International Potato Center Job Vacancy: Chief Scientist for the CIP, Yanqing (Beijing) - China

International Potato Center


Ref.:17- 07 CS/IRS/CCCAP

Chief Scientist for the CIP-China Center for Asia Pacific

The International Potato Center (CIP) is seeking a dynamic research Leader who can serve as Chief Scientist for the CIP-China Center for Asia Pacific (CCCAP). This key scientist will be in charge of providing leadership, strategic thinking, vision and steering the research departments, facilities and activities included in the support the CCCAP as an integral part of CIP’s research programs.

The Center: CIP is a non-profit international agricultural research-for-development organization with a focus on potato, sweet potato, and Andean roots and tubers. Its vision is of roots and tubers improving the lives of the poor. CIP is dedicated to achieving food security, improved well-being, and gender equity for poor people in root and tuber farming and food systems of the developing world. CIP works with partners to contribute high quality science, technology, and capacity strengthening for sustainable science-based solutions. CIP is headquartered in Lima, Peru, with staff and activities in over 30 locations across Asia, Africa, and Latin America. CIP is a member of the CGIAR Consortium, a network of 15 Research Centers and 16 Research Programs mostly located in the developing world and supported by more than 50 donor members. CIP has worked in China for nearly 40 years in partnership with the Ministry of Agriculture, the China Academy of Agricultural Sciences and Chinese agriculture universities successfully introducing productive potato and sweetpotato varieties, transferring new technologies and helping develop China’s human capital in this sector.

The CIP-China Center for Asia Pacific – or CCCAP – was established in 2010 and now employs a staff of 10 based in Beijing. CCCAP is a platform for cooperative potato and sweetpotato scientific research for development in China and countries in the Asia Pacific region promoting CIP’s mission in the areas of food security, nutrition and health, and poverty alleviation. It is expected to grow significantly in size and research scope the next few years. With Government of China funding, a new CCCAP research facility in Yanqing (Beijing) has been constructed with 48 fully-equipped laboratory rooms, greenhouses, offices, training and dormitories. It will open in 2017 with initial research operations set to begin the second half of the year and a more robust research program taking shape in 2018. CCCAP is legally registered in China as an intergovernmental organization.

The position: This position will report to the Deputy Director General of Research and Development (DDG-RD) and CCCAP Director, and will be based in Yanqing (Beijing). The successful candidate will work closely with CIP Program and Science Leaders, and Regional Directors, to assemble the CCCAP research team and ensure the design, update and implementation of the CCCAP research plan towards the fulfillment of CIP’s strategy and corporate plan. The position requires a sound scientific background, particularly in the biophysical sciences, and experience in research team building and management.

Duties and responsibilities:

Research and Development: 
  • Bring innovative research thinking to the areas of crop improvement, genomics, biotechnology, crop management, agronomy or other biophysical sciences applied to agriculture.
  • Ensure high quality science to be delivered as part of CCCAP, relevant to CIP strategic goals, and for the programs’ business plans.
  • Support the DDG-RD and Research Director in providing strategic vision and leadership in proposal and business development activities, including writing and leading the overall proposal efforts across the agriculture and food security sectors in relation to CCCAP research plan.
  • Oversee the implementation of the CCCAP research portfolio; conceptualizing new strategies to improve aspects of project performance – including staffing, work planning, budgeting, financial management, monitoring and evaluation, as well as performance reporting.
  • Engage in CCCAP efforts regarding key topics that include (but are not limited to) Big Data, Open Access, Capacity Building, Knowledge Management, and Monitoring and Evaluation. 
Representation and Partnership Management: 
  • Mobilize science and enhance strategic multidisciplinary collaborations internally and partnerships externally towards delivering CCCAP objectives and research plan.
  • Actively engage and support CCCAP’s research resource mobilization efforts, working closely with CIP’s Resource Mobilization Director, the CCCAP Deputy Director General and their teams.
  • Lead research teams at CCCAP through team meetings, reporting mechanisms, and joint accountabilities to ensure proper linkages and interactions to deliver the strategic objectives included in the strategic corporate plan.
  • Coordinate with CIP Program Leaders to elaborate upon and implement partnership strategies to expand CIP and CCCAP’s organizational capacity while enhancing research and delivery.
  • Represent CIP and CCCAP in diverse meetings that require CIP’s presence, which could be scientific, partner, donor, or CGIAR related. 
Staff Management, Professional Development and Team Building: 
  • Working with the DDG-RD, recruit and assemble the CCCAP research team.
  • Provide effective and inspirational scientific management and leadership.
  • Promote accountability by conducting staff annual performance reviews with direct reports, as well as ensuring that all staff members are effectively using the performance planning and management system.
  • Promote knowledge sharing and matrix team building within CIP to enhance impact by linking advanced biophysical science evolution with development needs. Follow up with leaders of disciplinary teams to establish mechanisms that connect and promote interaction among multi-disciplinary CIP staff across programs, regions, and countries. 
Selection criteria: 
  • A PhD in an agriculture-related discipline, particularly in Crop Improvement, Agronomy, Plant Pathology, or other agriculture-related discipline.
  • At least 8 years of research experience in conducting and managing international agricultural research, ideally in the context of poverty reduction, nutrition and sustainable development.
  • Extensive management or leadership experience, preferably leading high-level scientific talent with diverse international backgrounds and setting priorities for such groups.
  • Knowledge and experience in dealing with new trends in crop science, agronomy, food security, nutrition and other emerging issues that are relevant to achieving CIP’s research for development objectives.
  • Excellent technical and report writing skills combined with a demonstrated ability to conceptualize and direct the research and writing of technical documents (reports, proposals, and science articles).
  • Evidence of a commitment to the type of cross-disciplinary approach that CIP fosters for science and research.
  • Excellent organizational skills and able to work in a multicultural environment. Work and management experience in China is preferred / highly desirable.
  • Good understanding of the policy dimensions of development, particularly to connect up-stream research with the newly approved Sustainable Development Goals.
  • Experience in preparing and assessing research and research funding proposals.
  • Knowledge and experience in program planning, budgeting, monitoring and evaluation, project management, proposal and business development, or technically relevant work experience including living or working in developing countries.
  • Ability to present complex information with confidence and strategic oversight at senior levels.
  • Excellent speaking and writing abilities in English; the ability to read and speak Chinese is preferred / highly desirable. Spanish language capability is considered a plus.
  • Leadership competencies: A results focus; a strategic thinker with the ability to lead, manage change, and engage and empower others. He or she will recognize team efforts, and foster an enabling environment, as well as demonstrate knowledge sharing while always seeking continuous improvement. 
Conditions: Employment contract will be for a three-year term with the possibility of renewal. Salary will be internationally competitive, paid in US dollars, and commensurate with experience. CIP provides additional benefits including employer-paid medical, life and disability insurance and retirement benefits. Allowances toward relocation, housing, home leave travel, dependents’ education and annual leave are also provided. CIP prides itself on its collegial and supportive working environment, which allows space for personal and professional growth.

Applications: Applicants should apply online through our CIP’s Job Opportunities website (CLICK HERE), including a cover letter, a full C.V. with the names and contact information of three references that are knowledgeable of the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience. Screening of applications will begin on March 08th, 2017 and will continue until the post is filled. All applications will be acknowledged; however only short listed candidates will be contacted.