Associate Scientist

Plant Pathologist – Cassava Program

(Associate Scientist)

Location: Laos

The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT ( works to deliver research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s livesin a climate crisis. Headquartered in Rome,the Alliance hasregional officesinColombia, Kenya, and Vietnam, with staff posted in other developing countries as well.

The Alliance’s Cassava Program works with a broad range of partners to develop crop management practices for sustainable production toward improved livelihoods of smallholder farmers, including areas of pest and disease research and management. In this context, the program is looking at leading the future of cassava farming through better crop genetics, focusing on developing and testing a framework to understand the mechanisms that control invasion, persistence, spread and variability of pests and disease epidemics within constantly changing cassava agricultural and natural landscapes in Asia and Latin America. The Cassava Program is developing a decision support system to identify and predict the spread of pest and diseases and to optimize economically and ecologically sustainable strategies for management, improving varietal genetics, rapid multiplication and timely deployment of clean seed.

The Position

The Alliance is looking for a Plant Pathologist with experience in Pest and Disease Diagnostics and Modelling and with a keen interest in innovating on cassava-based production systems through implementing a decision support system that assist stake holders and ultimately smallholder farmers to deal with emerging epidemics. The candidate will work within the cassava Crop Protection team to develop a monitoring system that include information from the biology of the pest or pathogen, in the estimates parameters for dispersal or transmission, early enough to inform the models used to compare the effectiveness of different control strategies before it is too late to respond. The candidate will be primarily located in the Alliance Asia office in Vientiane, Laos; but he/she will be actively coordinating research activities both in SE Asia and in LAC under supervision of the program’s Crop Protection team. The cassava program expect that the results of his/her work must have applications across the tropics including SE Asia, Latin America and the Caribbean, and Sub-Saharan Africa.


Identify key target areas and partnerships for advancing cassava pathology research, especially emphasizing areas of current importance due to transboundary pest and disease outbreaks particularly in areas facing climate change challenges.

Use advanced statistical methods to infer models that are used to compare the effectiveness of different control strategies to estimate parameters for dispersal and transmission of pest and diseases in SE Asia and LAC cropping systems.

 Enhance the understanding of what drives the emergence and expansion of pest and diseases of cassava outside its place of origin and domestication.

 Work collaborative with other members of the crop protection team in the cassava program.

 Participate fully in the Root, Tuber and Banana CRP, especially in Flagships 3

 Conduct research on the pest and disease identification and management aspects of the development of cassava clean seed systems.

 Support capacity building and cross-learning among key partners.

 Link with public, private and NGO partners to develop scaling strategies for cassava’s pest and disease management

 Participate in project proposals and fund-raise in support of strategic interests of cassava crop and pest and disease management.

 Represent the Alliance, and specifically the Cassava Program at meetings of all levels, providing updated information or presentations on project work.


 Ph.D. in Plant Pathology or related fields with a strong background in statistics and in the use of Java, R-codes and GIS platform.

 At least 3 years of experience in phytopathology research, diagnostics and disease management with emphasis in cassava bacterial diseases is an advantage.

A demonstrated ability to produce high quality publications meeting international standards.

 Experience in implementing participatory smallholder development projects.

 Ability to manage complex projects and build synergy among inter-disciplinary teams.

 Capacity to assess environmental impacts of agricultural production.

Desired Qualifications and Role Competencies

 Familiarity with cassava or other root and tuber crop smallholder farming systems in the tropics

 Ability to work effectively in a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural team across institutions and levels of authority.

 Willingness to learn new research approaches integrating traditional and novel tools

 Strong communication skills, both written and oral, in English, and ability to work in a team

Terms of employment

The position is internationally recruited and will be based in Vientiane, Laos. The candidate will be reporting directly to the leader of the Cassava Program and the Crop Protection team. The initial contract will be for up to two (2) years, subject to a probation period of six (6) months, and is renewable depending on performance and availability of resources. T

he Alliance Bioversity-CIAT offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with competitive salary and excellent benefits. We are an equal opportunity employer, and strive for gender, diversity and inclusion in our staff, without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, marital status, or any other characteristic.


Applicants are invited to send a coverletter illustrating their suitability for the above position against the listed qualifications, competencies, skills together with a detailed curriculum vitae, including names and addresses of three referees knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience. All correspondence should be addressed to the Alliance Human Resources Office to ( and should clearly indicate in the subject “Application: Cassava Pathologist”.

Closing date for applications: 30th June, 2021

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