Associate Research Fellow

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Job Summary

The Natural Resources and Resilience Unit of the Transformation Strategies Department of the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) seeks a qualified candidate to serve as Associate Research Fellow. This is a 2-year exempt, renewable position based in Washington, DC. The selected candidate will engage in comprehensive research on the development, application, and evaluation of artificial intelligence (AI) and other digital innovations in food, land, and water systems. The selected candidate will be part of IFPRI’s research projects that involves AI applications, such as “Generative AI for Agriculture,” “Statistics from Space,” and “Digital & Data Innovation Accelerator.” Responsibilities will include AI ethics, human-machine interfaces, the responsible use of innovations, and the evaluation of emerging technologies’ potential to address challenges in low and middle-income countries, as well as preparing, analyzing, and managing large datasets from multidisciplinary fields.

Essential Duties

Specific duties include but are not limited to:

  • Conduct research on the ethical and responsible application of AI in agrifood systems, focusing on the unique challenges faced by smallholder farmers and rural communities in the global South.
  • Design, develop, and implement innovative AI-powered solutions that enhance productivity, sustainability, and resilience of food, land, and water systems in the climate crisis.
  • Collaborate with interdisciplinary teams of researchers, data scientists, and domain experts to integrate AI technologies into ongoing agrifood systems research projects, including the collection, harmonization, and preparation of multidisciplinary data for advanced analytics.
  • Create partnerships with possible external collaborators and research groups to advance IFPRI’s work.
  • Communicate research to a broad spectrum of stakeholders (researchers, academicians, policy makers, local partners).
  • Engage with stakeholders to ensure that AI and digital solutions are inclusive, participatory, and responsive to their needs and priorities.
  • Publish high-quality research papers in peer-reviewed journals and present findings at international conferences and workshops.
  • Assist in managing projects and in reporting on project activities.
  • Assist in supervising or coordinating the work of research support staff, subcontractors, and collaborators.

Required Qualifications

  • PhD in Agricultural Engineering, Computer Science, Data Science, Geography, Environmental Science, or a related field.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in data science, statistics, data management, and computer programming.
  • Research and development experience in AI-powered data analytics solutions.
  • Proven ability to perform critical analyses of both personal and existing research.
  • Strong track record of publications in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Demonstrated experience in effective interactions in a multicultural setting with other researchers.
  • Experience in analyzing geospatial data, including satellite remote sensing imagery, and applying data assimilation techniques in process-based models.
  • Willingness to travel extensively as required by research and collaboration needs.
  • Excellent written and spoken English communication skills, with demonstrated excellence in producing clear and impactful written and oral presentations.
  • Knowledge of and commitment to considerations of fairness, transparency, and inclusivity in the deployment of AI technologies in low and middle-income countries.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Proficiency in a second language of the U.N. system.
  • Proficiency in programming in Java and Python.
  • Proficiency in managing cloud-based computational resources.

Physical Demand & Work environment

  • Sit in an upright position for a long period of time with little opportunity to move/stretch.
  • Travel extensively (domestic and international)
  • Lift between 0-10 pounds.
  • Required to have close visual acuity to perform activities such as: preparing and analyzing data and figures; transcribing; viewing computer terminal; extensive reading.

IFPRI provides research-based policy solutions to sustainably reduce poverty and end hunger and malnutrition. The Institute conducts research, communicates results, optimizes partnerships, and builds capacity to ensure sustainable food production, promote healthy food systems, improve markets and trade, transform agriculture, build resilience, and strengthen institutions and governance. Gender is considered in all of the Institute’s work. IFPRI collaborates with partners around the world, including development implementers, public institutions, the private sector, and farmers’ organizations. IFPRI is a member of the CGIAR Consortium.

IFPRI offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with competitive salary and excellent benefits. IFPRI is an international and equal opportunity organization and believes that diversity of its staff contributes to excellence.

IFPRI Washington D.C has a hybrid work environment that allows staff members a minimum of two days in-office work and three days remote work.

At IFPRI, we prioritize the health, safety and wellbeing of our employees, families, and friends.  In response to the increased transmissibility with recent COVID-19 variants, all US-based employees must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 and provide proof thereof, as a condition of employment. Accommodations due to medical or religious exemptions will be considered.


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