Scientist (Climate Change, Mitigation and Adaptation)

Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR)

Nairobi, , KE

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a nonprofit, global research organization dedicated to advancing human well-being, environmental conservation and equity.

We conduct research that enables more informed and equitable decision making about the use and management of tropical and sub-tropical forest landscapes. We help policy makers and practitioners shape effective policy, improve the management of tropical forests and address the needs and perspectives of people who depend on forests for their livelihoods. Our multidisciplinary approach considers the underlying drivers of deforestation and degradation which often lie outside the forestry sector: forces such as agriculture, infrastructure development, trade and investment policies and law enforcement.

CIFOR is looking for a

Scientist – Climate Change, Mitigation and Adaptation


Growing populations in the developing world are increasing demand for agricultural products. Across Africa, livestock production is predominantly managed by smallholder farmers, with dairy representing the most important end market. In low-income countries in Africa, agriculture is the major source of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions, and livestock is a major contributor to this. The growing demand for agricultural products is an urgent concern, as this in turn could result in increased GHG emissions, and degradation of watersheds affecting catchment hydrology and supply of water to rural and urban communities. Implementing mechanisms to remunerate smallholders to increase productivity, thus reducing GHG emission intensities, and protecting ecosystems requires national policy support and the engagement of the private sector. Currently, the development of Low Emissions Development Strategies (LEDS) is an attractive option for African governments and donors, and the agricultural sector is a promising target given their high emissions and important contributions to incomes and food security. However, the lack of reliable estimates on GHG emissions associated to different land uses, impacts on forests and other natural ecosystems, and productivity levels for different systems act as a barrier to the effective implementation of LEDS. CIFOR conducts research to provide scientific evidence that can be used by both public and private sector organizations and platforms to identify appropriate incentives, and can also be used in the implementation of the monitoring, reporting and verification (MRV) required for LEDS. Because of the potential to sequester carbon and the need to address land degradation in Africa, research on LEDS must assess options for land rehabilitation and investments in improved forest management practices. Agriculture is also increasingly under pressure from growing GHG emissions from the non-land sectors. LEDS provide a unifying framework for joint mitigation and adaptation approaches

Duties and responsibilities

Summary of responsibilities
  • Contribute to the objectives of CIFOR’s Climate Change, Energy and Low-Carbon Development CCE) team, by working on research to support the development of best policies and practices related to forests and natural resource management in sustainable tropical landscapes.
  • Represent CIFOR in workshops, events and on other occasions to achieve the institute’s objectives within CCE and the Climate Change Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS) program. 
  • Conduct biophysical research and support interdisciplinary studies on forests and climate change mitigation, as outlined above and as will be detailed for project activities.
  • Conduct biophysical research and support interdisciplinary studies on forests and water, as outlined above and as will be detailed for project activities. 
  • Conduct and support interdisciplinary research on sustainable forest management, value chains and their impact on climate change and LEDS, as detailed for projects activities.
  • Contribute to the analysis of national climate mitigation strategies. 
  • Explore funding opportunities and lead and contribute to new research proposals. 
  • Develop partnerships with national and international partners to jointly develop research questions and provide a trust basis for later knowledge uptake on the partner side.
  • Undertake capacity building of CIFOR’s nationally and internationally recruited staff.
  • Publish research findings in peer-reviewed journals. 
  • Assist the Team Leader of CCE with fundraising activities.
Details of duties, assignments and objectives will be further discussed and laid out in the staff member’s annual performance contract.

Education, knowledge and experience

• PhD in Forestry or Environmental Sciences
• At least 7 years of professional work experience, with at least 3 of those years working for international research organizations
• Knowledge of the analytical biophysical methods used to study climate change mitigation
• Field experience in forest hydrology
• Strong background in statistical methods as applied to biophysical sciences
• Knowledge of the geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing will be considered assets
• Experience in supervision of junior scientists or doctoral students
• Experience in project management and partner liaison
• Experience in fundraising would be an asset
• Fluency in English and French is required. Fluency in other languages used in countries where CIFOR works will be appreciated (e.g. Spanish, Portuguese).

Personal Attributes and Competencies

• Has excellent analytical skills
• Has excellent interpersonal and communication skills, and is experienced in working with multicultural and multidisciplinary research teams
• Has initiative and can work independently as well as in team environments
• Has competency in personal organization, priority setting and managing multiple tasks
• Values the sharing of information and continuous improvement in a cooperative atmosphere of constructive evaluation and learning
• Able and willing to work and travel in difficult geographies and conditions

Terms and Conditions

• This is an internationally recruited position.
• Competitive remuneration is offered in USD, commensurate with skills and experience.
• The appointment will be for a period of 2 years, including a nine-month probation, with a possibility of extension contingent upon performance, continued relevance of the position and available resources.
• The duty station will be in Nairobi, Kenya.

Application process

The application deadline is 30 Nov-2016
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.