Agriculture / Animal and Human Health / ILRIjobs

ILRI vacancy: Forage Genebank Manager (closing date: 31 July 2017)

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a dynamic Forage Scientist with a keen interest in genetic-resources, to head the genebank at ILRI and to manage the composition of tropical and sub-tropical forage collections both at ILRI and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT). This is a joint ILRI/CIAT position that will be based at the ILRI campus in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centres dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT), another member of the CGIAR alliance headquartered in Cali, Colombia, works to reduce hunger and poverty, and improve human nutrition in the tropics, through research aimed at increasing the eco- efficiency of agriculture. CIAT’s research focuses on increasing productivity of key tropical crops, reversing soil and land degradation, and using information to foster better decisions about issues such as climate change and environmental management.

The Position:

The tropical and sub-tropical forage collections at ILRI and CIAT are critical genetic resources for livestock production in the tropics. The two institutions have decided to join forces to create a single ‘virtual genebank collection’ with a single access point on the web and distribution points in Africa and Latin America.

The position reports to the Leader of the Genetic Resources Program of CIAT in Cali, Colombia, for germplasm conservation-related tasks and to ILRI’s Feed & Forage Development Program Leader for germplasm targeting and deployment-related activities and administrative matters related to the ILRI genebank. Extensive travel in Ethiopia to experimental stations and to Colombia to coordinate the management of the tropical-forage collections will be required.


  • Lead and manage day-to-day operations of the ILRI genebank including germplasm acquisition, conservation, regeneration, safety duplication, disease diagnostics, characterization and distribution whilst ensuring that the genebank achieves the performance indicators set by the CGIAR Genebank Platform
  • Work with ILRI’s germplasm-health team and intellectual-property unit to ensure adherence to world-class phytosanitary standards and compliance with the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture
  • Work with IT staff at the CIAT genebank and IT support at ILRI to deploy software tools (common web portal, databases, barcode systems, tablet applications, etc.) to integrate information between the two tropical-forage collections
  • Effectively curate CIAT’s and ILRI’s tropical-forage collections in a concerted manner to create a single ‘virtual collection’ with a single access point on the web and distribution points on two continents:
    • Develop and implement common strategies for gap analyses, acquisition, collection and germplasm management of the two collections
    • Rationalize conservation efforts based on the (sub)tropical forage conservation strategy by determining how priority accessions should be managed and how duplicates, low-priority accessions and accessions beyond the scope of a (sub)tropical forage collection should be safely deprioritized or archived
    • Assemble best-bet subsets targeting anticipated needs for livestock and natural resource management applications
  • Collaborate with scientists from the Livestock CGIAR Research Program and genebank clients deploying forages in (sub)tropical Africa, Latin America & the Caribbean and Asia to support a more widespread use of forage genetic resources for feed and natural resource management applications and climate mitigation/adaptation
  • Represent CIAT, ILRI and the ‘virtual tropical-forage collection’ in pertinent research, policy and partner fora


  • PhD in forage sciences, genetic resources, botany, taxonomy or a similar relevant discipline, with at least 3 years of postdoctoral experience, ideally working with forages
  • Experience in managing genebank operations would be considered an advantage
  • Ability to organize tasks of multi-disciplinary teams along timetables and to motivate/inspire staff towards performance in genebank operations
  • Preparedness to travel regularly both within Ethiopia and to Colombia
  • Fluency in English; knowledge of Spanish would be a substantial asset

Post location: The position will be based in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.

Position level: The position level is 4C.

Duration: 3 years with the possibility of renewal, contingent upon individual performance and continued funding.

Benefits: ILRI offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes 15% Pension, Medical insurance, Life insurance and allowances for: Education, Housing, Relocation, Home leave, Annual holiday entitlement of 30 days + public holidays.

How to apply: Applicants should send a cover letter and CV explaining their interest in the position, what they can bring to the job and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Director, People and Organizational Development through our recruitment portal on or before 31 July 2017. The position title and reference number FGM/06/2017 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the cover letter.

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.

To find out more about ILRI visit our websites at

To find out more about working at ILRI visit our website at

ILRI is an equal opportunity employer.

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