Job Postings

Agricultural Risk Data Scientist @ International Centre for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT, Nairobi, Kenya)

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture ( works to increase prosperity and improve human nutrition in the tropics through research-based solutions in agriculture and the environment. CIAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium (, a global research partnership working many partners for a food secure future. Headquartered near Cali, Colombia, CIAT has regional offices in Nairobi, Kenya, and Hanoi, Vietnam, with staff posted in other developing countries as well.

This position will be under the Decision and Policy Analysis (DAPA) group, which works across issues of climate change, sustainable food systems, and digital agriculture. This position will directly work under and support the newly launched CIAT strategic Initiative on Agricultural Risk Management (ARM). The ARM strategic initiative is developing practical approaches and research outputs to reduce agricultural risk, and is positioning these within the financial services sector and with others involved in agricultural risk management through innovative partnerships. It will also work will directly support the CIAT-led CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS;, and the CIAT-led Platform for Big Data in Agriculture ( It will also link with the new CIAT Strategic Initiative on Digital Agricultural Transformation.

This position will bring innovative data science and analytical modelling to help the ARM Strategic Initiative leverage CIAT’s deep research experience in climate-smart agriculture, climate risk profiling, climate information services, big data analytics, index-based insurance, and agricultural research more broadly. The position will work to make this research relevant to and link with investors and financial services providers, through improved information and analytical approaches to quantifying agricultural risk, risk reduction interventions, credit scoring, insurance product design, investment plan development, among others.

Position Summary

We are looking for a qualified person to coordinate and lead the development of data-driven analytical approaches to assess agricultural risk and risk-reduction interventions. The position will also provide thought leadership on new directions for CIAT’s data science research on agricultural risk management, financial services for agriculture (e.g. credit and insurance), and climate finance. The position will be full-time and based in Nairobi, Kenya, but will have a global mandate.

Main Responsibilities:

  • Coordinate and contribute to the planning and execution of climate impact modelling and data analysis activities for agricultural risk and climate-smart agriculture (CSA) profiling, ensuring quality of outputs and coordination amongst team members.
  • Lead the development of an agricultural risk profiling system and database targeted at financial services sector partners.
  • Implement existing and develop new climate and crop data analysis approaches for assessing the impact of climate variability and climate change on agricultural value chains.
  • Ensure timely delivery and quality control of modelling outputs, facilitate discussion and socialize results with other CIAT scientists.
  • Build strong links with CIAT research teams to enhance the potential for agricultural risk management collaborations across CIAT.
  • Lead a team of technical analysts, interns and students supporting data science work for ARM
  • Lead the writing of peer-reviewed papers on agricultural risk analysis.
  • Support relevant fundraising activities, as deemed important.
  • Contribute to the expansion of CIAT’s Agricultural Risk Management Strategic Initiative by exploring new potential opportunities to develop new agricultural risk management approaches and analytical products, and by seeking new partnerships and sources of funding related to agricultural risk management, financial services for agriculture (e.g. credit and insurance), and climate finance.

##### Technical Competencies

· PhD (or MA/MSc with extensive experience) in a field related to agricultural risk management.
· Deep experience in agricultural risk assessment, crop-climate modelling, climate data analysis, and/or climate change impacts research
· Strong data science, modelling and programming skills, including experience with statistical (e.g R), programming (e.g.) Python, spatial analysis/GIS, remote sensing, and/or other data analysis platforms
· Experience desired with big data analytic approaches (e.g. AI, Machine Learning) and platforms (e.g. Hadoop, Spark)
· Experience and knowledge in issues related to financial services (e.g. credit, insurance) and agricultural finance (including climate finance, impact investment, green bonds, etc.)
· Experience developing and analysing large databases of complex information
· Demonstrated ability to write scientific journal articles: scientific publication track record in agricultural risk assessment, climate impact analysis or crop modelling (at least 1 paper as first author)
· Ability to communicate complex scientific information to a broad audience
· Excellent written, oral, and reading skills in English
· Good knowledge of statistics for data analysis

Terms of employment:

This is an internationally recruited position based in Nairobi, Kenya. The initial contract will be for two (2) years, subject to a probation period of three (3) months, and is renewable depending on performance and availability of resources. CIAT offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with competitive salary and excellent benefits; we believe that the diversity of our staff contributes to excellence. CIAT is an equal opportunity employer, and strives for staff diversity in gender and nationality.

How to apply:

Applicants are invited to visit to get full details of the position and to submit their applications. Applications should include reference number Ref: DO-2440 Agriculture Risk Data Scientist as the position applied for. Applications should be saved as one document using the candidate’s lastname, firstname for ease of sorting.

Applications closing date: 23rd August 2019

Please note that email applications will not be considered.

Only short listed candidates will be contacted.


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