fertility initiatives as a platform for project-based learning.
• Integrate soil fertility initiatives with other ATA programs to achieve synergies and outcomes that impact the broader agricultural system.
• Draw lessons and experiences from the program, so they can be shared as international public goods.


• PhD in agricultural economics, applied economics or closely related field.
• Demonstrated 10-15 years of experience in senior program leadership role in government, international agency or private sector.
• Deep understanding of Ethiopia’s agricultural system, with a broad perspective on how the entire system operates and how public, private and informal actors operate within the system.
• Deep technical knowledge regarding state-of-the-art methods to improve soil fertility
• Practical experience in implementing solutions at the local level.
• Experience in prioritizing and sequencing both programmatic and operation activities.
• Experience in creating public private partnerships in the sector preferred.
• Demonstrated track record of success with program design, performance management, learning systems, and monitoring & evaluation
• Fluency in English is essential. Fluency in at least Amharic and/or one additional Ethiopian language is a plus.
• Ability to thrive in a fast-moving, start-up environment, with an emphasis on high-performance, teamwork, accountability and results.
• Ability to build relationships with all kinds of people.
• Highly facilitative and collaborative leadership style.
• Excellent adaptive problem-solver in challenging environment.
• Excellent analytical skills.
• Strong set of personal values including integrity, honesty and desire to be of service.


Go to . Click on “Careers” and “Research” to link you to Position # 11- 116– Senior Research Fellow/Soil Fertility Program, EPTD. Please complete on-line application, including a complete curriculum vitae and a detailed letter of interest. Also complete section providing 3 references.

For more information on IFPRI, visit our website at

For information about ATA, please visit


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