CGIAR is a global research partnership for a food-secure future. CGIAR science is dedicated to reducing poverty, enhancing food and nutrition security, and improving natural resources and ecosystem services. Its research is carried out by CGIAR Centers in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations, and the private sector. The Centers have over 10,000 staff based in more than 80 countries. The System Organization provides governance to the CGIAR System, supporting the CGIAR System Council and the CGIAR Integrated Partnership Board.


The System Organization is committed to cultivating a work environment that reflects teamwork, gender equality, and respect for diversity. It endeavors to foster a multi-cultural environment that is free of any form of harassment and discrimination and that embraces and values individuals regardless of age, ethnicity, race, gender, national or social origin, marital status, or any other form of personal identity.


You can find further details on their website https://www.cgiar.org.



Role purpose

Future-Forward Leadership Opportunity: Chief Scientist at CGIAR


Embark on a pioneering journey with CGIAR as we forge a path toward a transformative future in agricultural research. We are seeking a visionary leader to the inaugural role of Chief Scientist at CGIAR, guiding our 2025-2030 Science Portfolio. This opportunity is a beacon for those who are driven to shape the future, catalyse innovation, and lead global change.


CGIAR: A Vanguard for Global Agricultural Transformation


CGIAR stands as a global partnership, a collective of Research Centers and a vast network of partners dedicated to the mission of reducing rural poverty, enhancing food security, improving human health, and fostering sustainable natural resource management. Our legacy spans over five decades of impactful research, shaping agricultural practices and policies to meet the challenges of climate change and food security. As we look to the future, the Chief Scientist will play a pivotal role in continuing this legacy of transformative impact.


The 2025-2030 Science Portfolio: Navigating the New Frontiers


Our 2025-2030 Science Portfolio is a testament to our strategic commitment to pioneering research and sustainable solutions. It is a manifesto for innovation, addressing the pressing challenges of food, land, and water systems. Structured around transformative programs, it aims to deliver on strategic objectives that resonate with global sustainability goals, leveraging advanced science and technology to foster resilience and socio-economic equity. The Chief Scientist will lead the delivery of this portfolio.


The Chief Scientist: Architecting the Future of Scientific Inquiry


As CGIAR’s inaugural Chief Scientist, you will be the steward of our scientific vision and research portfolio, leading the charge in integrating and aligning a wealth of knowledge and resources. Your role is pivotal in managing strategic funding and overseeing transformative programs that empower scientists across all our Centers. This role will lead our research portfolio and deliver on our impact.


Key responsibilities of the role include:

  • Steering the Scientific Enterprise:
    • Craft a compelling vision for CGIAR’s scientific endeavours, ensuring alignment with our 2025-2030 science portfolio, our global strategic imperatives and the global sustainability agenda.
    • Ensure the integration and alignment of CGIAR’s diverse scientific disciplines and capacities to create a unified global vision operation that reflects the priorities and needs across local, country, regional and global geographies.
    • Assess and prioritize global needs to ensure the research portfolio delivers the desired impact, with the ability to diplomatically explain the rationale for prioritization and maintain relationships at the highest levels.
    • Cultivate a culture of scientific rigor and collaborative spirit, fostering innovation and interdisciplinary synergy across CGIAR.
    • Promote cross-disciplinary research approaches within the new portfolio priorities, ensuring that integrated solutions are developed to address complex global challenges.
    • Champion collaboration between scientists from different fields to foster innovation and maximize the impact of research outcomes.
    • Uphold the sanctity of ethical research, setting standards that resonate across the scientific community.
    • Mentor emerging scientific talent, nurturing the leaders who will continue our legacy.
    • Build strategic alliances with key global entities to enhance the reach and impact of CGIAR’s research.
  • Building our Financial Muscle:
    • Generate new funding streams and align pooled funds for visionary research endeavours.
    • Actively engage in fund raising and resource mobilization, working closely with donors, governments, and private sector partners to secure funding for the 2025-2030 Science Portfolio. Our ambition is for this to be a $2B annual portfolio by 2030.
    • Serve as a key advocate and champion CGIAR’s scientific agenda, elevating the profile of agricultural research and its role in addressing global challenges.
    • Amplify CGIAR’s voice and influence, engaging with a constellation of partners, funders, and stakeholders.
    • Represent CGIAR at high-level international forums, conferences, and negotiations, influencing global agendas related to agricultural research and policy.
  • Delivering on Impact:
    • Orchestrate the 2025-2030 Science Portfolio, prioritizing initiatives that promise the highest global impact.
    • Establish robust mechanisms for measuring and evaluating the performance and impact of the 2025-2030 Science Portfolio, ensuring accountability and continuous improvement.
    • Utilize data-driven insights to inform strategic decisions and demonstrate the value of CGIAR’s research to stakeholders.


Key capabilities required to be able to deliver on the role are:

  • Strategic Leadership and Vision
    • Synthesize the diverse scientific disciplines and research agendas into a cohesive delivery for the 2025-2030 Science Portfolio.
    • Ensure that the unified delivery aligns with global sustainability goals and CGIAR’s mission to deliver science-based solutions.
    • Envision and introduce new approaches to the timely, high-quality delivery of the Science Portfolio, improving effectiveness and impact.
  • Change Management, Collaboration & Influence
    • Lead the organizational transition from a multi-divisional structure to a unified scientific leadership, ensuring a smooth and effective change management process.
    • Work in collaboration with the EMD, DEMD, Directors Generals and DDG Research at Centers to lead the delivery of world-class innovative scientific research.
    • Ensure that the benefits of a larger, more diverse group of scientists are felt across all programs, fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration.
  • Political Acumen and Diplomacy
    • Navigate the political landscape to ensure that the Science Portfolio reflects the priorities and needs of themes across different geographies.
    • Engage in diplomatic interactions with political stakeholders at the highest level, promoting CGIAR’s work in global discourse and building strong relationships across a wide range of stakeholder groups.
    • Uphold the highest ethical standards, inspiring trust and treating all people with respect and personal integrity.


The Ideal Leader: A Luminary in Agricultural Research

CGIAR’s Chief Scientist will be a trailblazer with an unwavering commitment to CGIAR’s mission and a profound understanding of the agricultural research landscape. You will be a seasoned scientist with a storied career in steering large-scale, multidisciplinary research endeavours. Your strategic acumen weaving scientific inquiry with policy and practice to manifest real-world impact. Your leadership will inspire CGIAR’s scientific community and brings its research together to deliver on its strategy and impact. As an articulate and charismatic communicator, fluent in the language of science and advocacy, you will engage diverse audiences from academia, to government, foundations, and the private sector, across multiple platforms on the global stage.


Key requirements of the role include:

  • A doctorate in a discipline in biological science that resonates with CGIAR’s research ethos.
  • 15-20 years' experience shaping the scientific narrative, with a portfolio that speaks to leadership and innovation.
  • A bibliography of influential publications and a history of galvanizing research funding.
  • A proven track record in sculpting international research alliances and fostering collaborative excellence.
  • Leadership acumen that inspires, coupled with a linguistic prowess that transcends borders.


Terms of Appointment

This is a senior leadership position (is at CG15 level equivalent to UN ASG level). CGIAR offers an attractive compensation package, with favourable taxation arrangements as applicable in the country of the duty station, comprehensive employee benefits comprising extensive insurance coverage, a non-contributory retirement plan, education grant, and relocation support for the staff member and eligible dependents. The successful candidate will be offered an initial 3- year contract, renewable. Confirmation of the contract is subject to a probationary period of one year.



The Chief Scientist will be based anywhere in the Global South, with significant operations by any CGIAR Center. They will be expected to travel substantially in this role.


How to Apply

To apply for this position, please ensure you complete the Application Form provided below by 02 August 2024 (23:59 hrs, GMT +2). It is essential that you submit your CV in English, specifically in Microsoft Word format (.doc/.docx).


Applications in other languages or formats will not be considered.


Rest assured, all information will be handled with the utmost confidentiality.


SRI Executive is exclusively retained by CGIAR to undertake this assignment.


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