Product Management and Innovation Specialist

International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT)
Hanoi, Vietnam
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
3-4 Years


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

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.

The product management and innovation specialist is a newly-created position as a part of an initiative to direct CIAT’s research outputs into knowledge products that are more usable and readily accessible to a wider variety of stakeholders. The approach entails development and delivery of decision support tools to help institutions and companies address their problems regarding sustainability, particularly sustainable agriculture and land uses.

The position plays a coordinating role between internal research team and external stakeholders. The ideal candidate will be an effective and highly-motivated self-starter with passion and capacity for making the initiative happen, successfully creating and managing knowledge products throughout the entire product lifecycle, engaging with ecosystem partners to establish cooperation in the development of CIAT tools or discover new scaling opportunities.

Key Responsibilities

Facilitate technology development and enhance market potential for better impact of CIAT tools, including but not limited to:


●      Engage with stakeholders such as co-development partners, subject matter experts, and end users in the related domains to understand their sustainability/business priorities and needs, so they can be translated into product solutions that provide positive social impacts and commercial value

●      Translate sustainability/business requirements into actionable user stories; communicate them with research teams to make sure they comprehend and develop tools of high relevance; interact with colleagues in other disciplines to establish a support system that enables and nurtures tool development

●      Negotiate with product beneficiaries and research teams to ensure the right balance between practical application and scientific rigour of CIAT tools to be developed

●      Develop product requirements and specifications including written descriptions (concept notes) of functionality, user interface design, distribution channels, etc.

●      Create/maintain/own the product roadmap and the product backlog for CIAT tools

●      Develop the internal protocols and processes for product development together with relevant cross-functional team members


●      Develop a deep understanding of knowledge landscape, and proactively propose solutions using CIAT tools to address market opportunities and challenges

●      Coordinate across a diverse set of CIAT scientists to identify and recommend an integration of novel components from their research to address immediate opportunities and strategic planning

●      Investigate legal implications of different licensing models necessary for governing distribution of research outputs responsibly and in compliance with institutional and project related agreements

●      Propose improvements in existing workflows, internal processes and external cooperation for better efficiency and scalability

●      Perform project management activities with cross-functional internal teams and external stakeholder

Key Qualifications

Technical expertise and experience

●      A minimum of 2 years of professional experience in product development, product management or product owner activities, preferably associated with digital solutions, products of innovative nature or the agriculture sector

●      A proven track record in building B2B products/services/solutions from the ground up

●      Working knowledge of technical aspects (e.g. product design specification, configuration, integration), common challenges faced in product development and deployment, as well as possible solutions

●      Ability and experience in understanding complex technical issues, conveying them clearly in technical concepts or practical application formats to multiple sets of audiences from different backgrounds

●      Preferably having experience in working with web developers, UI UX designers to create prototypes and products

●      Preferably having knowledge and experience with technology licensing process

●      Preferably having experience in agriculture or environment sectors


Soft skills

●      Ability to work independently, as well as collaboratively in a multicultural and multidisciplinary team environment

●      Ability to manage multiple concurrent projects

●      Good negotiation skills to be used with different internal and external stakeholders  (e.g. negotiating features, partnerships, licensing contract terms)

●      Excellent communication skills in English, both oral and written

●      Demonstrated business acumen to take innovative scientific concepts from design to implementation and scaling for practical and impactful application

●      Empathetic listener used to working with and incorporating diverse perspectives, able to distil new insights and knowledge from unexpected sources


Working style preferences

●      Ability to work with ambiguity and taking ownership of deliverables

●      Entrepreneurial spirit with desire to work in a collegial and intellectually stimulating environment 

●      Strong interest in new technology and trends, especially in sustainable agriculture, with the ability to relate concepts to practical application


●      Strong work ethic and commitment to uncompromising standards of professionalism.

●      Passionate about the position’s objective: creating positive impact for vulnerable communities through research advances

Terms of employment

The position is full-time. Compensation is attractive and commensurate with experience. This position will be subject to an initial three-month probation period. CIAT is an equal opportunity employer and strives for staff diversity.


To be considered for this position, please send an email to with the subject line “Product Management and Innovation Specialist”. 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, 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.

The closing date for applications is 30th of June or as soon as the desired candidate is identified.