2 Oct 2020

Animal Nutrition Scientist (Nairobi) at International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI)

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The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) works to improve food security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for better and more sustainable use of livestock. ILRI is a CGIAR research centre – part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

Background to development of the Mazingira (Environment) Centre:

Agriculture and livestock systems, including emissions due to land use change, comprise an estimated 30% of global anthropogenic greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. GHG emissions directly related to livestock production, ruminant methane emissions, GHG emissions due to manure management and excretion of faeces and urine to pastures, are estimated to be approximately 12% of anthropogenic GHG emissions. However, livestock production is also a major driver of land use change and land degradation, so that it is the overall dominating source of GHG emissions associated with agricultural feed and food production. For most developing countries GHG emissions from the livestock sector dominate their national GHG budgets.

However, up to now there are no reliable data on GHG emissions from livestock methane and nitrous oxide production, or soil C stock changes in Africa (and limited information in most of Asia), as driven by livestock production, due to a lack of both technology and infrastructure, but also research capacity.  As a result, countries in Africa and Asia have to use inaccurate GHG emission estimates for agriculture, based mainly on research from OECD countries. This hampers efforts to accurately assess emissions hotspots and to target mitigation actions.

To improve knowledge on the environmental footprint of livestock production systems in developing countries ILRI established the Mazingira (Swahili for Environment) Centre 6 years ago. The laboratory is unique in Africa and is the only facility in the continent that is devoted to comprehensively assessing the environmental footprint of livestock and mitigating the effects. It comprises animal and field experimental facilities and laboratories at ILRI Headquarters in Nairobi and at the Kapiti Research Station, a 13,000ha research facility about 60km outside the city.

The Mazingira Centre provides a quantum improvement in Africa’s environmental research infrastructure and capacity and aims at establishing:

  • Accurate and verifiable GHG emission factors from livestock and crop production, and land-use change
  • Frameworks to assess socioeconomic impacts of environmental degradation
  • Understanding of effects of livestock production systems on land degradation, soil fertility, erosion and hydrology
  • Experimental programmes to develop improved ruminant productivity that will simultaneously decrease GHG emission factors
  • Development and assessment of climate adaptation and GHG mitigation strategies for tropical livestock systems


  • Conduct agronomic, livestock productivity and greenhouse gas (GHG) measurements for different livestock systems in Sub-Saharan Africa to allow the quantification of system specific GHG fluxes and subsequently to develop mitigation options
  • Manage and maintain laboratory and field facilities, specifically the respiration chambers for measuring GHG emissions from ruminants, including training and supervision of staff and evaluation of data
  • Conduct laboratory scale, mesocosm parameterisation experiments to allow direct comparison of GHG emission potentials from manures and soils for different environmental conditions
  • Write and publish scientific papers and prepare conference/workshop presentations describing results and their implications for productivity, GHG and nutrient management; and contribute to other communication products (research briefs, policy briefs etc)
  • Develop innovative concepts and ideas for further research to address spatial and temporal variability of fluxes, and upscaling of mitigation options
  • Initiate future research projects including grant/proposal writing and mobilizing resources
  • Coordinate research projects that are carried out within the Mazingira Centre at ILRI
  • Supervise PhD and MSc students
  • Perform any other related duties as may be required


  • PhD in animal nutrition, animal physiology or relevant discipline
  • At least 5 years post-doctoral experience is required for appointment at Senior Scientist level or 2 years post-doctoral experience is required for appointment at Scientist level
  • Knowledge on smallholder livestock production systems in developing countries
  • Experience with data processing and statistical software such as R, SPSS, Matlab or python

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

Terms of Appointment

This position is at Scientist or Senior Scientist level (HG 18 or HG 19), depending on experience.  The position is a 3-year contract, renewable subject to satisfactory performance and availability of funding. ILRI offers a competitive salary and benefits package which includes; pension, medical and other insurances

Method of Application

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Closing Date : 15th October, 2020

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