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  • Posted: Feb 10, 2021
    Deadline: Feb 19, 2021
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    The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a non-profit institution. that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa's most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation.
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    Chief Technical Officer, Excellence in Agronomy

    (Ref No: DDG-P4D/CTO/EiA/02/21)

    Background: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for the internationally recruited position of Chief Technical Officer, EiA 2030.

    The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Please visit for more information on IITA.

    Through cooperation between 10 CGIAR centers, The Excellence in Agronomy 2030 (EiA 2030) initiative responds to renewed public and private sector demand for scalable agronomic innovations as an engine for agricultural development through the delivery of agronomic gain in the Global South. EiA 2030 will combine big data analytics, new sensing technologies, geospatial decision tools, and farming system research to improve spatially explicit agronomic recommendations in response to demand from scaling partners. EiA 2030 is conceptualized around four Modules, assembling the core functions of an agronomy at scale R&D initiative for the Global South, and ten Use Cases, spread across the Global South.

    The CTO will lead the TRANSFORM Module, hosting the core functions of EiA 2030, including (i) the assembly of all data and data management tools, respecting FAIR principles, (ii) the delivery of predictions and turn-key solutions developed for specific crop x environment cases, and (iii) the supply of climate-smart and sustainability data. The CTO will also work directly with the Use Case partners, engaged through the DELIVER Module, hosts the delivery of services and products to partners towards improved productivity, resource use efficiency, climate change resilience, and sustainability. This Module aims at facilitating interactions with private and public scaling partners that require agronomy-related products that can be delivered mainly using data and tools available via the TRANSFORM Module. The Incubation Phase is planned to demonstrate the added value of demand-driven R&D, supported by novel data and analytics and increased cooperation between centers, in support of a ‘One CGIAR’ agronomy initiative aiming at the sustainable intensification of farming systems.

    Position Responsibilities

    · Co-lead the development of the EiA 2030 vision, mission and strategy.

    · Lead the implementation of the TRANSFORM Module, including the conceptualization, planning, execution and monitoring and evaluation of activities.

    · Implement the activities under the TRANSFORM Modules of the Incubation Phase, ensure delivery on outputs and report timely to the Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

    · Lead the assembly and implementation of all data and data management systems, ensuring all EiA 2030 data respects FAIR principles, in close collaboration with the representative of the Big Data Platform of the CGIAR.

    · Develop, in close cooperation with the EiA 2030 Chief Scientist, turnkey solutions that generically address key functions critical for delivery on use cases, formulated based on demands from partners in the ORGANISE module.

    · Lead the engagement of ICT partners and tools in the context of the Use Cases implemented through the DELIVER module.

    · Supply solutions that focus on sustainability and climate-smart technologies, beyond short-term solutions that focus on crop response and economic returns from investments in agronomic technologies, in collaboration with the CGIAR research program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security.

    · Liaise with projects and initiatives within and outside the CGIAR, research communities and advanced research institutes to source, advance and exchange on capabilities to develop and maintain the state-of-the-art in digital solutions of the EiA 2030.

    · Continuously innovate the ‘toolbox’ of the EiA 2030 and implement strategies for innovation based on priority setting in close consultation with the CEO and CGO.

    · Build and maintain the IT infrastructure of the EiA 2030 to develop and deliver digital solutions.

    · Lead a team of scientists and technical staff to build turnkey solutions.

    · Provide overall leadership and team management to CGIAR scientists with responsibilities in the TRANSFORM Module.

    · Implement efficient procedures for collaboration across the EiA members to develop turnkey solutions.

    · Compile technical and financial reports and report to the CEO.

    · Contribute to fund raising and financial sustainability in close collaboration with the CEO.

    · Perform any other job-related duties as may be assigned by the supervisor.

    Educational Qualifications

    The candidate should have a minimum of BSc degree in Data Science, Computer Science, Information Technology Management or related disciplines, and an MSc in Agronomy or any related field can also be considered, if complemented with relevant working experience in the Data Science or Information Technology sector.

    Core Competencies

    • At least 10 years of relevant expertise, with knowledge of agronomy and digital agriculture as a strong advantage.
    • Proven experience as a CTO or similar leadership role.
    • Excellent knowledge of latest technological advances that could benefit EiA 2030.
    • Understanding and knowledge of all functions and roles within an IT department.
    • Experience with negotiating term sheets with digital service companies.
    • Ability to conduct technological analyses and research.
    • Excellent communication skills.
    • Proven leadership and organizational skills and ability to work with multi-disciplinary teams.
    • Demonstrated strategic thinking and time management skills.
    • Strong problem solving skills.
    • General information: The contract will be for an initial period of three years. IITA offers an internationally competitive remuneration package paid in US Dollars.:

    Method of Application

    Applications must include covering letter which should address how the candidate’s background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for, curriculum vitae, names and addresses of three professional referees (which must include either the Head of the applicant’s current or previous organization or applicant’s direct Supervisor/Superior at his/her present or former place of work). The application should be addressed to the Head, Human Resources. Please complete our online application form using this link:

    Closing Date: 19th February 2021

    IITA is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to building a diverse workforce, particularly welcoming applications from women.

    While all applications will be acknowledged, please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

    Interested and qualified? Go to International Institute of Tropical Agriculture on to apply

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