CGIAR Independent Science for Development Council: Innovation Systems and/or Development Specialist; Agriculture, ecology and/or Ecosystems Specialist; Plant Breeding Specialist (Deadline extended to Feb. 26)

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The Independent Science for Development Council (ISDC) is a standing panel of impartial, world-class science and innovation experts providing rigorous, independent strategic advice to the CGIAR System Council and other stakeholders. ISDC contributes to the strategic and portfolio planning and positioning of CGIAR. ISDC provides an important advisory function that is integral to the governance of One CGIAR. It is vital therefore that ISDC includes skills, disciplines and backgrounds relevant to the One CGIAR agenda.

Application and nomination details

How: Suitable candidates may apply or be nominated for the three vacancies listed. Applications/nominations must provide the 4 required documents set out in this guidance document via email to

When: Applications and nominations must be submitted by not later than 18:00, local Montpellier, France time on Friday 19 February 2021.

Note: Applications/nominations submitted beyond the initial deadline and any extension that may be announced at will not be considered.

What we are seeking

CGIAR is seeking to fill three vacancies arising in ISDC and aiming to ensure that One CGIAR’s sharper mission statement and impact focus to 2030, its articulation of thematic priorities, its attention to agriculture innovation systems, and focus on engagement at regional and country level are adequately reflected amongst ISDC members.

To achieve an overall composition that well positions ISDC to carry out its mandate in the new One CGIAR landscape, CGIAR will be seeking strong candidates, whose origin, experiences and normal work environments are from the regions where CGIAR’s work is focused (see detailed criteria on following pages), in one of the following areas of expertise:

  • Innovation Systems and/or Development Specialist
  • Agriculture, ecology and/or Ecosystems Specialist
  • Plant Breeding Specialist

Details on the role

Overall ISDC: ISDC consists of 8 standing members with one of those appointed as Chair. ISDC is guided by Terms of Reference and supported by the CGIAR Advisory Services Shared Secretariat.

Appointment: Members of ISDC are appointed by the CGIAR System Council and accountable to it, with recommended candidates put forward by a nominations panel.

Representation: Members of ISDC serve in their personal capacity, but must be in compliance with the effective conflict of interest policy.

Term: ISDC members will be appointed for a three year period, with a one year assessment period to confirm continuation of the term, and a possibility of one additional term.

Time commitment: Up to 25 days per calendar year, as determined by the ISDC Chair, supported by an honorarium— as outlined in the ISDC Member Competencies, time commitment and honorarium arrangements.

Activities: An approved workplan outlines the main activities. Members are expected to conduct limited international travel (when feasible).


Diversity and Inclusion: Applications and nominations from the following will be particularly considered:

  • Candidates whose origin, experiences and normal work environments are from the following regions where CGIAR’s work is focused: (Note: suitable applicants from Sub-Saharan Africa particularly encouraged)
    • East & Southern Africa
    • West & Central Africa
    • South Asia
    • Southeast Asia & the Pacific
    • Central & West Asia & North Africa
    • Latin America & the Caribbean
  • Women and non-binary persons.
  • Early to mid-career researchers and science for development experts.

Competencies: ISDC members are expected to demonstrate experience and/or expertise in a number of domains outlined in the member competencies framework.

To identify suitable candidates for ISDC to work effectively within the new One CGIAR landscape, candidates are sought who:

  • Represent a balance of scientific, programmatic, innovation, and development expertise relevant to agri-food systems.
  • Reflect eminence in their fields with internationally-recognized achievements, not limited to scientific innovations and publications, in accordance with their current career progression and capacities to develop a systemic vision.
  • Have an ability to recognize the mechanisms by which science and research deliver development and innovation outcomes in line with One CGIAR’s new mandate.
  • Have the capacity to deliver strategic advice that benefits from members with diverse cultural, organizational, educational, training and geographic backgrounds.

Eligibility: Based on the conflict of interest policy of the CGIAR advisory services persons will not be eligible to be appointed to ISDC, thus should not apply, if:

  • Currently employed by a CGIAR entity or during the last two years;
  • Actively serving on a CGIAR Board or any of its committees; or
  • Working directly in a Funder agency represented on the System Council.
  • Other eligibility may be considered during the process based on any potential perceived or real conflicts based on candidate’s past and current personal and professional affiliations, in accordance with the conflict of interest policy.

Requirements for applications and nominations

Either individual applications or nominations* of potentially qualified people are welcomed by February 19, 2021 and should be submitted by email to with the 4 following required documents:

  • A 1 page covering letter — stating the applicant/nominated person’s name, contact details, main areas of expertise and experience, and suitability for such position based on the competencies listed;
  • A full curriculum vitae;
  • The names and current contacts of three referees who provide a diverse group of persons to contact; and
  • Declaration of past and/or current involvement with CGIAR, and any potential perceived or real conflicts based on your past and current personal and professional affiliations, in accordance with the conflict of interest policy.

*Note in the case of nominations, confirmation from the nominated person of their interest and availability needs to also be provided.

All applications and nominations will be collected and considered in one process, with potentially different start dates of positions being offered as part of an effort to stagger terms.

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