Icipe Job Vacancy: Ecological Modeller - Nairobi, Kenya

(Ref. No. IRS/165/072016)


icipe — African Insect Science for Food and Health is a world-class research centre with a mission to alleviate poverty by ensuring food security, improving health, protecting the environment, and building the capacity of researchers and communities across the developing world through the application of insect sciences. Employing more than 500 national and international staff, icipe is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with outposts in Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda, and on the shores of Lake Victoria in western Kenya. icipe has a proud reputation and history of delivering world-quality science that has made crucial contributions to African food and health policy, delivered development outcomes to rural communities, and has been at the forefront of building Africa’s biological research capacity. The Centre’s research activities span the African continent with partnerships linking research organisations, not only across Africa, but also the globe. In addition, more than 150 graduate students and a number of postdoctoral fellows contribute to icipe’s research portfolio annually.

icipe is seeking to appoint an outstanding, dynamic and self-motivated scientist for the position of Ecological Modeller. We are looking for an individual who has proven expertise in building, managing, and analysing complex geospatial datasets in support of integrated pest management (IPM) practices and interventions, disease vector control, and climate change and variability. The selected candidate will contribute to a multi-disciplinary and multi-institutional team applying various technological approaches to improve plant, human, animal and environmental health. This is a two-year contract, renewable after successfully completing a six-month probation period of the first contract.

A competitive and generous compensation package that includes housing and transport allowances, child education allowance up to university first degree, comprehensive health and life insurance, an offshore retirement package, all payable in US Dollars, will be offered to the right candidate. Furthermore, the incumbent will receive paid annual vacation, return airfare for themselves and their dependents to their nominated home base each year, and duty free privileges. If the successful candidate is appointed from outside Kenya, he or she will be offered support to relocate and settle in the city. Only shortlisted candidates will be acknowledged.

Living in Nairobi
Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya, with a population of over three million and plentiful supermarkets, malls, bars and restaurants, as well as recreational areas, open spaces and parks; and it is the safari capital of the world. There are a wide variety of excellent international schools, and well-equipped medical facilities that are open 24/7 in Nairobi. The city is also accessible by various reputable international airline carriers. Although it is important to be conscious of security, Kenyans are warm and welcoming of visitors.

Nairobi has a thriving international research scene, hosting various CGIAR centres and several UN agencies. icipe employs a number of international staff.

Specific roles and responsibilities of the position:
  • Lead modelling activities within icipe’s 4H paradigm;
  • Carry out cutting edge research on modelling insect population density, dynamics, interactions, and risk of invasion and spread;
  • Develop, apply, and explore new computation methods for decision support for good integrated pest management (IPM) practices and interventions, disease vector control, and climate change impact and variability assessments;
  • Link mathematical, biological and physical principles for assessing the present and predicting the future, as well as testing the models with experimental datasets;
  • Work closely with entomologists/biologists/agronomists in the experimentation and interpretation of models and outputs;
  • Promote and support cross-institutional and inter-disciplinary teams;
  • Build capacity of icipe’s scholars, scientists, and partners to co-develop and use modelling tools;
  • Contribute to building capacity of national institutions through the identification and co-supervision or mentoringof graduate students;
  • Collaborate with other research institutions (such as the CGIAR centres) to support/enhance research outputs and develop synergies with other icipe projects to maximise impact;
  • Communicate research results to various audiences and in various forms, with specific focus on peer-reviewed journals;
  • Have the ability to foster innovative work environment and appropriate skills in research governance and resource mobilisation.
  • The ideal candidate should have a PhD in applied mathematics with entomology or ecological modelling, or a discipline relevant to the skills listed above. (The covering letter should expand on the relevance of your skill-set.)
  • Minimum 5 years’ experience in your chosen field/discipline.
  • The candidate must have perfect manipulation of advanced tools for knowledge discovery and data mining using intelligent algorithms.
  • Strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals.
Core Competencies
  • High level of proficiency in a relevant programming language, especially C/C++ and R.
  • Experience in geographical information systems (GIS), spatial statistics, cellular automata (CA), and individual and agent based modelling (I/ABM) approaches.
  • Experience in ecological niche and phenology modelling approaches.
  • Experience in artificial neural networks (ANNs), fuzzy logic (FL), random forest (RF), and percolation theory applications.
  • Good knowledge of scenario analysis, climate change impacts assessment, and manipulation of large datasets. Good knowledge of the development and analysis of continuous and discrete differential equations.
  • Fluency in English.
Other desirable attributes
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, experience working with and interacting effectively with a variety of stakeholders (farmers, extension workers and other service providers, public and private sector entities, and national programmes).
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate effectively across disciplines, international institutions, and technical agencies. 
This position reports to the Director of Research and Partnerships of icipe.

The selected candidate should be available to start as soon as possible.

Applications will be accepted up to 31st August 2016, or until the position is filled, whichever is earlier.

Interested applicants should submit: (a) a confidential cover letter, (b) detailed CV with names and addresses of 3 referees (including e-mail addresses, fax numbers), and (c) a statement illustrating suitability against the listed qualifications/competencies/abilities, and skills.

icipe is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equity, teamwork, and respect for diversity.