Section Head (Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition)

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: 2023-02-10, 1:30:05 AM
Closing Date: 2023-03-11, 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 (SWMCN) 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 reporting to the Director of the Joint FAO/IAEA Centre, the Section Head ensures that the activities of the SWMCN Section and its Laboratory contribute to the results-based SWMCN subprogramme relating to the development of improved soil, water and crop nutrient management techniques and technology packages involving the use of nuclear and related techniques to enhance sustainable agricultural production systems that are resilient to climate change and variability, enhance soil carbon and water storage and minimise land degradation and greenhouse gas emissions.


The Section Head is: a team leader, ensuring the efficient and effective management of assigned staff, physical and financial resources in line with quality management standards and a results-based approach; a technical leader, leading a multidisciplinary team in the Section focused on ensuring the efficient and effective development and implementation of the sub-programmatic activities, capacity building, technical support, policy advice and information exchange for Member States, as it relates to the sub-programme; and a technical officer, evaluating technical cooperation (TC) projects, and providing technical support to coordinated research projects (CRPs) in the area of soil, water and crop nutrient management.

Functions / Key Results Expected

• Manage the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section, providing leadership and guidance to staff, and establishing and monitoring standards of excellence in performance.
• Ensure full coordination and transparency in all activities and deliberations of the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section with internal and external stakeholders.
• In consultation with the Head of the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Laboratory, contribute to the strategic direction of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme on soil and water management and crop nutrition, provide leadership and guidance to all staff assigned, develop the sub-programme and its budget including the establishment of goals, priorities and working plan, and monitor and report outputs.
• Ensure the visibility and impact of the Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Subprogramme’s activities.
• Within the general framework of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme, lead the development, adaptation and validation of nuclear and related techniques to improve soil, water and crop nutrient management practices.
• Ensure the generation and provision of scientific and technical input to the policy and standards development of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programme and other national and international bodies (e.g. FAO and CGIAR centres).

Competencies and Expertise

Core Competencies

Planning and OrganizingSets clearly defined objectives for himself/herself and the team or Section. Identifies and organizes deployment of resources based on assessed needs, taking into account possible changing circumstances. Monitors team’s performance in meeting the assigned deadlines and milestones.
CommunicationEncourages open communication and builds consensus. Uses tact and discretion in dealing with sensitive information, and keeps staff informed of decisions and directives as appropriate.
Achieving ResultsSets realistic targets for himself/herself and for the team; ensures availability of resources and supports staff members in achieving results. Monitors progress and performance; evaluates achievements and integrates lessons learned.
TeamworkEncourages teamwork, builds effective teams and resolves problems by creating a supportive and collaborative team spirit, remaining mindful of the need to collaborate with people outside the immediate area of responsibility.

Functional Competencies

Commitment to continuous process improvementAssesses the effectiveness of functions and systems as well as current practices; streamlines standards and processes and develops innovative approaches to programme development and implementation.
Judgement/decision makingConsults with and seeks advice at the appropriate managerial level when making complex decisions. Facilitates dialogue and development of best practice to support judgement/decision making, in full compliance with the Agency’s regulations and rules.
Leading and supervisingServes as a role model when leading and supervising others. Provides his/her team with clear direction, promotes a dynamic working climate and empowers others. Is open to new ideas and demonstrates creativity in search of excellence.
Technical/scientific credibilityProvides guidance and advice in his/her area of expertise on the application of scientific/professional methods, procedures and approaches.

Required Expertise

FunctionNameExpertise Description
Soil ScienceAgricultural Water ManagementIn depth knowledge and field experience on the use of nuclear and isotopic techniques in soil, water and crop nutrient management for sustainable production systems.
Soil ScienceCrop Nutrition and QualityIn-depth knowledge of the use of isotopic techniques for agricultural pollution and water quality management for environmental protection.
Soil ScienceSoil and Water ManagementIn depth knowledge and experience on agricultural production systems in developing countries, with expertise in the use of isotopic and nuclear techniques in area-wide agricultural water management, soil nutrient cycling and GHG.

Qualifications, Experience and Language skills

Advanced University (Master’s or equivalent) Degree in Soil Science, Agronomy or related disciplines with proven background in the use of nuclear techniques in soil and agricultural water management. PhD in above area would be a strong asset.

Minimum of ten years working experience in research and development on soil-plant-water interactions that influence soil quality, land productivity and water use efficiency for sustainable agricultural production systems at both national and international settings.
Experience in leading functional teams, and management and administration of human and financial resources, programme planning and budgeting, especially in high quality R&D activities related to soil science and related disciplines using nuclear techniques as one of the research tools.
Experience in policy development of soil-plant-water management strategies for sustainable agricultural production systems that are resilient to climate changes and variability and minimise GHG emissions.
Ability to keep abreast of relevant technological developments and to seize opportunities to make an impact on sustainable agricultural production in developing Member States.
Awareness of relevant FAO and IAEA mechanisms and procedures, including Coordinated Research Projects and Technical Cooperation Projects would be an asset.
Ability to develop and formulate the subprogramme and projects related to water, soil and environmental management, and to mobilise extra-budgetary funding for the subprogramme.
Ability to convey scientific information both to scientific and non-scientific audiences in a clear manner.

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 $90664 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance), a variable post adjustment which currently amounts to US $ 40255*, 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