Senior Scientist and Coordinator, Biodiversity Informatics Project

Closing Date: 2 November 2007

Bioversity International undertakes, encourages and supports research and other activities aimed at improving the well being of present and future generations of people by enhancing conservation and the deployment of agricultural biodiversity on farms and in forests, with special emphasis on the needs of developing countries. The organization is active in over 100 countries worldwide, and has more than 300 staff working from some 20 country offices. It is one of 15 centres supported by the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR). Bioversity’s headquarters are located in Maccarese, near Rome, Italy.

Bioversity is now seeking a well qualified candidate for the position of: Senior Scientist and Coordinator, Biodiversity Informatics Project. The Biodiversity Informatics project plays a major role in enhancing access to useful plant genetic resources by developing, promoting and facilitating the adoption of state-of-the-art scientific standards, methods and tools. The project is active at the national, regional and international levels, with research and capacity-building activities designed and integrated to support the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) and its global information system.

Bioversity is seeking a Senior Scientist and effective coordinator to sustain and strengthen our innovative Biodiversity Informatics project and strengthen critical areas of informatics research including scientific standards and the development and adoption of tools to support information management by genebanks around the world.

Under the supervision of the Director, Programme on Understanding and Managing Biodiversity (UMB), based at Bioversity’s headquarters, the incumbent will be responsible for the following: 
- Coordinate the Biodiversity Informatics Project and provide technical and administrative supervision to UMB staff working within the Project, at Bioversity’s Headquarters and Regional offices;
- Provide scientific leadership in the area of Biodiversity Informatics with emphasis on genetic resources, and serve as an institutional focal point in this area, working closely with the coordinator of the Global Accession Level Information System and the System-wide Information Network on Genetic Resources of the CGIAR;
- Establish and maintain strategic partnerships for research on biodiversity informatics standards and tools at the national, regional and international levels;
- Lead the development of grant proposals to obtain outside funding for research and related activities, in close collaboration with partners;
- Guide the development of global scientific standards information (e.g. passport, characterization, evaluation and molecular) through collaborative processes involving key stakeholders and experts around the world, taking advantage of innovative mechanisms such as virtual knowledge development platforms and approaches such as ontologies;
- Contribute to the design, development and deployment of a state-of-the-art genebank information management system;
- Coordinate activities to facilitate the adoption of standards and tools for data management and sharing by national genebanks around the world, with a particular emphasis on developing countries;
- Develop and contribute to the production of technical guidelines and training materials on key topics of PGR informatics;
- Ensure coordination and synergy among the biodiversity informatics activities carried out across the organization, including, but not limited to, the development and application of methods and tools applied to genomics, in situ conservation and traditional knowledge.

Minimum qualifications and competencies:
- A PhD in biology and/or biodiversity informatics, or closely related area, or other academic qualifications and experience that are equivalent.
- Minimum of 10 years professional experience in research and/or project management within governmental, conservation, academic or developmental organizations, preferably including work with or in developing countries.
- Excellent interpersonal and communications skills including effective advocacy and consensus building skills, and ability to interact effectively with a wide range of collaborators from different cultural backgrounds
- Demonstrated leadership skills and experience managing staff from multicultural backgrounds and working effectively as part of multidisciplinary teams.
- Demonstrated competency in project management, including both people and financial resources.
- Good understanding of the main issues related to the application of informatics to plant genetic resources management and use.
- Familiarity with genebank management operations and/or PGR conservation issues.
- Successful experience with work carried out in partnership with other organizations.
- Excellent English, both written and spoken; knowledge of French, Spanish or other UN language is a considerable advantage.
- Motivated and resourceful, with a sustained record of achievement, innovation and strategic vision, demonstrated in research products and publications.

Contact details
Applications: A letter of application and curriculum vitae in English, with names and full contact details of at least three referees, including telephone, fax and email address, should be sent to the
Human Resources Unit, Bioversity International
Via dei Tre Denari 472/a, 00057 Maccarese, Rome, Italy
Fax: + 39 066118341
Click here for the vacancy announcement.