Research Associate for FECB

The Organization

The Alliance of Bioversity International and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) delivers research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives. Alliance solutions address the global crises of malnutrition, climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.

With novel partnerships, the Alliance generates evidence and mainstreams innovations to transform food systems and landscapes so that they sustain the planet, drive prosperity, and nourish people in a climate crisis.

The Alliance is part of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

About the position

Food systems transformation for sustainable healthy diets is impeded by the absence of accessible science-based evidence and practical tools for decision-making. Knowledge gaps range from an incomplete understanding of the demand for sustainable healthy diets; to the constraints in delivering affordable sustainable nutritious foods; to the limited evidence on food systems power and governance dynamics; to the poor understanding of trade-offs between goals and incentives of different actors; and to the lack of tested successful transformative pathways. The Alliance is involved in several initiatives and projects aiming to fill these gaps and seeks a research associate to contribute to this work.

The position will be based within the Alliance office in Hanoi, Vietnam. The research associate will work in a multi-disciplinary team composed of national and international experts and will assist in characterizing, developing and implementing food environment interventions, and in documenting their outcomes and possible impacts. He/She will work with multiple food environment actors notably including micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs), informal actors and consumers.

The ideal candidate has demonstrated experience in participatory methods applied to local development, working with the informal sector and/or MSMEs. Experience with human-centered design (HDC) or user-centered design (UCD) approaches to services or solutions design would be a huge advantage (HCD is a creative approach to problem solving. It is a process that starts with the people we are designing for and ends with new solutions that are purpose-built to suit their needs. UCD is an iterative design process in which designers focus on the users and their needs in each phase of the design process. In UCD, design teams involve users throughout the design process via a variety of participatory research and design techniques, to create highly usable and accessible products for them).

Candidates with no prior experience in such participatory processes will be considered in case they have a strong record in working with food environment actors (e.g., wholesalers, processors, retailers, caterers, etc.) and/or business development or business innovation, and can demonstrate how they have developed solutions for specific target groups. Any experience related to improving the provision of sustainable nutritious food for poor consumers will be also an advantage.

The most important qualities of any candidate will be that they are independent, rigorous, have excellent social skills, and are passionate and motivated by the social impact potential of their work.

Key responsibilities

  • Conduct field research activities, including research implementation and synthesis into periodic reports. Fieldwork methods will include, among other, quantitative data collection and qualitative interviews, focus group discussions and participatory workshops;
  • Support identifying key food environment actors (MSMEs, informal actors) to be included in research activities;
  • Design, plan, facilitate and document (with support from other team members) participatory workshops with food environment actors. Provide extensive reports describing the process and the outputs of the workshops;
  • Contribute to data analysis, synthetic reports and actionable recommendations;
  • Contribute to the cohesion and development of good practices and trust among food environment actors, proactively identifying ways to increase engagement of local stakeholders and opportunities to make processes more efficient and inclusive; and
  • Join coordination meeting with other team members, participate to project schedules, and ensure the logistics, to ensure timely delivery of project activities.

Required qualification and experience

  • At least 5 years of relevant professional experience, in a research organization or an NGO;
  • MSc or BSc degree in a relevant field, including social sciences, international development, marketing and business development, or agri-food sciences. Candidates with an undergraduate degree and significant professional experience will also be considered; and
  • Experience conducting a wide variety of qualitative research-action exercises. Expertise in human- centered design approaches is highly desirable.

Skills and competence

  • Ability to communicate complex ideas effectively, verbally and in writing, in both English and Vietnamese;
  • Strong drive to learn new topics and skills, and to see research and ideas having positive impact in practice;
  • Strong sense of professional pride and curiosity;
  • Comfort with public speaking and workshop facilitation;
  • Ability to work collaboratively in a team environment;
  • Willing to spend time on the field, working with local stakeholders; and
  • Enjoy working in an international environment and produce deliverables in English.

Terms of employment

This is a full-time position and available for Vietnamese nationals based in Hanoi, Vietnam. Contracts are issued and renewed annually, based on performance and availability of resources. This position is subjected to an initial two-month probation period and is graded at a level BG6 in a scale of 14 levels being BG14 the highest level. The Alliance of Bioversity International and CIAT is an equal opportunity employer and strives for staff diversity.

Applications To be considered for this position, please send an email to (Mr. Brice Even, Specialist) and (Ms. To Mai Trang, HR Unit) with the subject line “Application – Research Associate for FECB – Candidate’s full name”. In your email, please include:

  1. A cover letter illustrating your motivation to apply and suitability for the above position against the listed qualifications and work responsibilities. It would be highly appreciated if you shortly explain in a couple of sentences an example of how you developed a solution for a certain target group.
  2. A detailed curriculum vitae, including the names and email addresses of two professional referees who have worked either as your professional or academic supervisors and are knowledgeable about your skills and professional abilities.

This position is urgent and will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found. Only qualified applicants with relevant skills and experience will be contacted. We recommend applying as soon as possible and no later 4 April 2022.

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