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Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Senior Soil Scientist – Soil And Land Restoration, The International Center for Tropical Agriculture, Palmira, Colombia

Senior Soil Scientist – Soil And Land Restoration

This is a new position that will serve as a focal person for research on land restoration
Deadline: Open Until Filled 
Location: Palmira, Colombia 
Organization: The International Center for Tropical Agriculture
The International Center for Tropical Agriculture ( works to reduce hunger and poverty, and improve human nutrition in the tropics through research aimed at increasing the ecoefficiency of agriculture. CIAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium (, a global research partnership working many partners for a food secure future.
The Center’s research focuses on increasing productivity of key crops (cassava, common bean, rice, and tropical forages); reversing soil and land degradation; and using information to foster better decisions about issues such as climate change and environmental management. Headquartered near Cali, Colombia, CIAT has regional offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Hanoi, Vietnam, with staff posted in other developing countries as well.
Soils are dynamic, diverse and function to provide the necessary ecosystem services to sustain life and civilization. Soils act as a medium for plant growth, storage of terrestrial water, act a source or sink for organic carbon and function a crucial role in nutrient cycling for plant growth. Unfortunately, our soil and land resources have been exploited unsustainably.
It is estimated that one quarter of the earth’s land is now degraded, and 24 billion tons of soil are lost to erosion every year CIAT’s Soil Research Area has a long history of providing data and information to restore degraded soils and lands with benefit to smallholder production systems in the tropics. Managing soil resources is crucial for the future of communities in the tropical regions of the world. Tropical soils occupy about a third of the earth’s terrestrial surface, host the most biodiverse ecosystems on the planet and support about three-fourths of the world’s population. In an era of uncertain climate variability, maintaining the health of tropical soils and landscapes is necessary for providing food while maintain a healthy ecosystem.
This year, during the International Year of Soil, there is growing momentum for large-scale efforts to restore degraded lands, as policy makers face growing land scarcity and growing populations that need food, energy, and sustainable livelihoods. CIAT Soils is seeking a senior scientist to lead multidisciplinary research required to restore and maintain soils and landscapes, supporting nations to achieve often ambitious goals to restore their land.
The Position
This is a new position that will serve as a focal person for research on land restoration. Success will require research across disciplines and especially across scales to address questions such as “How can we maximize benefits with investment in land restoration?” “What are the best practices and where should they be implemented?” “Whose livelihoods are at stake during restoration initiatives, and how can we protect them?” and “How can we ensure accountability with monitoring and assessment?” The scientist will take a key position in the Soils Research Area where there will be significant scope to design and guide research. S/he will work with scientists across the institute and will engage directly with partners from landscape to national levels. The selected candidate will be part of a growing CIAT-Soils team, and primarily associated with the CGIAR Research Program Water, Land and Ecosystems. Linkages with other CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) and regional organizations will be encouraged. The position will be based at CIAT Headquarters in Palmira, Colombia.
  • Carry out research activities to support successful implementation of large-scale land restoration initiatives; to include field research and synthesis of knowledge across scales in landscapes 
  • Incorporate knowledge from soil science, agronomy and economics perspectives into land use and ecosystem services planning contexts; to include building scenarios and tradeoff analysis 
  • Conduct research on soil process through field research and landscape models to determine potential impacts of management strategies that alter soil quality and have feedbacks in agroecosystems 
  • Collaborate with the team of CIAT-Soils, and with all relevant local and national stakeholders and investors, and in coordination with other CIAT/CGIAR teams 
  • Manage (timely, reliable, and valid) data compilation, analysis and synthesis, and prepare scientific papers suitable for publication in refereed journals and book chapters 
  • Support communication and publication efforts for scaling of activities and results and engage farmers, institutions, policy-makers and the general public to generate impact 
  • Mentor and supervise more junior staff and students to ensure timely completion of tasks 
  • Contribute to developing the Soils Research Area through new fundraising and partnership activitie
  • PhD in Soil Science, Soil Biogeochemistry, Pedology, or other related fields 
  • Good knowledge of land restoration narratives and issues in the region and globally, especially with respect to management of degraded soils 
  • Proven ability to raise funds for research activities 
  • Excellent communication skills (written and spoken) in English and functional Spanish, and ability to communicate to a variety of audiences, including policy makers
  • Demonstrated ability to publish high quality articles in international, peer-reviewed journals, and experience with open access data archiving Good interpersonal skills, and ability to work effectively in a highly dynamic, transdisciplinary and multi-cultural team 
  • Experience in use of RS?GIS, landscape or ecosystem services models and knowledge-based inference mapping tools
Terms of Employment 
The position is internationally recruited and will be based at CIAT Headquarters in Palmira, Colombia and reporting directly to the Soils Research Area Director. The initial contract will be for up to two (2) years, subject to a probation period of six (6) months, and is renewable depending on performance and availability of resources. The position involves travel to field sites in Latin and Central America, (up to 4 months per year).
CIAT offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with competitive salary and excellent benefits. CIAT is an equal opportunity employer, and strives for staff diversity in gender and nationality. Female candidates from Latin America, Africa and Asia are particularly encouraged to apply.
Applicants are invited to send a cover letter illustrating their suitability for the above position against the listed qualifications, competencies, skills together with a detailed curriculum vitae, including names and addresses of three referees knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience.
All correspondence should be addressed to the CIAT Human Resources Office to Andrea Linares ( and should clearly indicate “Senior Soil Scientist – Soil and Land Restoration”.
Closing date for applications: Until a suitable candidate is identified.
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Article License: Copyright - Article License Holder: The International Center for Tropical Agriculture


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