Research Theme Leader - Biodiversity and Tree Genetic Resources

31 Jan 2023
06 Mar 2023
Life Science
Job Type
Employment - Hours
Full time
Fixed term

Join CIFOR-ICRAF and make a difference!

Research Theme Leader - Biodiversity and Tree Genetic Resources – Nairobi or another CIFOR-ICRAF location (Ref. No.202305)


CIFOR-ICRAF brings more than 75 years of experience in harnessing the power of trees, forests, and agroforestry landscapes to address the most pressing global challenges of our time – biodiversity loss, climate change, food security, livelihoods and inequity. It has partnerships in 64 countries, 159 funding partners and 192 active projects, alongside more than 2,200 completed projects across 92 nations. The organisation has an annual budget of USD 100 million, and a combined legacy investment of USD 2 billion in research and technology, policy and development. On average, CIFOR-ICRAF research is cited nearly 137 times a day and appears in global media more than 3,000 times per year. CIFOR and ICRAF merged in 2019 and are both international organizations and CGIAR Research Centres. Learn more at

CIFOR-ICRAF is looking for a:

Theme Leader - Biodiversity and Tree Genetic Resources


CIFOR ICRAF has an exciting opportunity for the position of theme leader in Nairobi or by arrangement at another CIFOR-ICRAF location. The theme leaders key responsibilities are to lead research on biodiversity and tree genetic resources at CIFOR-ICRAF, including nurturing strategic partnerships; organize effective management of the laboratory and gene bank facilities within the theme; develop and manage a project portfolio to ensure sustainable staffing and development of the research area and its policy and development impact; and, ensure organized data collection, storage and high-quality scientific outputs commensurate with the size of the theme.

Summary of responsibilities

1. Lead research on biodiversity and tree genetic resources at CIFOR-ICRAF including nurturing strategic partnerships.

• Formulating and developing world leading research on biodiversity and tree genetic resources, that has policy and development impact, together with other themes and geographic units at CIFOR-ICRAF and external partners and obtaining resources for CIFOR-ICRAF and partners to implement it.

• Setting medium term and annual goals and targets for the theme that contribute to meeting CIFOR-ICRAF’s institutional goals and targets and monitoring their achievement with appropriate KPIs.

• Formulating, developing, and sustaining partnerships with key research, donor, policy

development organizations and engagement with the UN Convention on Biological Diversity (UNCBD), as part of transformative partnership platforms where appropriate, to ensure delivery of the goals of the theme.

2. Organize effective management of the laboratory and gene bank facilities within the theme.

• Putting in place and monitoring effective management arrangements for CIFOR-ICRAF’s in situ and ex situ gene banks, and seed and genomic laboratory facilities.

• Ensuring sustainable financing of these facilities through charging projects for services rendered, obtaining programmatic funding and / or commercial use of the facilities.

3. Manage a project portfolio to ensure sustainable staffing and development of the research area and its development impact.

• Leading the development of project proposals with principal investigators (PIs) across the theme and other CIFOR-ICRAF units and partners as appropriate, that generates a project portfolio that provides sustainable funding for critical staff and facilities required for the theme to deliver its goals and targets.

• Managing, in liaison with PIs, the sequencing, content and implementation of projects within the portfolio, including participation in projects as appropriate, to ensure sustainable funding of staff, development of the research area and documentation of its contribution to development impact.

• Ensuring career development opportunities and the working arrangements for staff contributing to the theme, including mentoring of scientists and PhD students as appropriate.

4. Ensure organized data collection, storage, and high-quality scientific outputs commensurate with the size of the theme (number of staff and funding).

• Leading publication of high impact scientific articles in ISI journals, including participating in writing of articles and facilitating publication of high-quality articles by scientists within the theme.

• Supervising the probity and accessibility of data collection by scientists working on research areas covered by the theme at CIFOR-ICRAF and the scientific quality of outputs.

• Ensuring that the number and quality of scientific outputs produced by the theme is commensurate with the staffing and funding of the theme.

• Ensuring that scientific evidence is conveyed to next users, including policy makers through appropriate engagement and products in appropriate formats (engagement in policy fora including the UNCBD), policy briefs, user manuals, leaflets, training courses).

• Ensuring, in liaison with CIFOR-ICRAF’s communication, outreach and engagement unit, that scientific advances in the research area of the theme are widely promoted through conferences and other events, popular articles, blogs and social media.

5. Other duties.

• Take reasonable care of own occupational health and safety and that of others as obliged by CIFOR-ICRAF’s Occupational Health and Safety Policy and cooperate with CIFOR-ICRAF in complying with requirements under any statutory health and safety provisions of relevant country laws.


• PhD in a relevant field with 15 years research experience.

• Proven track record of high impact research both in terms of scientific articles and their development and/or policy impact.

Terms and conditions

• This is a Globally Recruited Staff (GRS) position. CIFOR-ICRAF offers competitive remuneration in international currency commensurate with skills and experience.

• The initial appointment will be for three (3) years, inclusive of a nine-month probationary period.

• Contract extension is contingent upon performance, continued relevance of the position and available resources.

• The duty station will be in Nairobi, Kenya CIFOR-ICRAF HQ Offices.

Application process

Go to

• The application deadline is 6 March 2023.

• CV and Cover Letter should be in PDF and Labelled with the applicants First and Second Names.

• We will acknowledge all applications but will only contact short-listed candidates.

CIFOR-ICRAF is an equal opportunity employer. Staff diversity contributes to excellence.