Principal Scientist

Job Summary

The overall purpose of the job is to lead the Push–Pull Programme teams under the Plant Health Theme.

  • Minimum Qualification: PHD
  • Experience Level: Senior level
  • Experience Length: 10 years

Job Description/Requirements

(Ref. No. IRS/


icipe is a pan-African and non-profit Centre of Excellence for research and development and capacity building in insect science and its applications. Its mission is to help alleviate poverty, ensure food and nutritional security and improve the overall health status of peoples of the tropics by developing and extending management tools and strategies for harmful and useful arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base through research and capacity building. Since its establishment in 1970, icipe has become a significant contributor to science and innovation required to meet the health and food security challenges of sub-Saharan Africa. The Centre has achieved this status by developing alternative and environmentally friendly pest and vector management technologies and products that are effective, selective, non-polluting, non-resistance inducing, and are affordable to resource-limited rural and urban communities. icipe is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya, a major station at Mbita on the shores of Lake Victoria, several other field stations in Kenya and country offices in Ethiopia and Uganda. Employing close to 500 international and national staff, icipe also has approximately 150 graduate students who contribute to its research portfolio annually. The Centre currently has operations in more than 40 African countries, and thriving partnerships with universities and research organizations across the world (

Please also download icipe’s Vision and Strategy 2013–2020: us/icipe_Vision_and_Strategy_2013-2020.pdf

icipe seeks to recruit a highly motivated Principal Scientist, Push–Pull Programme. The position is based at icipe’s Thomas Odhiambo Campus, Mbita, western Kenya. The position will be offered for an initial contract of 3 years, renewable, subject to continued project needs, funding for the position, and performance of the staffmember. A competitive and generous compensation package that includes housing and transport allowances, education allowance, comprehensive health and life insurance cover, and an offshore retirement package (all payable in US Dollars), will be offered to the right candidate. Female candidates are especially encouraged to apply. Only shortlisted candidates will be acknowledged.

Living in Mbita, Kenya
icipe Thomas Odhiambo Campus (ITOC), Mbita is situated on the shores of Lake Victoria, with excellent housing facilities for staff and students. The Campus sits on 24.5 hectares of land, 40% of which consists of experimental fields and buildings with landscaped gardens. ITOC’s research structures include state-of-the-art laboratories and offices, as well as insect and animal rearing facilities. The Campus also hosts a kindergarten, a primary school, and a Guest House.

Overall purpose of the job
The overall purpose of the job is to lead the Push–Pull Programme teams under the Plant Health Theme. Reporting to the Head of Plant Health Theme, the incumbent is part of a multidisciplinary team providing leadership, research and development strategy to the Centre in collaboration with icipe’s other scientists. It is expected that the job holder will maintain a portfolio of research aligned with icipe’s vision and strategy.

Specific duties The successful candidate is expected to:
▪Lead and spearhead the development of a coherent vision and strategic framework for the Push–PullProgramme in line with icipe’s strategy and goals, and international best practices.
▪Organize a Push–Pull Programme structure to cost-effectively utilize resources to meet icipe’s research,capacity and institutional building needs.
▪Provide cutting-edge scientific leadership to scientists and technical staff to further develop, adapt, optimizeand scale up the Push–Pull technology to a broad range of agro-ecosystems and farming systems.
▪Guide scientists and technical staff within the Programme to ensure timely preparation of the Programme’sannual work-plans, budgets, and scientific and technical reports for donors.
▪Ensure that the Push–Pull Programme members continually update skills and methodologies to keep up withglobal cutting-edge knowledge that is relevant to the Plant Health Theme Research.
▪Provide leadership and guidance to scientists in publication of research outputs in high-impact peer-reviewedjournals, as well as provide stewardship of intellectual property developed under the programme.
▪Promote and establish collaborative linkages within icipe and with national, regional and internationalinstitutions in the relevant fields of research of the Programme under Plant Health Theme.
▪Actively seek and secure external support for the activities of the Push–Pull Programme, including resourcesto develop and grow the research portfolio.
▪Manage and develop the staff of the Push–Pull Programme to create and foster a culture of scientificexcellence and to ensure that the Programme has the human resources required now and into the future.
▪Prudently manage financial, physical and intellectual resources under the Push–Pull Programme.
▪Facilitate peer-review of the performance of Push–Pull Programme staff.
▪Initiate periodic reviews of the performance of the Push–Pull Programme to ensure relevance and quality.
▪Act as a spokesperson and representative of the Programme.
▪Ensure that the Programme meets its legal and reporting responsibilities to all stakeholders, includingpartners and donors.

▪PhD degree in entomology or related agricultural sciences, but preferably with expertise in habitatmanagement, chemical ecology, agronomy or biological control from a reputable university, andpostdoctoral training from a highly reputed laboratory.
▪Ten (10) years’ experience progressively gained at a senior scientist level in either a research organizationor a university.
▪Excellent publication track record with at least 50 publications (H-index > 30).

Core Competencies
▪Track record of writing successful proposals for large grants.
▪Proven record of managing large resources, both financial and human, in an international researchenvironment.
▪Proven experience of working with farmers, preferably in Africa, and transdisciplinary R&D collaborationin social science research, agricultural economics or related disciplines.
▪Experience in capacity building through supervision and mentorship of at least 10 MSc and 5 PhD studentsand at least 1 postdoctoral fellow.
▪Excellent communication skills are mandatory.
▪Track record of exemplary leadership qualities is essential.
▪High degree of organisation, adaptability and prioritisation.

This position reports to the Head of Plant Health Theme.

This position is open until filled. Interested applicants should submit: (a) a confidential cover letter; (b) detailed CV with names and addresses of 3 referees, including e-mail addresses; and (c) a statement illustrating their suitability against each of the listed qualifications/ competencies/abilities and skills.

Candidates are required to apply online through: or by Email:

icipe is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equity, teamwork, and respect for diversity.

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