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FARA : Post-Doctoral Fellow - Innovation Systems

FARA and Wageningen University Research Centre (WUR) invite applications for the position of Post-Doctoral Fellow, researching e-Agriculture  for development  in  the  context  of  Humidtropics  R4D platforms  in  East  Africa.Following the rapid development in ICT and the internet in East Africa, a new field of e-Agriculture is emerging which holds the promise of empowerment of local farmers, new possibilities for democratisation of everyday practices through participation, and increased accountability and legitimacy. The aim of the research is to better understand the potential of mobile technology for improving downward accountability and upward legitimacy related to communication and innovation processes in Research for Development (R4D) platforms. The expectation is that mobile phones can enhance inclusive agricultural innovation and development in East Africa if we better understand the nature of the use of mobile phones by various stakeholder groups. The research would cover the questions such as: What hinders the take-off of mobile applications for communication between R4D platform representatives and the stakeholder groups they represent (including attention for different level of resources, age, literacy, and gender)? How are mobile phones and their use shaping communication and innovation processes in East Africa? What social implications – access, power, inclusion, and exclusion – of mobile phones can be identified in local practices? What limiting and enabling conditions of ICT-mediated communication exist in the light of varying socio-cultural, technical and institutional contexts? What can we realistically expect from eAgriculture in terms accountability and legitimacy of innovation system performance; and in what form can mobile technology enhance development processes in R4D platforms in East Africa?PurposeThe Post-doctoral fellow (Research) will conduct the study within the context of R4D platforms in the Humidtropics Program. Humidtropics is a CGIAR Research Program on Integrated Systems for the HumidTropics. This global program targets systems that affect up to 1.5 billion rural people, most of whom operate within smallholder farming systems in which livestock and production are intimately linked. Through R4D platforms, the program aims to enhance the exchange and integration of knowledge and perspectives between various rural actors and scientists, to identify new exciting options for agricultural development, strengthening the capacity of poor and vulnerable people to improve their livelihoods and living environment. Innovations should focus on aspects of sustainable intensification of agriculture, enhancement of the natural resource status, and improving income to smallholder farmers.  The successful candidate will conduct the research in the East and Central African Action Areas of the Humidtropics. S/he will work in close collaboration with other institutes engaged in this research programme and be supervised by the Strategic Priority 1 Leader at FARA plus the chair of the Knowledge, Technology and Innovation group at Wageningen University. Duties and responsibilitiesThe postdoc shall perform inter-alia the following duties and responsibilities:
  •  Preparing a research proposal
  •  Conduct a literature review on communication and innovation processes in agricultural systems as well as the role of e-Agriculture (including mobile technology) in these processes in the African context.
  •  Performing field research on the use of mobile phones by various groups of stakeholders (farmers, policy makers, private sector), and the role the mobile phones play in enhancing knowledge exchange, negotiation and down-ward accountability and legitimacy of R4D platforms in the East and Central Africa Action Area of the Humidtropics program
  •  Organizing regular exchanges on the research progress and insights for further theoretical and practical reflection with actors who facilitate R&D platforms within the Humidtropics program
  • Write scientific articles for publication in high quality scientific journals.
  • Contribute to technical reporting on the project, proposal development and any other duties within the scope of work.
  • Communicating research findings to various audiences (policymakers, scientists, practitioners,private sector, etc.)
Education and ExperienceInterested Applicants must have a minimum of PhD in social sciences, agricultural extension and rural sociology, anthropology, political sciences, communication studies or any other field related to African agriculture development. The candidate should have an excellent record of scientific publications in high quality scientific journals. Proven experience in the use of both qualitative and quantitative tools and methods to understand agricultural innovation processes and African livelihood and farming systems. Furthermore, knowledge of multi-stakeholder processes is important. Excellent English speaking and writing skills with French working knowledge will be an added advantage. Readiness to stay longer periods in the Netherlands and East Africa for theoretical study, field research and writing of scientific publications and other reports. Working independently and using own initiatives to execute the responsibilities of the position. Good interpersonal skills and experience working in multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary teams are essential.Qualified candidates are invited to submit via email comprehensive Curriculum Vitae together with a  motivation letter and names/contact details of three referees to: Dr. Yemi Akinbamijo, Executive Director,  FARA, PMB CT 173, Cantonments, Accra, Ghana. Email: Applications will  be accepted up to 15th  June 2014.Only Shortlisted candidates will be contacted.