Research Officer I (Geospatial Research Modeller)Job Level: Entry-LevelRef. No. NRS/586/102023

Full Time

International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)

Research Officer I (Geospatial Research Modeller)
Job Level: Entry-Level
Ref. No. NRS/586/102023

Company: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe)
Location: Duduville Campus, Nairobi, Kenya
Contract Type: Two-Year Renewable Contract

About Us: International Centre of Insect Physiology and Ecology (icipe) is a leading pan-African center of excellence dedicated to research for development and capacity building in insect science and its applications. Our mission is to combat poverty, enhance food security, and improve health in tropical regions by developing sustainable pest and vector management strategies. Since our establishment in 1970, icipe has been a vital contributor to science and innovation, addressing the health and food security challenges in sub-Saharan Africa. We maintain operations in over 40 African countries and maintain strong partnerships with universities and research organizations worldwide. To learn more, visit icipe’s website and explore our Vision and Strategy 2021-2025 here.

Position Overview: icipe is looking to appoint a Research Officer I (Geospatial Research Modeller) to join our Data Management, Modelling, and Geo-Information (DMMG) Unit, based at the Duduville campus. This position offers a two-year contract, subject to renewal based on ongoing needs, funding, and performance. This opportunity is available for national candidates and comes with a competitive compensation package for the right candidate. Only shortlisted applicants will be contacted.

Job Description:

Overall Purpose of the Job: The primary objective of this role is to provide critical GIS, data science, and modeling support for the Malawi Digital Plant Health Service (MaDiPHS) project. The successful candidate will be responsible for developing precise rule-based geospatial models for various insect pests, diseases, and weeds affecting different crops. These models will be integrated into the VIPS, a cutting-edge digital pest prediction platform.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Data Collection and Compilation: Abstract, collate, and accurately record georeferenced data for target pests, diseases, and host crops from diverse sources, including the Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF) and FAO.
  • Satellite Data Processing: Source and process multi-date freely available satellite data, as well as other remotely sensed climatic and topo-edaphic variables, to support the rule-based ecological niche model framework.
  • Rule-Based Modeling: Develop rule-based models using observations of weather, insect pests, diseases, weeds, and relevant agricultural data.
  • Ad Hoc Tasks: Undertake any other responsibilities assigned by the supervisor.

Requirements and Qualifications:

  • Education: A Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Mathematics, Geospatial Modelling, Statistics, Information Science, or a related field from a recognized university.
  • Experience: Minimum of one year of experience in a relevant field.
  • Skills: Proficiency in geospatial scripting languages such as R, Google Earth Engine, and Python. Demonstrated experience in handling and analyzing significant geospatial and satellite data. Familiarity with rule-based modeling, Python programming, and data science is essential.
  • Advantageous: Previous experience at an international or regional research organization.

Other Desirable Attributes:

  • Knowledge of common programming languages for geospatial data analysis.
  • Familiarity with publicly available sources of weather, crop, pest, and disease data.
  • Self-driven with strong problem-solving skills.
  • Willingness to train interns in rule-based geospatial modeling approaches.
  • Able to handle minimal imprest.
  • Proficient in documenting geospatial data workflows and compiling reports.
  • Willingness to contribute to stakeholder training and support in geospatial data management and workflow.

Reporting Structure: This position reports to the Research Scientist within the Data Management, Modelling, and Geo-Information Unit.

How to Apply: Interested candidates should apply by submitting the following documents online through icipe’s recruitment portal or via email at

  • A confidential cover letter.
  • A detailed CV, including names and addresses of three referees with their email addresses.
  • A statement illustrating suitability against the listed qualifications, competencies, abilities, and skills.

Expert Tips To Be A Successful Applicant:

  1. Tailor Your Application: Customize your cover letter and CV to highlight relevant skills, experiences, and qualifications that match the job requirements. Provide concrete examples of your past work in geospatial research and modeling.
  2. Showcase Technical Skills: Emphasize your proficiency in geospatial scripting languages, data analysis, and rule-based modeling. If you have experience with specific tools like R, Google Earth Engine, or Python, be sure to mention it.
  3. Demonstrate Problem-Solving: Highlight your problem-solving abilities, as this role requires developing accurate geospatial models. Describe situations where you successfully addressed complex issues related to data and modeling.
  4. Highlight Your Contribution: If you’ve previously worked in an international or regional research organization, share how your contributions positively impacted projects or research outcomes.
  5. Stress Your Training Abilities: If you have experience training or mentoring others, make it clear. This role involves training interns in rule-based geospatial modeling approaches.
  6. Organize Your Documents: Ensure that your application materials are well-structured and easy to read. Use clear headings, bullet points, and concise language to make your achievements stand out.
  7. Thoroughly Research icipe: Familiarize yourself with our organization’s mission, goals, and ongoing projects. Tailor your application to show how you align with our objectives and can contribute effectively.
  8. Double-Check for Accuracy: Ensure your application is free from errors, typos, or inconsistencies. Attention to detail is crucial for a research role.
  9. Professional Communication: Use professional and clear language throughout your application. Avoid jargon or overly technical terms that may not be understood by all readers.
  10. Follow Application Instructions: Apply through the recommended channels, either online or via email. Comply with all submission requirements and deadlines to ensure your application is considered.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Can I apply if I don’t have a degree in Computer Science or related fields?

  • While a relevant degree is preferred, we encourage applicants with related degrees and demonstrated skills in geospatial modeling, data science, and scripting languages to apply.

2. Is prior international experience mandatory for this role?

  • Prior international or regional research experience is advantageous but not mandatory.

3. How can I demonstrate my problem-solving skills in my application?

  • Share specific examples of challenges you’ve faced in geospatial research and how you successfully resolved them.

4. What should I include in my cover letter to stand out?

  • Explain why you are passionate about geospatial research, modeling, and its role in addressing agriculture-related challenges. Showcase your enthusiasm for contributing to our mission.

5. Are applications in languages other than English accepted?

  • We only accept applications in English.

6. Is relocation assistance provided for this position?

  • Relocation assistance may be provided for the selected candidate if needed.

7. What kind of projects can I expect to work on in this role?

  • You will work on projects related to geospatial modeling, data analysis, and the development of pest prediction models for agricultural purposes.

8. How soon will I be notified if I am shortlisted?

  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted, and notifications will be sent as soon as the shortlisting process is completed.

9. What should I expect during the interview process?

  • The interview process may include technical assessments and discussions related to your qualifications, skills, and experiences.

10. Is icipe an equal opportunity employer?

  • Yes, icipe is an equal opportunity employer that values gender equity, teamwork, and diversity in the workplace.

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