Principal Scientist/Senior Scientist -Rural Sociology (West and Central Africa)

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The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT)


Principal Scientist/Senior Scientist -Rural Sociology

(West and Central Africa)

ICRISAT is seeking applications from a dynamic and highly innovative Rural Sociologist to undertake applied sociological research in sub-Saharan Africa on rural food production of cereal and legume crops by small holder farmers in collaboration with a team of economists and bio-physical scientists. The Principal/Senior Scientist (Internationally Recruited Staff) will be based in Niamey, Niger and will work within the Research Program on Markets, Institutions and Policies.

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 tropics is home to over 2 billion people, with 650 million of these being the poorest of the poor. 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, established in 1972,  is a member of the CGIAR Consortium. For more details, see

The Job:

  • Design and implement sociological studies of decision making processes regarding food security within agriculture households and communities. Especially provide sociological insights (by gender) into household decision making, seed variety dissemination, and labor practices, which will inform the delivery strategies in target countries
  • Provide sociological perspective in the design of village level studies in WCA and in particular  sociological input in the development of the proposal to resume the longitudinal household panel data in Niger and Burkina Faso.
  • Document how technological interventions and policy decisions are impacting agriculture, livelihoods, poverty, natural resource and ecosystems in semi-arid tropics.
  • Identify the key sociological constraints regarding the adoption of technologies and innovations that are impacting agricultural productivity of dryland cereals and grain legumes.
  • Evaluate the social, cultural, and economic factors that encourage farmers to adopt new technological innovations and knowledge.
  • Work effectively with a team of multi-disciplinary scientists to understand the drivers of change in village economies of the semi-arid tropics crop-livestock systems and identify opportunities for developing smallholder agriculture across the two regions where ICRISAT targets – Sub-Saharan Africa and Asia.
  • Bring a social perspective to research priority setting and targeting, and in particular to contribute to team designed baseline and market studies.
  • Evaluate social, technological and/or institutional innovations for the revitalization of semi‐arid agriculture through smallholder competitiveness, income growth and diversification.
  • Work within the cereal and legumes value chains in WCA to improve smallholder access to input and delivery systems.

The Person:

  • PhD in rural sociology or related social sciences, with 7-10 years of experience with community-driven development, rural livelihoods, institutional development, gender and poverty analysis, and/or food security with relevant work experience in developing countries.
  • A proven record of experience in implementing and analyzing field surveys and research in a developing context.
  • Proficiency with both qualitative and quantitative approaches to social science research.
  • Strong quantitative, analytical and problem-solving skills
  • Knowledge of farming systems in sub-Saharan Africa (preferably WCA) will be an advantage.
  • Fluency in English and French: Excellent communication skills.
  • Conceptual and report writing skills and a record of international peer‐reviewed publications.
  • Computer and word processing skills; experience with an analytic software, such as SPSS, is an asset.

The Reward:

This is an internationally recruited staff position with an attractive and competitive salary and benefits package payable in US dollars. The position is initially for three years, and extendable depending on performance of the incumbent and funding availability. An attractive compensation will be offered for the right candidate.


How to apply:

Applicants should apply on or before 31st August 2014 by email to: URL(*TuF.9KUVGrweAZrcZ29cswCUAhdMI4s-), with a letter of motivation, a full Curriculum Vitae and the names and contact information of three references that are knowledgeable of the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience. The reference name of the position (Principal/Senior Scientist-Rural Sociology), should be clearly indicated in the subject line of the email. Screening of applications will begin in September 2014, and will continue until the post is filled. All applications will be acknowledged, however only short listed candidates will be contacted.

ICRISAT is an equal opportunity employer and is especially interested in increasing the participation of women on its staff. ICRISAT has a flexible approach to international appointments and welcomes dual-career couples.