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Post-doctoral Scientist–Forage Microbiome Nairobi, Kenya-July 2020

Post-doctoral Scientist–Forage Microbiome Nairobi, Kenya

The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a Post-doctoral Scientist to lead laboratory and field studies to evaluate roles of plant beneficial microbes on the adaptation and agronomic performances of Brachiaria grass.

ILRI works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centers dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices and projects in East, South and Southeast Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.

ILRI manages The Biosciences eastern and central Africa-International Livestock research Institute (BecA-ILRI Hub), a shared research and biosciences platform. BecA-ILRI Hub is an initiative developed within the framework of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD)/African Union African Biosciences Initiative. It consists of a Hub based on the ILRI campus in Nairobi, Kenya and a network of regional nodes and other affiliated laboratories and organizations throughout the region. The BecA-ILRI Hub is a modern, state of the art biosciences facility, a suite of shared platforms established for research, capacity building and research related services in support of African and international agricultural scientists.  Further information is available at


BecA-ILRI Hub program at ILRI has been working on endophytes and plant associated microbes of Brachiaria grass (Brachiaria spp.), an important tropical forage of African origin for the past seven years. We have established a collection of over 900 microbes, documented microbial communities, and subset of these microbes have been tested for their potential roles in plant growth, development and resilience to climate change in laboratory and greenhouse environments. Currently, we are examining roles of these microbes for drought tolerance, nutrient acquisition, disease resistance and biomass production of Brachiaria grass in field environment. This research aims at exploitation and use of native plant beneficial microbes to increase availability of quality forage to smallholder livestock farmers in Africa by improving resilience of Brachiaria grass against multiple abiotic and biotic stresses.


  • Microbial isolation, identification and characterization, inoculum preparation, plant inoculations, documenting agronomic and physiological performance.
  • Conduct research to understand how naturally occurring plant beneficial microorganism(s) contribute to the drought tolerance, nutrient acquisition, disease resistance and overall performance of the host plants.
  • Develops and apply environmental microbiology techniques to study dynamics of naturally occurring microbial communities over time.
  • Participate in team discussions aimed at the design of new experiments, reports on results of research including publishing in peer review scientific journals, giving presentations at institutional meetings and national and international conferences.
  • Contribute in grant writing
  • Co-supervise research associate, research officers and visiting scientists


  • Ph.D. in plant molecular biology, plant microbe interaction, molecular microbiology or related disciplines in the last three years
  • Two or more years of research experiences on molecular biology, plant microbe interaction, genomics and transcriptomics
  • A good knowledge of theory and practices of modern biosciences.
  • Proficiency in bioinformatics and biological statistics
  • Evidence of publications in peer review journal and participation in national and international meetings
  • Strong interest in and commitment to African agricultural research and development.
  • Proficiency in spoken and written English

Post location: The position will be based in Nairobi, Kenya

Duration: The position is on 18 months fixed term. The possibility of extension exists pending individual’s performance and the availability of funds.

Terms of Appointment

This is position is at job level HG 16 and it is open to both national and international applicants. ILRI offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes; medical and other insurances.

How to apply

Applicants should send a cover letter, copy of PhD transcript and CV explaining their interest in the position, what they can bring to the job and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of three referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Director, People and Organizational Development by clicking on the “Apply Now” tab above before 27 August, 2020. The position title and reference number PD/BecA/2020 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the online application.

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for ILRI. Due to the volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

ILRI does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). ILRI also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.

Qualified women applicants are encouraged to apply

To find out more about ILRI visit our website at



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