International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) Seeks to Recruit a Post-Doctoral Fellow

Post-Doctoral Fellow – Science and Practice of Innovation and Scaling

  •  Nairobi, Kenya
  •  Full-time
  •  Impact At Scale

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Post-Doctoral Fellow to advance the Science and Practice of Innovation and Scaling under the CGIAR Regional Integrated Initiative on Diversification in East and Southern Africa (Ukama Ustawi) in collaboration with Wageningen University (WUR).

ILRI works to improve food security and nutrition and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe, and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 11 CGIAR research centers dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, ILRI has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.

Wageningen University & Research’ mission is to explore the potential of nature to improve the quality of life. Under the banner Wageningen University & Research, Wageningen University and the specialised research institutes of the Wageningen Research Foundation have joined forces in contributing to finding solutions to important questions in the domain of healthy food and living environment. With its roughly 30 branches, 7,200 employees (6,400 fte) and 13,200 students and over 150.000 participants to WUR’s Life Long Learning, Wageningen University & Research is one of the leading organisations in its domain. The unique Wageningen approach lies in its integrated approach to issues and the collaboration between different disciplines. The Knowledge, Technology and Innovation Group has played a global leading role in advanced science on agricultural innovation systems and responsible innovation and scaling.


ILRI and WUR collaborate under the CGIAR Regional Integrated Initiative on Diversification in East and Southern Africa (Ukama Ustawi). Led by ILRI, Work Package 6 focusses on scaling innovations and coordinating CGIAR and partner activities in the region through a scaling hub that uses the Scaling Readiness approach to inform, activate and bring to scale innovations that respond to regional or country demand. It is in this context that ILRI and Wageningen University are investing in state-of-the-art science on scaling innovation, as well as in advancing the practice of scaling innovation for societal benefits.

Scope of Work

This postdoctoral position will be hired by ILRI to play a key role in advancing the science and practice of scaling. The state-of-the-art science and knowledge products and approaches are meant to strengthen capacity in practice of scaling across four areas: Understand, Analyze, Strategize, and Operationalize.

Science of Scaling

The science of scaling is a new, exciting field of study that is concerned with better understanding and guiding the scaling of innovation for achieving positive societal impacts such as those defined under the UN Sustainable Development Goals. The postdoc’s research should have a clear link with achieving development outcomes and impacts. Conducting science in support of the design, testing and validation of decision-support tools to advance effective and responsible innovation and scaling with CGIAR and partners will be a central part of the scope of work.

The post-doctoral research may cover various themes and topics relevant to East and Southern Africa that can be more theory- and retrospective-oriented, or more action- and prospective-oriented. Research priorities include (but are not limited to) innovation portfolio management, end-to-end innovation management, demand-driven scaling of innovation, institutional arrangements to advance effective innovation and scaling, innovation and scaling culture change, and private sector engagement. The science should be informed by approaches that promote inclusive and responsible innovation and scaling throughout the impact pathway (from innovation development to scaling and impact).

The CGIAR Regional Integrated Initiative on Diversification in East and Southern Africa (Ukama Ustawi) offers a dynamic science and practice learning environment for data collection and piloting new approaches with CGIAR and partner teams.

Practice of Scaling

The more practice-oriented part of this position is related to supporting the operationalization and implementation and monitoring of scaling approaches and strategies under Ukama Ustawi. Ukama Ustawi is designing and implementing a Scaling Fund which is to support the Initiative in executing its mandate to coordinate and support scaling of CGIAR innovations through partnership with other CGIAR Initiatives, as well as with government, public and private sector. The Scaling Fund builds on previous experiences and will use the Scaling Readiness approach as a framework for designing, implementing and monitoring of scaling strategies. The Scaling Fund will offer:

  • A mechanism to advance the scaling of innovation packages that have a high potential for impact
  • A space to support in co-creation, negotiation and financing scaling action plans
    • Scaling tools and tactics team that offers expertise on how to (further) improve an enabling environment for scaling (sustainable finance, responsible scaling, etc.)

Beyond the Ukama Ustawi Scaling Fund, the postdoctoral fellow will support the implementation of Innovation Packages and Scaling Readiness (IPSR) across CGIAR Initiatives with innovation and scaling activities in East and Southern Africa. This includes, but is not limited to:

  • Contribute to training of IPSR facilitators
  • Support scaling experts embedded in CGIAR Initiatives in implementing Innovation Packages and Scaling Readiness plans and strategies (incl. IPSR workshops and reporting)
  • Coordinate scaling strategy design and support monitoring of scaling strategy implementation
  • Support the assessment and development of innovation and scaling (e-learning) curricula to advance the training of the next-generation of innovation and scaling experts through education and on-the-job training
  • Nurture broader innovation, scaling and impact culture change by playing a leading role in communities of practice, networking and learning events

Main Duties

Science of Scaling

  • Develop a high-level research agenda for the science of scaling in collaboration with supervisors, peers and PhD-researchers
  • Supervise PhD and MSc students, and junior colleagues in conducting scientific research
  •  Conduct scientific research on the topic described in close collaboration with Ukama Ustawi
  • Lead the design, testing and validation of approaches and/or tools that can advance effective and responsible innovation and scaling for societal outcomes and impact
  • Lead the writing of scientific articles for publication in high-impact journals
  • Present scientific research at seminars and conferences

Practice of Scaling

  • Translate scientific findings into practical tools, approaches and guidelines that can support the practice of scaling
  • Co-lead Ukama Ustawi Scaling Fund operationalization, implementation and reporting
  • Contribute to efforts to strengthen capacity on innovation and scaling
  • Support and collaborate with Initiative and Action Area scaling experts in delivering Innovation Packages and Scaling Readiness plans
  • Co-lead scaling strategy design, implementation and monitoring for selected innovation packages with a high scalability potential

Other Duties

  • Contribute to communities and of practice and exchange with PhD students and other science and practice experts in the innovation and scaling domain
  • Contribute to Ukama Ustawi activities that align with the innovation and scaling topic
  • Contribute to activities with the CGIAR Innovation Packages and Scaling Readiness team
  • Provide periodical reflections and recommendations to Ukama Ustawi Work Package 6 team
  • Contribute to innovation and scaling proposal development and resource mobilization
  • Contribute to strategic communication about the science and practice of scaling

Requirements & qualifications:

  • A completed PhD in a relevant scientific field that includes considerable innovation science substance (e.g. innovation science, international development studies, science and technology studies)
  • Experiences in agricultural research for development, innovation and development impact, with a proven interest/ experience in working on gender inclusivity and social inclusion
  • An understanding/appreciation of the socio-economic and political dynamics of agricultural innovation and development in low- and middle-income or specifically SSA countries
  • Ability to ‘think out of the box’ and proactively propose creative research ideas (e.g. translating concepts and tools used in other sectors)
  • Experience in independently designing, implementing and documenting scientific research
  • Strong interpersonal, communication and network skills
  • Good knowledge of English language, in listening, speaking and writing
  • Track record of publishing scientific research in peer reviewed scientific journals
  • Experience in project management (planning, budgeting, monitoring and reporting)
  • Ability to use advanced qualitative and quantitative data collection and analysis tools, methods and software (e.g., machine learning, R, ODK are considered an advantage)
  • Strong digital skills – proficient in presentation, project management and collaboration tools
  • Experience in low- or middle income countries in agricultural/ development settings
  • Experience in facilitating events in a multi-cultural environment
  • Teamwork – ability to lead work in an agile and fast-paced environment

Post location: The position will be based in Nairobi, Kenya  

Terms of Appointment

This is position is at job level HG 16 and it is open to both national and international applicants. The position is a two (2) year contract, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding. ILRI offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes; medical and other insurances.

Applications: Applicants should send a cover letter and CV expressing their interest in the position, what they can bring to the role and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Director, People and Organizational Development through our recruitment portal by clicking on the “Apply Now” tab above before 15 October 2023. The position title and reference number: PD/1164/2023 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the online application.

Other details to provide:

  • A cover letter of maximum 1 page that eludes the candidate’s motivation and fit for the position
  • A curriculum vitae that clearly shows how the applicant fulfills the requirements and qualifications listed above
  • Names and contact details of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience
  • Scanned copies of academic diplomas (MSc and PhD) and associated lists of marks/ qualifications for courses followed

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the high volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts

ILRI is an equal opportunity employer


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