Systems Scientist

The organizationThe Alliance of Bioversity International ( and the International Center for Tropical Agriculture (CIAT) ( delivers research-based solutions that harness agricultural biodiversity and sustainably transform food systems to improve people’s lives. Alliance solutions address the global crises of malnutrition, climate change, biodiversity loss, and environmental degradation.

With novel partnerships, the Alliance generates evidence and mainstreams innovations to transform food systems and landscapes so that they sustain the planet, drive prosperity, and nourish people in a climate crisis.

The Alliance is part of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future.

About the position

Through the development of CGIAR FOCUS Climate Security, the Fragility, Conflict, and Migration Initiative (FCM) will promote resilience in fragile and conflict‐affected settings (FCASs) and areas where in or out‐migration pose development challenges. Demand‐driven research will inform partners’ efforts to promote food and nutrition security, climate adaptation, resilience to shocks, and inclusive benefits from food, land, and water systems (FLWSs), including support for women and youth.

CGIAR FOCUS Climate Security is looking for a highly skilled Systems Scientist to support the following research area:

Support inclusion of compound conflict and migration risks to strengthen schemes focused on addressing FLWS crises: conduct research to strengthen evidence‐based decision‐making and improve governance to support anticipatory action initiatives in “compound crisis” situations — which are characterized by a convergence of factors, including biophysical disruption, conflict and fragility, and migration.

Main responsibilities

  • Development of compound risk assessment framework
  • Implement analyses that use data science to understand and model the relationships between the environment, conflict, and migration with a geographically explicit focus.
  • Meta‐analysis and dynamic modelling of FLWS‐related risks to refine a global FLWS–conflict compound risk assessment framework.
  • Development of a risk model, risk assessment framework, and guidance for strengthening risk targeting in climate adaptation interventions in FCASs.
  • Systems analysis and modelling of migration.
  • Statistical modelling and analysis of migration trends, predictors of migration, and impacts of frequent compound crisis events (e.g., flood, drought, or storms).
  • Guidance on an FLWS fragility and risk indicator typology for monitoring socio‐ecological risks and informing early action.
  • Contribute to project proposal writing and bilateral fundraising.
  • Communication and engagement.
  • Ensure coordination and alignment with other CGIAR Centres in the Initiative.
  • Work with other WP in the Initiative to ensure flow and consistency.
  • Engage with partners of the Initiative to ensure methods, outputs, and tools are developed according to needs.
  • Contribute to the writing of high-quality technical notes, project reports, and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Attend events to ensure communications support.

Other duties as assigned

Qualifications and requirements

  • Ph.D. in Systems analysis, Biomathematics, Statistics, or other relevant fields.
  • At least 3 years of work experience post-PhD in the relevant fields or other physical science fields involving computationally intensive research.
  • Experience working with conflict/peace or migration is a plus.
  • Excellent analytical and critical thinking skills and ability to apply new approaches.
  • Proven experience with statistical/modelling analyses and handling large geospatial datasets using R and/or Python is a must.
  • Ability to work both independently and in a team-oriented, collaborative, and decentralized environment, including across teams at several levels.
  • Strong interest in environmental, climate, and conflict-related work with a keen interest to explore new topics and apply new thinking.
  • Ability to work well under pressure and with short deadlines.
  • Previous experience utilizing complexity, systems, and modelling approaches.
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas effectively, verbally and in writing, in English.

Terms of employment

This is an internationally recruited position and will be based in Pretoria, South Africa. The initial contract will be for up to two (2) years, subject to a probation period of six (6) months, and is renewable depending on performance and availability of resources. This position is graded at a level BG09 on a scale of 14 levels being BG14 the highest level.

The Alliance Bioversity-CIAT offers a multicultural, collegial research environment with a competitive salary and excellent benefits. We are an equal opportunity employer, and strive for gender, diversity, and inclusion in our staff, without regard to race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, sexual orientation, national origin, ethnicity, age, disability, marital status, or any other characteristic.

How to apply


Applicants are invited to visit ( to get full details of the position and to submit their applications not later than 5th April 2023, attaching a cover letter illustrating your suitability for the above position against the listed qualifications, competencies, and skills together with a detailed curriculum vitae, including names and contact information of three referees knowledgeable about your professional qualifications and work experience. Both documents in English. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

Note: The Alliance does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, or training). The Alliance also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.

Applications closing date: 5th April 2023

Please note that email applications will not be considered.

Only short-listed candidates will be contacted.