Agricultural Research and Extension Specialist

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device

  • FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background, and culture
  • Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented member nations, and person with disabilities are encouraged to apply
  • Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct and to uphold our values. FAO has a zero-tolerance policy on conduct that is incompatible with the aims and objectives of the United Nations and FAO, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority, and discrimination
  • All selected candidates, therefore, will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
  • All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality
  • The incumbent may be re-assigned to different activities and/or duty stations depending on the evolving needs of the Organization

Organizational Setting

The Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) leads international efforts to defeat hunger and to support development in member countries in the areas of agriculture, fisheries and forestry. FAO’s mandate is to raise levels of nutrition, improve agricultural productivity, better the lives of rural populations and contribute to the growth of the world economy.

The Research and Extension Unit (OINR) of the Office of Innovation (OIN) facilitates the transformation of member countries’ research and Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) through targeted policy, capacity development, knowledge sharing and agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (EAS) interventions, contributing to achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The Unit supports the agricultural research, extension and advisory services through advice and technical assistance to member countries, by conducting studies, supporting guidelines for National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS), facilitating policy dialogue, networks and partnerships at all levels, and by supporting capacity development for rural knowledge institutions. The Unit hosts the Secretariat of the Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP), a G-20 initiative to facilitate capacity development for agricultural innovation, supported by the EU and provides support to TAPipedia, a global information-sharing system for good capacity development practices on agricultural innovation, innovation outputs, success stories and lessons learned. The TECA Platform (Technologies and Practices for Small Agriculture Producers), hosted by OINR, is a FAO online knowledge sharing platform to assist smallholder farmers by providing access to validated information on agriculture practices and technologies. The Unit is the focal point for agricultural biotechnologies, many partnership agreements with global, regional and national research, education and extension institutions.

Reporting Lines

The consultant will report to the Head of the Research and Extension Unit (OINR) and will work closely with the Unit’s technical officers.

Technical Focus

The consultant will work on technical matters related to agricultural research and innovation systems by providing support to related programmes, platforms and information-sharing systems, networks and processes and, agricultural Extension and Advisory Services (EAS), in particular related to Agricultural Innovation Systems (AIS) and EAS assessment/metrics and reform.

Tasks and responsibilities

The consultant will provide support to the work of the Unit, specifically:

  • Assist Unit’s activities related to strengthening National Agricultural Research Systems (NARS) through development of knowledge products, tools and guidelines, policy briefs and technical advices;
  • Assist in the preparation of resource materials and project activities related to AIS and EAS assessments and metrics, EAS reform, including digital EAS;
  • Provide assistance to prepare resource materials and background documents on digitalization of extension and advisory services for inclusive, farmer-led co-creation of knowledge;
  • Support in the preparation of knowledge products, such as studies, guidelines, policy briefs, metrics on the topics related to EAS, research, AIS and biotechnologies;
  • Support in the preparation of programme/project proposals related to Agricultural Research for Development (AR4D), agricultural innovation systems and agricultural extension and advisory services;
  • Provide technical support for implementation of projects related to AR4D, Agricultural Innovation Systems and Agricultural Extension and Advisory Services.
  • Assist in the organization of webinars, trainings, workshops and meetings (both online and face-to-face, according to the requirements);
  • Support collaboration with partners such as Global Forum for Rural Advisory Services (GFRAS) and its regional/sub-regional/country networks, One-CGIAR Consortium, Global Forum for Agricultural Research including assisting in the preparation of progress reports on Memorandum of Understandings and support to joint activities;
  • Support corporate publication process for the publications of research and extension unit on AIS, TAP, AR4D and/or EAS;
  • Assist in strengthening activities related to multi-stakeholder mechanisms such as Tropical Agriculture Platform (TAP) and knowledge sharing platforms such as TECA, and follow-up on new partnerships for enhancing contribution to TAPipedia and TECA;
  • Assist in conducting the TAP Partners Assembly and related follow up activities;
  • Perform any other related tasks as required.


Minimum Requirements

  • University degree in agricultural sciences, natural resources management, relevant social sciences or other related disciplines relevant to the mandate of the Organization;
  • Minimum 3 years of relevant experience in agricultural research and/or extension, agronomy, rural development and digital technologies in agriculture;
  • Working knowledge of English (level C), and limited knowledge of Spanish or French (level B, while level C will be considered an asset) for Consultants. Working knowledge of English for PSA.SBS.

FAO Core Competencies

  • Results Focus
  • Teamwork
  • Communication
  • Building Effective Relationships
  • Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

  • Work experience in more than one location or technical area of work;
  • Extent and relevance of experience in national and/or international research and extension organisations;
  • Extent and relevance of experience in agricultural research, extension, agricultural innovation systems and related fields;
  • Familiarity with the concepts of agricultural research for development, agricultural innovation systems, agricultural extension and advisory services, capacity development, etc;
  • Extent of experience in resource mobilization, programme/project development, implementation and technical support;
  • Extent of experience in facilitating multi-stakeholder platforms, knowledge management and outreach activities.

Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency


  • Organization: FAO - Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
  • Location: Rome (Italy)
  • Grade: Consultant - Contractors Agreement - Consultancy
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Scientist and Researcher
    • Agriculture and Forestry
  • Closing Date: 2021-09-18

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