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ICRISAT seeks applications for the post of Scientist – Systems Agronomist with Innovation Systems and Drylands Program which will be primarily based at Chitedze Research Station, Lilongwe, Malawi

ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. ICRISAT and its partners help empower those living in the semi-arid tropics, especially smallholder farmers, to overcome poverty, hunger, malnutrition and a degraded environment through more efficient and profitable agriculture.

ICRISAT is headquartered in Patancheru near Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and five country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. ICRISAT, established in 1972, is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. For more details, see 

Preamble: In the semi-arid agro-ecologies, empowering smallholder farmers to achieve food security and create cash earning agricultural enterprises requires a deep understanding of the tradeoffs and risks farmers face in managing their highly resource constrained systems. ICRISAT works with the national agricultural research and extension agencies, NGO’s and higher education institutions locally and abroad to develop farm technologies and management systems, create markets and value chains based around a set of mandate crops and technologies that are well adapted to the semi-arid tropics. The use of systems modelling tools enables researchers to identify intervention strategies and points of intervention in the farm –value chain system that result in the greatest returns for the lowest risk. The farming system model APSIM has been extensively applied in the simulation of soil-crop-season interactions to represent both farmer practice and the performance of new technologies and farming systems. With the increased focus on the concept of innovation systems driving the creation of inclusive market orientated development (IMOD), ICRISAT is retooling to undertake multidisciplinary research for development and systems approaches. A systems agronomist-/crop modeler is required for the East and Southern Africa (ESA region to strengthen our team in its engagement with several large initiatives in the region. This person would be primarily an agronomist, but with an ability to work interdisciplinary team from Michigan State University in the Africa Rising project in Malawi and Tanzania, scientists from CGIAR centres located in the ESA region, National Agricultural Research Institutes and higher education institutions to apply crop modelling in advancing our understanding of tradeoffs and synergies in cereal-legume cropping systems. Once recruited (before the end of 2016) the modeler will initially focus on modelling resource competition in intercrop systems.


  • Provide scientific leadership in applying agronomic knowledge and crop modelling frameworks (APSIM) to the research for development that leads to more sustainable smallholder farming systems for the target regions of east and southern Africa.
  • Find farm level agronomic interventions that improve the performance of existing cropping systems and test/simulate and introduce new agronomic systems, crop types and varieties.
  • Utilise and further develop, parameterise crop modelling frameworks and approaches that help our understanding of the trade-offs that farmers face in adopting technologies.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams from ICRISAT, Michigan State University, and National Agricultural Research Institutes, development partners (e.g. Irish Aid, EU, GIZ, and USAID) and other CGIAR Centers and higher education institutions.
  • Contribute to the resource mobilization efforts of ICRISAT and the CGIAR Research Programs through writing research proposals, building capacity in our partners, engaging with the University sector by co-supervising postgraduate students.

The Person:


  • PhD degree in agriculture, agro-ecology, crop science, soil science, environment or related discipline with experience in farming systems and agronomic related research.
  • Significant knowledge of farming systems in the region and how knowledge of agronomy and soils can be applied to manage resourced constrained systems and achieve productive agricultural systems.
  • Significant expertise (5+ years) in the parameterization, validation and application of crop models, preferably APSIM, in agronomic research and incorporation of findings into extension material and publications.
  • Strong statistical knowledge of computer applications and software for data management and analysis.
  • Good publication record, as evidenced by senior authored research papers in refereed journals.
  • Experience in working with a wide range of stakeholders and interest to work in interdisciplinary team.
  • Ability and willingness to participate in field work and travel extensively in eastern and southern Africa.
  • Excellence in English (both spoken and written).


  • A high level of competency in the design and implementation of field-based experiments.
  • GIS and spatial analysis skills.
  • Understanding of semi-arid smallholder farming systems and their constraints and opportunities for sustainable intensification.
  • Demonstrated ability to write proposals and fund raise.


This is an Internationally Recruited position position for two years, renewable based on the performance of the incumbent and the institute’s continuing need for the position.

How to apply:

Applicants should apply on or before 16 February 2020, with latest Curriculum Vitae, and the names and contact information of three references that are knowledgeable about your professional qualifications and work experience. All applications will be acknowledged; however only short listed candidates will be contacted.

Please CLICK HERE to submit your application.

ICRISAT is an equal opportunity employer


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