Agricultural Water Scientist

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Vienna, Austria 🇦🇹

Organization: NAFA-Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section
Primary Location: Austria-Vienna-Vienna-IAEA Headquarters
Job Posting: 2023-02-13, 3:50:24 PM
Closing Date: 2023-03-14, 12:59:00 AM
Duration in Months: 36
Contract Type: Fixed Term – Regular
Probation Period: 1 Year
Full Competitive Recruitment: Yes

Organizational Setting

The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications implements the IAEA’s Major Programme 2, “Nuclear Techniques for Development and Environmental Protection”. This Major Programme comprises individual programmes on food and agriculture, human health, water resources, environment and radiation technologies. These programmes are supported by laboratories in Seibersdorf, Monaco and Vienna. The Major Programme’s objective is to enhance the capacity of Member States to meet basic human needs and to assess and manage the marine and terrestrial environments through the use of nuclear and isotopic techniques in sustainable development programmes.

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture assists Member States of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the IAEA in using nuclear techniques and related technologies to improve food security, alleviate poverty and promote sustainable agriculture. The Joint Division consists of five Sections, each with an associated laboratory (located in Seibersdorf, 45 km south-east of Vienna), in the areas of: animal production and health; plant breeding and genetics; insect pest control; soil and water management and crop nutrition; and food and environmental protection.

The Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section and Laboratory assist Member States in developing improved soil and water management practices for sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems, the conservation of natural resources and the effective use of external inputs through applied and adaptive research and development activities, technology transfer and capacity building

Main Purpose

As a member of a team led by the Head of the Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition Section, the Agricultural Water Scientist contributes to the results-based sub-programme relating to the development of improved agricultural water management and practices, as well as crop water modelling for increasing crop water productivity and enhancing sustainable environmental protection for better agricultural production systems through the use of nuclear and related techniques.


The Agricultural Water Scientist is: (1) a technical officer and research coordinator, ensuring the efficient and effective development, implementation and dissemination of research, training and scientific and technical knowledge, and assisting in the evaluation and implementation of technical cooperation projects for the IAEA and FAO in the area of agricultural water management and practices for improving water use efficiency and sustainable environmental protection; (2) a technical expert, planning and conducting technical meetings and project review missions, and; (3) a facilitator, working with Member States to meet their national and regional agricultural water management development objectives.

Functions / Key Results Expected

  • Contribute technical expertise to the implementation of coordinated research projects related to agricultural water management, advanced soil moisture sensing techniques, modern, digital technologies, and crop water modelling. This also includes the evaluation of research contracts and agreement proposals, monitoring the progress of projects, the organization of meetings and the publication of results.
  • Prepare guidance and review information documents on nuclear and isotopic techniques relating to agricultural water management for improving water use efficiency and water resources conservation strategies for better production and environment, resilience to the impacts of climate change and variability.
  • Support and contribute, as technical officer, to the IAEA’s technical cooperation programme through planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of technical cooperation projects.
  • Plan, organize and conduct scientific and advisory meetings, participate in technical missions, and represent the IAEA at international meetings and conferences.
  • Develop novel initiatives and collaborate on relevant cross-cutting activities, such as the coordination of work with other Sections and Divisions, international, regional and national organizations, including UN bodies.
  • Perform other activities as directed by the Section Head in support of the implementation of the Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition sub-programme.

Competencies and Expertise

Core Competencies

CommunicationCommunicates orally and in writing in a clear, concise and impartial manner. Takes time to listen to and understand the perspectives of others and proposes solutions.
Achieving ResultsTakes initiative in defining realistic outputs and clarifying roles, responsibilities and expected results in the context of the Department/Division’s programme. Evaluates his/her results realistically, drawing conclusions from lessons learned.
TeamworkActively contributes to achieving team results. Supports team decisions.
Planning and OrganizingPlans and organizes his/her own work in support of achieving the team or Section’s priorities. Takes into account potential changes and proposes contingency plans.

Functional Competencies

Commitment to continuous process improvementPlans and executes activities in the context of quality and risk management and identifies opportunities for process, system and structural improvement, as well as improving current practices. Analyses processes and procedures, and proposes improvements.
Judgement/decision makingConsults with supervisor/manager and takes decisions in full compliance with the Agency’s regulations and rules. Makes decisions reflecting best practice and professional theories and standards.
Technical/scientific credibilityEnsures that work is in compliance with internationally accepted professional standards and scientific methods. Provides scientifically/technically accepted information that is credible and reliable.

Asset Expertise

FunctionNameExpertise Description
PhysicsApplication of Isotopes and Radiation in Food and Agriculture and EnvironmentIn-depth practical knowledge on the use of nuclear (e.g cosmic ray neutron and gamma ray sensors), and isotopic techniques, for soil moisture measurements, soil evaporation and crop transpiration determination at both field and landscape level.
Soil ScienceEnvironmental samplingExpertise in crop water modelling and simulation for improving irrigation and water management.
Soil ScienceSoil and Water ManagementGood understanding of agricultural crop production and the global problems associated with soil and water management and climate-smart agriculture in developing countries.

Qualifications, Experience and Language skills

Master’s Degree – Advanced university degree in agriculture, agronomy, soil sciences, water resource management or related disciplines. PhD in the above-mentioned disciplines is an asset.

Minimum seven years of directly relevant experience, at both national and international levels. Experience in developing countries is an asset.
Proven track record in high quality research related to soil science, water management, agronomy and related disciplines using nuclear techniques as one of research tools.
Experience in international project management and coordination, including in the formulation and delivery of outcome-oriented projects.
Ability to formulate and undertake research programmes and projects at both field and landscape levels and to mobilize extra-budgetary research and development funding.
Awareness of relevant FAO and IAEA mechanisms and procedures, including Coordinated Research Projects and Technical Cooperation Projects highly desirable.
Strong presentation and communication skills and ability to communicate project results effectively to diverse audiences.
Excellent oral and written command of English. Knowledge of other official IAEA languages is an asset.
Strong skills in using Windows, Microsoft Office, databases and data analysis tools, including web-based resources.

Excellent oral and written command of English. Knowledge of other official IAEA languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) is an asset.


The IAEA offers an attractive remuneration package including a tax-free annual net base salary starting at US $77326 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance), a variable post adjustment which currently amounts to US $ 32786*, dependency benefits, rental subsidyeducation grantrelocation and repatriation expenses; 6 weeks’ annual vacation, home leavepension plan and health insurance

Applications from qualified women and candidates from developing countries are encouraged

Applicants should be aware that IAEA staff members are international civil servants and may not accept instructions from any other authority. The IAEA is committed to applying the highest ethical standards in carrying out its mandate. As part of the United Nations common system, the IAEA subscribes to the following core ethical standards (or values): IntegrityProfessionalism and Respect for diversity. Staff members may be assigned to any location. The IAEA retains the discretion not to make any appointment to this vacancy, to make an appointment at a lower grade or with a different contract type, or to make an appointment with a modified job description or for shorter duration than indicated above. Testing may be part of the recruitment process





IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development