This position is only open to candidates who have completed their PhD studies within the past 24 months and who are US Citizens / permanent residents or cocoa producer country nationals including: Africa (Cameroon, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Liberia, & Nigeria); Latin America (Colombia, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Peru, Trinidad & Tobago); and Southeast Asia (Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Vietnam).
Challenges to cocoa production include a range of pests and diseases, shocks caused by climate change and an acute lack of research investment. Central to the problem of low productivity is cocoa farmers' limited access to improved planting material. Compared with many globally significant crops, cocoa has a very narrow genetic base, with current production relying on just a few varieties, thereby increasing vulnerability and decreasing capacity to adapt to climate change and other environmental shocks. Yet thousands of different varieties of cacao are held in gene banks and in farmers' fields around the world. The key lies in tapping the largely unused cacao diversity that is currently held in global collections and in farmers' fields around the world. A trait of particular importance will be drought tolerance to allow cocoa to withstand longer dry seasons, especially where irrigation is not possible. Initial research efforts on genetic resources and diversity for breeding for drought tolerance and the related issue of heat tolerance are underway, but they are fragmented. In order to identity promising traits in existing collections of cacao and facilitate international access and benefit sharing, Bioversity International is launching a global public-private consortium as part of a research-for-development Collaborative Framework for Cacao Evaluation (CFCE). The consortium brings together research partners, breeding networks, plant suppliers, private sector players and action networks that deliver planting materials to farmers. The work will also be carried out in collaboration with the World Cocoa Foundation (WCF) currently implementing the Feed the Future Partnership for Climate Smart Cocoa program. Bioversity is therefore seeking a highly motivated Research Fellow to provide scientific and communication support to the Cacao Genetic Diversity and Climate Change activities of the Bioversity Initiative on Effective Genetic Resources Conservation and Use.
Terms and conditions: Bioversity offers an attractive stipend and contribution to the costs of living, inclusion in Bioversity insurance schemes, and leave provisions. Additional benefits apply Research Fellows recruited from outside Costa Rica. This is a 1-year full time Research Fellowship opportunity, renewable for an additional year subject to funding availability.
Bioversity International is a global research-for-development organization. We have a vision – that agricultural biodiversity nourishes people and sustains the planet. We deliver scientific evidence, management practices and policy options to use and safeguard agricultural biodiversity to attain sustainable global food and nutrition security. We work with partners in low-income countries in different regions where agricultural biodiversity can contribute to improved nutrition, resilience, productivity and climate change adaptation. Bioversity International is a member of the CGIAR Consortium – a global research partnership for a food secure future.