The application deadline for this job posting has passed. Although you can still view the information no new applications for this job are currently being accepted.
Location: NAIROBI, NAIROBI, Kenya
Employer: World Agroforestry Centre
Application deadline: CLOSED
Contact: HR

About this position

If you can contribute to ICRAF’s research on soil spectral methods, especially to further develop experimental and data analytical and interpretation methods that lead to new products, that provide actionable knowledge and evidenced-based policy for sustainable soil management, then you are the person we are looking for.

For over a decade ICRAF has being working on soil infrared spectral methods for rapid prediction of soil functional properties. These methods are now being widely applied in land health surveillance schemes that employ a standardized protocol for landscape level measurement and mapping of soil conditions. The framework is being applied throughout sub-Saharan Africa under the Africa Soil Information Service ( as well as in an increasing number of land management projects. ICRAF has recently extended these techniques to include laser and x-ray methods under its new Soil-Plant Spectral Diagnostics Laboratory, and is supporting a network of infrared spectroscopy labs across Africa.

You will guide our work in the following ways: 

  • Maintain and further develop ICRAF’s soil infrared spectral calibration models and web-based prediction server.
  • Coordinate ICRAF’s growing network of soil infrared spectrometers, including sample exchange, spectral calibration transfer models and training.
  • Lead research on new infrared-based methods and instruments, including field applications.
  • Research combinations of infrared, laser and x-ray based spectroscopy for rapid prediction of soil functional properties.
  • Test new data mining algorithms for spectral prediction of soil and plant properties.
  • Further develop spectral interpretation and automated reporting systems with other stakeholders.
  • Develop spectrally-based soil testing services for smallholder farmers in partnership with the private sector.
  • Publish results in journal articles, assessment reports and web-based forms.
  • Participate in preparation of funding proposals to support the above areas of research.

The successful applicant will have:   

  • A PhD in soil science, ecology, natural resource management or related fields.
  • PhD-level experience in soil-plant spectral or related methods.
  • Experience in database management and multivariate statistical analysis methods.
  • Submitted or published journal articles.
  • Teaching/training experience.
  • Sound knowledge of tropical soil science and land management.
  • Good knowledge of modern soil analytical techniques including proximal (spectral) soil sensing methods. Working knowledge of infrared spectroscopy is highly desirable.
  • Innovative skills in solving technical problems.
  • Strong statistical analytical skills in multivariate analysis of soil/ecological data.
  • Leadership, management and communication skills in multicultural settings.
  • Knowledge of R and/or Bayesian statistical modelling will be a distinct advantage.
  • Experience in tropical developing countries will be desirable.
  • Excellent verbal and written English skills, and knowledge of another language commonly used in Africa, Asia or Latin America will be an added advantage.

Terms of offer
We offer a collegial, diverse and gender-sensitive working environment, and we strongly encourage applications from qualified women. This position is remunerated on international terms. The appointment will be for an initial period of three (3) years, subject to a nine (9) month probation period.    

How to apply


  • A cover letter illustrating your suitability for the position, and your salary expectations.
  • Detailed and up-to-date curriculum vitae.
  • The names and addresses of three referees, including telephone numbers and email addresses, and fax details if available.

Address these to:
The Human Resources Unit, World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF), PO Box 30677 – 00100, Nairobi, Kenya OR send via email to: Indicate “Application for Post-doctoral Fellow- Soil Scientist” on the application letter. Applications will be considered until 30 April 2012 or until a suitable candidate is identified and selected. Please note that only short-listed applicants meeting the above requirements will be contacted.

To learn more about us, visit our website:

The World Agroforestry Centre is an independent research institution which generates science-based knowledge about the complex role trees play in agricultural landscapes and rural livelihoods. As part of the Centre’s work to bring tree-based solutions to bear on poverty and environmental problems, researchers – working in close collaboration with partners – are developing new technologies, tools and policy recommendations for increased food security and ecosystem health.

The Centre’s headquarters are located in Nairobi, Kenya, and research is conducted in 23 countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America. We are supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR) and receive funding from over 50 different donors.