Theme Lead – Farming Systems and Systems Analysis for Climate Smart Agriculture (SACSA)

ICRISAT seeks applications for a Theme Lead – Farming Systems and Systems Analysis for Climate Smart Agriculture (SACSA). The position can be based at any of the country offices of ICRISAT. The position reports to the Director of the Research Program, Innovation Systems for the Drylands (ISD) which is one of the two global programs that support the three regions where ICRISAT works (South Asia, West and Central Africa, East and Southern Africa). These global programs collaborate with the regional programs to bring further disciplinary depth in applying modern research methodologies, analytical tools, innovative, integrative and systems thinking into the research for development agenda of ICRISAT and its partners. This position represents a unique career opportunity to lead an applied research team that is impacting the lives of millions of farmers in the semi-arid tropics.

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. ICRISAT and its partners help empower those living in the semi-arid tropics, especially smallholder farmers, to overcome poverty, hunger, malnutrition and a degraded environment through more efficient and profitable agriculture.

ICRISAT is headquartered in Patancheru near Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and five country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. ICRISAT, established in 1972, is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. For more details, see

In the semi-arid agro-ecologies, empowering smallholder farmers to achieve food security and create cash earning agricultural enterprises requires a deep understanding of the tradeoffs and risks farmers face in managing their highly resource constrained and climate vulnerable systems. ICRISAT works with the national agricultural research and extension agencies, NGO’s and higher education institutions locally and abroad to develop farm technologies and management systems, create markets and value chains based around a set of mandate crops and technologies that are well adapted to the semi-arid tropics. Expert knowledge of systems agronomy, soil organic matter dynamics and managing climate risk along with the application of systems modelling tools, enables researchers to identify intervention strategies that result in the greatest returns for the lowest risk. 

Job Responsibilities: 

  • Lead a team of scientists and support staff in the Theme ‘Systems Analysis for Climate Smart Agriculture (SACSA)’ to undertake and support the institute in designing and implementing high impact and scientifically sound research for development
  • Act as a thought leader for enhancing and directing the farming systems research efforts of the Institute to find innovative solutions to the challenges faced by farmers and communities of the semi-arid tropics and to help develop a coherent research for development agenda
  • Manage a portfolio of newly funded research programs in India and several African countries around climate risk management, water and nutrient use efficiency, greenhouse gas dynamics, assessing climate change impacts and planning for adaptation under projects funded by the CGIAR Research Programs (CCAFS and GLDC), Government of India and associated bilateral projects
  • Provide expertise in data analytics of climate and cropping systems data and the application of soil-crop-climate models to understand temporal and spatial dynamics and change in crop based systems
  • Lead, coordinate, review and monitor the research activities of the Research Theme, including resource mobilization, annual budgeting, research planning, priority assessment, proposal development, partnership relations, staff recruitment and evaluation and research reporting
  • As part of ICRISAT’s broad partnering programs, represent the Institute in engagements within the CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs), especially CCAFS to ensure mutual benefits to all participants 

Essential criteria:

  • PhD degree in agriculture, agro-climatology/soil science/crop science or significant work experience (10+ years) in agricultural science with high quality research outputs including an excellent record of publication in high impact journals
  • Significant experience in conducting field based (on-farm, on-station) agronomic and/or soil based research and collecting high quality data
  • Significant expertise in the parameterization, validation and application of soil-crop models in agronomic/soils research and their application into farmer extension messages and journal publications
  • A good understanding of the role and usefulness of climate information services in agriculture and expertise in the management and analytics of data related to climate information
  • Experience in leading teams, working with a wide range of stakeholders and interest to work in interdisciplinary team
  • Ability and willingness to participate in field work and travel extensively in South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa
  • Excellence in English (both spoken and written)

Desirable criteria: 

  • Knowledge of the context of smallholder farmers in the highly vulnerable climates of the semi-arid tropics and agronomic knowledge of the major crops and cropping systems of the South Asian, sub-Saharan African region
  • Demonstrated ability to write proposals and fund raise
  • Ability to apply tools and methodologies and produce scientifically based advice to stakeholders across scales from farm to region
  • Fluency in French


This is an internationally recruited staff (IRS) position for three years with an attractive and competitive salary and benefits package payable in US dollars. 

How to apply

Applicants should apply on or before 9 April 2019, with a letter of motivation, latest Curriculum Vitae, and names and contact information of three references that are knowledgeable of the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience. All applications will be acknowledged, however, only short listed candidates will be contacted.

Please CLICK HERE to submit your application.

ICRISAT is an equal opportunity employer