Social Design Researcher

CIAT exists to advance science for a food secure, climate resilient and environmentally sustainable future. 

The Social Design Researcher position will assist in developing impactful solutions for farmers in Vietnam and across Southeast Asia by translating emerging research on climate and environment into practical processes and services. We have several on-going projects in the land-use sector that seek to prepare low-income farmers for more climate change resilience and zero-deforestation production. We work with sustainability-minded companies buying in the APAC region, who know the practices needed to adapt to climate change and protect the environment, but need support learning how to improve sustainable adoption of those practices. 

Our aim is to address this knowledge gap using a socio-behavioral lens to understand the social and individual factors that motivate behavior change so as to design sustainability programs and communications accordingly. The Social Design Researcher will work in a multi-disciplinary team that helps these companies interpret and apply socio-behavioral insights from the field to invest in more resilient and inclusive supply chains.

The ideal candidate has demonstrated experience as a social or behavioral researcher, in design research, or using human-centered or user-centered approaches to services or solutions design. Experience in behavior change research from fields such as public health or marketing are welcome. Candidates with no prior experience in social or design research will be considered in case they have a business innovation, social science, public health, anthropology, psychology, or related background and can demonstrate how they have developed a solution for a certain interest group. 

The most important qualities of any candidate will be that they are a self-starter, passionate and motivated by the environmental and social impact potential of their work.

Location: Hanoi, Vietnam preferred. Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam or Bangkok or Chiang Mai in Thailand will also be considered.


Key Responsibilities

    • Manage background and field research, including research design, implementation, and synthesis into final reports. Field work methods may include ethnography, qualitative interviews, and focus group discussions.
    • Collaborate with diverse subject matter experts both internal and external to CIAT, including clients.
    • Design, plan and facilitate project workshops with other team members, collaborators and clients. Provide capacity building and training to field work teams.
    • Support coordination of work across team members, project schedules, and budgets to help ensure high quality, timely delivery of project activities within budget.


  • Contribute to the cohesion and development of the team, proactively identifying ways to increase engagement and opportunities to serve as a role model and mentor to junior colleagues. 


Key Qualifications

  • At least 5 years of relevant professional experience, ideally in a client-oriented company or NGO.
  • MSc degree in a relevant field, including social sciences, international development, public health, public policy, business, marketing, political science, anthropology or psychology. Candidates with an undergraduate degree and significant professional experience will also be considered. 
  • Experience leading experience leading a wide variety of qualitative research exercises, with expertise in applied ethnography, generative design research, business model analysis or human-centered design thinking approaches are highly desirable.
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas effectively, verbally and in writing, in English. Fluent in either Vietnamese or Thai languages also desirable.
  • 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 travel (domestically and eventually internationally, post-Covid19) and enjoy working in an international environment.


About CIAT

The International Center for Tropical Agriculture ( develops technologies, innovative methods and research-based solutions in agriculture and the environment, in order to increase prosperity and improve human nutrition for a sustainable food future. CIAT conducts research for development primarily in tropical regions of Latin America, Africa, and Asia. CIAT is a member of the CGIAR Consortium (, a global research partnership for a food secure future. CIAT recently formed an alliance with Bioversity International, strengthening the role of genetic diversity in food and ecosystems for resilience.


Why you’ll love working here

CIAT’s work culture is defined by a collegial, highly diverse and international team of people who are united around a common cause of using research to address serious threats to environment, food security and vulnerability. Curiosity, idealism and humility are shared values across CIAT. You will thrive here if you share our values for teamwork, empowerment and equal engagement of men and women, transparency, openness to new and different ideas and developing and investing in long-term growth and career opportunities of our staff.


CIAT offers:

  • Attractive compensation package that is commensurate with experience
  • Personal development opportunities such as training, conference attendance and continuing education
  • Comprehensive health insurance and attractive benefits for employees and their families
  • An environment which values work life balance along with the career growth



To be considered for this position, please send an email to with the subject line “Social Design Researcher”. 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 describe in a couple of lines an example of how you developed a solution for a certain interest group, and;
  2. A detailed curriculum vitae, including the names and email addresses of two professional referees who have worked with you and are knowledgeable about your skills and professional abilities.

Posted Date: 12/09/2020

Rolling application deadline. We will close the position as soon as the desired candidate is identified.

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