IRS24113 PDF - Agricultural Soil Nitrogen Cycling Specialist

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CIMMYT is a cutting edge, non-profit, international organization dedicated to solving tomorrow's problems today. It is entrusted with fostering improved quantity, quality, and dependability of production systems and basic cereals such as maize, wheat, triticale, sorghum, millets, and associated crops through applied agricultural science, particularly in the Global South, through building strong partnerships. This combination enhances the livelihood trajectories and resilience of millions of resource-poor farmers, while working towards a more productive, inclusive, and resilient agrifood system within planetary boundaries.

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As part of a new project in collaboration with Aarhus University, on quantifying the effects of biological nitrification inhibition (BNI) wheat on field-scale nitrogen losses, CIMMYT is looking for an outstanding, self-motivated, and result-oriented professional for the position of Post-Doctoral Fellow, to work in the Sustainable Agrifood Systems program. The project will quantify losses via gaseous and hydrological pathways in field trials that compare wheat lines with and without BNI traits at two locations in Mexico: El Batan (central Mexico) and Ciudad Obregon (northwestern Mexico). Specifically, the emphasis will be on quantifying nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching, due to their high climate and environmental impacts. The results are intended to improve life-cycle analysis for greenhouse gas emissions from BNI wheat and will inform further research into understanding the biogeochemical processes responsible for these losses to better support farm-level management practices.


The position is based at CIMMYT’s campus in Texcoco, State of Mexico, located 45 km northeast of Mexico City, Mexico, with research stays in Ciudad Obregon, Mexico for extended periods.

Specific duties:

  • Quantify N losses through nitrous oxide emission and nitrate leaching for BNI vs. non-BNI wheat through field-based measurements in El Batan and Ciudad Obregon experiments.
  • Construct an N balance at the field scale to compare the relative importance of the nitrous oxide emission vs. leaching N losses at different levels of fertilizer treatments and wheat lines.
  • Use data collected on soil characteristics to infer, using mixed modeling statistical analysis, the controlling factors for nitrous oxide emissions (e.g. soil moisture, N content, potential nitrification rates).
  • Organize and implement field and laboratory work associated with research activities in Mexico, including communication with field team, project coordinators, and technical staff in CIMMYT and Aarhus University.
  • Communicate project activities to various audiences, including the donor communities.
  • Facilitate dialogue and collaborative work with local research institutes and universities in Mexico, including supervision of research and thesis work of local students.
  • Publish research results in high-profile peer-reviewed publications.
  • Undertake other activities as assigned by your supervisor.


  • A Ph.D. in Soil Science, Agronomy, Biogeochemistry, or a similar field.
  • Conceptual and practical knowledge in developing and applying quantitative field and lab methods for nitrogen dynamics is required (especially nitrous oxide emissions and nitrate leaching) in plant and soil.
  • Ability or interest to apply systems-level thinking for field-scale N-balance assessments, incl. e.g. principles of mass-balance, error propagation, and upscaling field-based measurements spatially and temporally.
  • Excellent data management and analysis skills and a record of high-quality scientific publications
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English. Basic level Spanish is desirable and commitment to learning Spanish needed for candidates that do not have Spanish language skills.
  • Commitment to advances in farm productivity and poverty reduction in the developing world.
  • Willingness to spend time away from home (research stays of up to one month continuously in Ciudad Obregon and for a total of four to five months in the second year of the contract).
  • The selected candidate should exhibit the following competencies: Critical and Creative Thinking, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Teamwork, and Communication.


The position is for an initial fixed-term for two (2) years, after which further employment is subject to performance and the continued availability of funds. CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, car, comprehensive health and life insurance, assistance for children’s education, paid vacation, annual home travel airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Candidates must apply online for IRS24113_PDF – Agricultural Soil Nitrogen Cycling Specialist.  

Screening and follow up of applications will begin on Friday, February 16, 2024. Applications must include a CV and a cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

This position will remain open until filled.

CIMMYT is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.

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