Colombia: Leader, CGIAR Big Data in Agriculture Coordination Platform

Organization: International Center for Tropical Agriculture
Country: Colombia
Closing date: 13 Jan 2017

Data is much more than simply information: in expert hands, it’s intelligence. It’s already helping accelerate the development of robust responses to some of the most pressing challenges of our time: climate change, food insecurity and malnutrition, and environmental degradation. In agriculture, it’s transforming the world of genomics and crop breeding, and revolutionizing disciplines from genomics to agronomy, environment, and economics. It is helping markets to function, governments to refine policies, and people to improve their and others lives.

And it’s only just beginning.

The smart use of big data will be central to achieving many of the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals. In particular, it will radically transform agricultural research, and the role, reach and modus operandi of organizations like CGIAR –the world’s largest agricultural research-for-development partnership.

To rise to the challenge, the CGIAR Big Data in Agriculture Coordination Platform will be launched in January 2017. It will be jointly led by the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT; – a pioneer in the use of big data in agriculture – and the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI; to serve all CGIAR members and partners.

The platform will be a global crucible to provide access to, integrate and use agricultural data across scales. It will lead the effort to accelerate and enhance the impact of international agricultural research. It will create an enabling environment in which data is expertly managed and used in exciting, innovative ways. It will help develop powerful, disruptive technologies and apply them to give new insights into achieving – perhaps even exceeding – CGIAR’s ambitious development goals ( and contributing to the SDGs.

The Platform aims to achieve this by building strong, innovative, and inspirational partnerships with initiatives and organizations inside and outside CGIAR, upstream and downstream, public and private. As well as focusing on promoting CGIAR-wide collaboration, at its core will be new partnership models with experts and leaders in big data management and analytics across sectors at a global level.

The Position

You’re a guru – an inspirational leader who will play a key role in ensuring the platform achieves its goals. You’re a creative thinker, an unabashed disruptor, and a tireless networker. You have the ambition, vision, and drive more often associated with an innovative startup in Silicon Valley. Your infectious enthusiasm will inspire those around you. You’ll be able to communicate and sell the platform up to board level. You will be able to juggle the demands of recruiting and managing a team of likeminded experts to oversee operations, while providing critical feedback, strategic direction, leveraging powerful partnerships, and maybe even occasional cups of coffee.

The environment you help to build will be one in which innovation thrives, where data becomes intelligence, and intelligence becomes impact.

More information about the platform is available at, and the full proposal can be seen here:


· Establish and lead a secretariat of up to 5 people to lead, manage, and coordinate the overall Platform modules and activities.

· Build and manage inspirational partnerships with a wide range of public, private, academic and development organizations and individuals.

· Ensure impactful communication of the goals, opportunities, and achievements of the Platform to a broad range of global stakeholders.

· Fundraise for the Platform, sourcing funds from private sector, international research and development organizations, businesses, and foundations.

· Identify key strategies for maximizing impacts of using big data in global agricultural development.

· Oversee the core activities of the Platform’s three modules – including (not limited to) the organization of core data assets and their provisions, management of shared services, Big Data in Agriculture Convention, and Inspire projects.

· Collate energizing, game-changing content for the Platform’s annual reports, focusing on demonstrable progress in the use of big data analytics in agricultural research and development.

Technical Competencies

· MA/MSc/MBA or PhD in international development, international relations, data science, business, or related fields with a focus and/or proven interest in informatics and agricultural research, including sustainable development, rural transformation, and/or food security topics.

· Experience (minimum of 4 years) in project management and partnership development, including project design, formulation, implementation, and monitoring and evaluation.

· Experience in data science, agile development, particularly in private sector, a plus.

· Experience in designing and managing budgets.

· Persuasive and articulate, with very good command of spoken and written English.

Role Competencies

· Proven outstanding communication skills, to be used in dialogues with a wide array of actors, such as international organization representatives, members of national governments, funding agencies and foundations, research and private sector representatives, experts.

· Established record of people and talent management and soft skills; ability to inspire others and work effectively in multi-cultural environments across a range of disciplines and competencies.

· Strong evidence of successful networking with public and private sector entities, donor and funding agencies etc.

· Experience with change management, agile planning, monitoring, and implementation of processes and projects

· Experience in the CGIAR System a plus.

Terms of Employment

The position is internationally recruited and will be based in Cali, Colombia, but CGIAR offices in other countries, including IFPRI ( will be considered if a strong case is made.

This person will report directly to the Area Research Director. The initial contract will be for up to two (2) years, subject to a probation period of three (3) months, and is renewable depending on performance and availability of resources. CIAT offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with competitive salary and excellent benefits. CIAT is an equal opportunity employer, and strives for staff diversity in gender and nationality.

How to apply:


Applicants are invited to send a cover letter (two-page maximum) illustrating their suitability for the above position against the listed qualifications, competencies, skills together with a two-page curriculum vitae, including names and addresses of at least 3 (and no more than 5) referees knowledgeable about the candidate´s professional qualifications and work experience. Applicants are invited to visit to submit applications for this position:

a) Clearly indicating Big Data in Agriculture Platform Leader as the position title; and

b) Saving the application letter and CV as one document in pdf format.

To learn more about this position please contact Andy Jarvis @

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