Research Associate

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 member of the consortium implementing the “Root and Tubers for Agricultural Transformation project “in Malawi, funded by Irish Aid Malawi. The project aims to increase productivity, climate resilience, nutritional and quality of cassava, potato and sweetpotato production systems. IITA is leading the cassava component. 

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is now inviting applications from qualified candidates to fill the following positions;


The Research Associate will work under the regional cassava breeding program. The breeding program main objective is to develop and deploy improved varieties resistant to major pest (Cassava Green mites) and diseases (Cassava Mosaic Disease: CMD and Cassava Brown Streak Disease: CBSD), tolerant to major abiotic constraints (drought and frost), high yielding, with high dry matter content and nutritious, adapted to different agro-ecologies meeting preferences of end-users and markets demands.

The program seeks to build capacity of the national agricultural research systems through enhanced partnership, raise farm productivity and promote adoption of improved resistant cassava varieties. IITA works closely with National Agricultural Research System (NARS) to be able to achieve the above objectives.

Major duties and responsibilities of Research Associate:

The major responsibilities of the Research Associate include the following:

  • Assist the cassava breeder in planning and establishing and executing breeding and agronomy experiments
  • Collect, organize, analyze, and summarize progress and annual technical reports and participate in writing scientific papers for publication
  • Maintain databases of breeding activities/projects to support variety development, the advancement processes.
  • Conduct and follows up on-station and on-farm, agronomy and breeding trials
  • Assist in planning and tracking resource allocations for the breeding programs.
  • Ability to work under pressure in a field environment as well as in an office.
  • Ensure that research inputs needed are available for the execution of experiments;
  • Coordinate and supervise technicians and casual labor working in breeding trials which he/she has responsibilities

Qualifications and Experience:

  • Master’s degree in Plant Breeding, or Plant Sciences/Agronomy, or Natural Sciences or related fields from a recognized university.
  • Minimum of 3 years in agricultural research, or related experience, or equivalent amounts of relevant education and experience.
  • Competencies, experience or expertise in field-based breeding and molecular breeding, knowledge of plant development, physiology, genetics, agronomy, crop production, and experimental field plot design.
  • Strong computer science/information management, data management, and statistical analysis skills. Highly proficient in Microsoft Office and other related software for data analysis, database development and maintenance, data storage, and file manipulation. The ability to learn new software will be required. Familiarity with other database management and statistical analysis software desired.
  • Ensure that planned activities tasks are undertaken on schedule and assist assigned staff on site to accomplish their duties timely.                
  • Train subordinates in field experimentation, data collection and analysis;
  • Assist in organizing and conducting training workshops of technicians and farmers ‘fields days around cassava improvement and management;
  • Carry out any other duties as may be assigned by the Scientist in charge of the program


  • Strong self-motivation and ability to, make decisions, and effectively solve problems.
  • Self-confident to follow instructions and work independently when necessary,
  • Excellent personal interaction skills required for fostering teamwork, enhancing a good working environment, and effectively developing strong internal and external working relationships with a diverse group of people.
  • Strong communication skills in spoken and written English
  • Ability to work under pressure.
  • Be available to work outside office hours and for extended hours where necessary.


Interested applicants should send their applications with detailed curriculum vitae with the names and addresses of three professional referees (including e-mail addresses) by email to:


or by post to:

The Station Administrator,

International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA),

Chitedze Research Station, Off Mchinji Road,

P.O. Box 30258,

Lilongwe 3, Malawi.

Please indicate on the subject line of the email the position that you are applying for if applying by mail.

The applications should indicate how the candidate’s background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for, and also state the names and addresses of three professional referees which must include either the Head of the applicant’s current or previous organization.  

Closing Date:  20th September 2017

Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for interview. Applicants should therefore indicate their contact telephone number(s) and/or email address.

Comment on advertised Job

16th of September, 2017 9:12:14 am

Location: Lilongwe

Employment Type: Full-time

Salary: N/A

Job deadline: 20th September, 2017

Company: International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

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