Principal Scientist I - Nutrition and Nutri-sensitive Food Systems for the Drylands

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ICRISAT seeks applications from dynamic Indian nationals as Principal Scientist I – Nutrition and Nutri-sensitive Food Systems for the Drylands. The incumbent will report to the Global Research Program Director in Enabling Systems Transformation. The position is based at ICRISAT Headquarters, Patancheru, Telangana, India.

ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi- arid or dryland tropics has over 2 billion people and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these disadvantaged populations to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agricultural production systems.

ICRISAT is headquartered at Patancheru near Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and eight country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. ICRISAT envisions a prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics. Its mission is to reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the dryland tropics. ICRISAT conducts research on its mandate crops of chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet in the arid and semi-arid tropics. The Institute focuses its work on the drylands and in protecting the environment. Tropical dryland areas are usually seen as resource-poor and perennially beset by shocks such as drought, thereby trapping dryland communities in poverty and hunger and making them dependent on external aid. Please visit –

Position Objective:

Provide strategic direction and steer the Nutrition and Nutri-sensitive Food Systems strategy of ICRISAT towards promoting dietary diversity, sustainable livelihood opportunities leading to food & nutritional security in the drylands. Strengthen and promote Inclusive Market Oriented Development (IMOD) model and Smart Food initiative of ICRISAT, ensuring inclusiveness of smallholder farming communities into the nutri-sensitive value chains, through local value chain innovations involving the dryland crops through: understanding of their market potential, nutritional and functional traits, development and promotion of value addition and related technologies for mainstreaming the dryland crops, establishing sustainable agro-food processing enterprises (involving rural/tribal women and youth), primary and secondary level. Establish local nutri-sensitive and market oriented, enabling ecosystems to create sustainable demand pull for the dryland crops. Promote and create awareness on food quality, traceability, food safety and food safety management systems across the food value chain from farm to fork, leveraging strategic partnerships with key stakeholders, involving both the public and private sector.


  • Understanding different crop value chains and deciphering the key drivers and interventions to promote Agri-Nutri connect in the Drylands
  • Develop strategic partnerships for Capacity Building of rural communities based on assessment and strengthening of institutional abilities, needs, risks, and benefits, leading to formulation of local strategies that can incentivize ecosystem-based nutri-sensitive food systems
  • Integrate into interdisciplinary teams, both internal and external, and contribute to the relevant One CGIAR initiatives in the areas of nutrition, one health, post-harvest management, food technology, food safety, etc.
  • Establish a roadmap for circular approach linking sustainable food production to nutrition and One Health through effective resource mapping/management (mapping current and historical foods grown and consumed in each local areas, employing stakeholder information from Capacity Building for rural communities to identify local perspectives, challenges, needs, and intervention opportunities), and developing a localized loop for food production to consumption that incorporates market linkages with residual feedstock/side-streams, involving diverse climate resilient crops and shorter value chains
  • Identify opportunities and develop collaborative research projects to be undertaken to promote sustainable nutri-sensitive food systems, leveraging technologies available with ICRISAT and partners across the globe
  • Establish strategic partnerships with national and international research institutions, government organizations, public private sector companies and entrepreneurs
  • Provide coaching and technical backstopping to key stakeholders, partners and entrepreneurs to ensure that nutri-sensitive product ideas and technologies are successfully developed in a collaborative manner and further scaled-up and commercialized, ensuring inclusiveness and integration of the smallholder farming communities into the value chains
  • Manage, integrate and provide technical backstopping to the food product development and food testing laboratories and pilot plants of ICRISAT and its partners in order to carry out research and development activities, provide services/training (especially to entrepreneurs), in the areas of food technology for value addition, food safety, post-harvest management etc., with focus on dryland crops
  • Provide strategic inputs to design and develop training programs towards capacity building of R&D teams for product development and related research operations towards supporting the agri-food incubation initiatives of ICRISAT, especially at the local level in Asia and Africa
  • Provide strategic inputs towards conceptualizing and implementing primary and secondary-community owned processing units, adhering to relevant food safety guidelines/regulations and management systems
  • Engage with ICRISATs Research programs and relevant clusters to develop joint research activities towards promoting agri-nutri connect, by ensuring integration of research and development aspects, to promote consumer and market preferred traits in ICRISAT mandate crops
  • Facilitate establishment of ICRISATs research on food and grain quality related to consumer and industry preferred traits, leading to alignment of the program with the ongoing crop breeding programs
  • Work closely with ICRISATs Research programs, relevant clusters and the Communications team of ICRISAT in providing support in the areas of health claim validations and nutritional information to promote the awareness and usage of ICRISAT mandate crops as Smart Food
  • Work with all the internal programs of EST (Asia and Africa) to upscale the different nutri-sensitive interventions and achieve impact at scale in target communities within the rural-urban continuum
  • Develop strategic partnerships with various funding agencies: National/ International donor agencies, Government departments and other public and private sector partners to seek support for promoting dietary diversity, quality nutrition, reducing malnutrition and establish sustainable nutri-sensitive food systems for ensuring food and nutritional security of the smallholder farming communities, tribals and other vulnerable communities
  • Updating and aligning ICRISATs Nutrition and Nutri-sensitive Food Systems to the One CGIAR initiative
  • Facilitate development of a time bound product development, pilot testing and scale-up strategy to ensure a steady pipeline of projects to support
  • Development and commercialization of millet-pulse based technologies that are as per the market/consumer and industry demand
  • Engage with ICRISAT HR to ensure recruitment, training and capacity building of team members of the Nutrition, Dietary Behavior and Smart Food Cluster and NutriPlus Knowledge program of AIP cluster, to ensure availability of the right skill sets to deliver the target nutritional outcomes
  • Provide regular progress reports to the management and donors for all projects being implemented
  • Document and communicate to both internal and external stakeholders on the outcomes of the projects-through scientific reports, peer reviewed publications and media/social media reports etc.


  • PhD in Natural sciences, Food Science, Food Technology, having a minimum of 10 years Postdoc graduation experience in research institutions (international and national), reputed food processing industry and involved in food product and food safety related R&D
  • Strong scientific research background at the international level in the areas of food science and technology, nutrition and food safety
  • Experience in working in both non- and for-profit settings
  • Strong proven track record of resource mobilization especially with International donors
  • Experience with leading product development R&D teams, for product development using dryland crops to address the Triple burden of malnutrition, ensuring food quality and implementing food safety management systems
  • Experience of having worked with tribal and rural communities in establishing local nutrisensitive food-systems to foster local production-processing-consumption, involving climate resilient crop value chains and engaging with local women and youth
  • Experience with working in and/or managing R&D in food industry and/or Agribusiness Incubator settings, in order to understand the nutritional and health benefiting potential of climate resilient crops leading to creation of sustainable business enterprises and demand pull for the dryland crops from the industry and the consumer
  • Experience in working with vulnerable and rural/tribal communities involving nutritional intervention studies to address undernutrition, anemia etc., and undertaking impact assessment based on anthropometric assessment of the intervention on beneficiaries
  • Experience in establishing food testing laboratories and food processing units-with focus on value addition to dryland crops, especially in developing countries of Asia and Africa
  • Proven leadership ability, including ability to manage diverse research as well as management teams and processes, under pressure and strict timelines
  • Demonstrated and proven analytical abilities, and problem solving skills


This is a contractual role for a period of 36 months (3 years).

How to apply:

Applicants should apply on or before 20 May 2024, with their latest Resume, and the names and contact information of three references that are knowledgeable about their professional qualifications and work experience. All applications will be acknowledged; however, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

ICRISAT is an equal opportunity employer

Key Skills

Food product develop, Training, publications, resource mobilization, leadership, people management

Additional/Preferred Skills

Analytical research, leadership

Preferred Qualifications


Preferred Industry Experience

Food Science, Food Technology, Food Processing, Biochemistry, Functional Nutrition, Fast moving consumer


ICRISAT offers a rewarding career opportunity in dryland agricultural research to have a lasting impact on millions of lives and communities. The state of the art research infrastructure with high performance culture, ICRISAT provides global exposure and learning. For more details, visit


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