Research Associate - Pathologist Job Vacancy in Nairobi, Kenya

International Potato Center 

Position Title: Research Associate - Pathologist

The International Potato Center (CIP) is looking for a dynamic and experienced Research Associate - Pathologist, to support the pest and disease diagnostics of root and tuber crops of various projects and initiatives aimed at strengthening seed value chains, quality control to improve farmers’ access to high-quality seeds, and increasing the productivity of root and tuber crops in Africa.

The Research Associate will be supervised by the supervised by Senior Scientist based in Nairobi, Kenya.

About CIP

CIP, a member of the One CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. One CGIAR science is dedicated to transforming food, land and water systems in a climate crisis, and it is carried out by 13 CGIAR Centers/Alliances in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector.

Root and tuber crops are highly food security and cash crops in Africa. Smallholder farmers' access to good quality planting materials is hampered by the lack of technical human capacity and infrastructure to support the planting material’s quality and health. The root and tuber crops value chain suffer from the limited capacity of the seed sector, poor coordination, and a lack of updated quality assurance mechanisms. CIP is working with public and private sector partners to enhance the production, promotion, and uptake of quality seed potatoes of new varieties through novel improvements in seed quality control and delivery mechanisms in the country. The new Research Assistant (RA) will support capacity building of public and private partners, researchers on the production of high quality of disease free planting materials. The RA will support other projects including USAID Sudan, PASTA II, TAAT Comoros, and initiatives such as SEEDQUAL and Plant Health.

About the role:

This position will support the pest and disease diagnostics of root and tuber crops of various projects and initiatives aimed at strengthening seed value chains, quality control to improve farmers’ access to high-quality seeds, and increasing the productivity of root and tuber crops in Africa. More specifically, the Research Associate will:

  • Undertake training and capacity building of stakeholders in the target area on pest and disease (PCN, Ralstonia and viruses) diagnostics of root and tuber crops using ELISA, PCR, LAMP assay, microscopy and morphological diagnostic methods
  • Provide technical backstopping and training to public and private seed quality assurance service providers on seed quality management assurance process and procedures for vegetatively propagated crop
  • Provide technical backstopping and training to seed producers on certified or quality assured planting materials production and compliance with inspection and certification protocols,
  • Develop and implement plant diagnostic or prevention programs and plans, conduct, analyze, interpret and trouble shoot diagnostic results.
  • Provide information on integrated approaches to monitoring, managing and controlling root and tuber crops pests/disease
  • Provide advice and recommendations on all safety aspects for transport, handling, storage, usage and disposal of pesticides/fungicides/nematicides
  • Provide advice and recommendations on timing and frequency of spraying of crops with pesticides for best results while considering environmental safety
  • Liaise with project and administrative staff to ensure timely and effective project management and reporting.

What are we looking for?

  • Master’s degree in Plant Pathology, or Crop Protection or Biotechnology or Agriculture with the focus on diagnostics of PCN, Ralstonia and viruses using morphological, microscopy, PCR, ELISA, LAMP assay diagnostic tools
  • At least 6 years of relevant work experience in a similar position.
  • Demonstrable knowledge and expertise of working on integrated pest management of root and tuber crops with specific reference to quarantine and regulated pest and diseases.
  • Ability to develop and implement pest and disease diagnostic or prevention programs using microscopy, ELISA, PCR, LAMP assay and others.
  • Good knowledge of the field and laboratory techniques involved in diagnosing diseases in plants preferably on root and tuber crops,
  • Ability to interpret and analyze pest and disease diagnostic results of microscopy, ELISA, PCR, LAMP assays.
  • Good knowledge of root and tuber crops seed production techniques, and seed inspection and certification guidelines
  • Demonstrable experience in training and community engagement with public, private partners and farmers
  • Result focused and able to work under pressure and tight deadlines in a challenging context.
  • Skills in statistical research analysis.
  • Proven analytical and report writing skills.
  • Fluent in official language according to country location.
  • Advanced written and oral communication skills in English.
  • A high level of interpersonal and management skills and ability to work with teams.

How to apply

Visit the following link: ( and submit your cover letter and a full C.V. with your references. Screening of applications will begin on Jan 12, 2024, and will continue until the post is filled. All applications will be acknowledged; however only short-listed candidates will be contacted. This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position limited to Kenyan nationals and permanent residents only.