Job offer: Research and Innovation Manager for the Fit for Market Programme

In the context of developing its activities, COLEACP is recruiting a Research and Innovation Manager with academic and professional background in Crop Production and Crop Protection to strengthen its horticulture research and technical advisory services.  He or she will have a minimum of 15 years of professional experience, the skills and expertise required by the position, and specific skills related to the context, positioning and values of COLEACP.

Description of the role and tasks:

As part of the Fit For Market programme, COLEACP is seeking a Research and Innovation Manager to strengthen its horticulture research and technical advisory services within the COLEACP team.

The Research and Innovation Manager will be interested in COLEACP, its economic and competitive environment and he/she will be eager to learn more about all subjects related to COLEACP’s mission. His/her approach must go beyond the technical area to best contribute to the development of the organization and its members, as part of the implementation of the Fit for Market programme. His/her approach must be in line with the mission and vision of COLEACP.

The expected result for research and innovation activities under the Fit for Market programme will broker adaptive research and innovation, bringing together the public sector, national and EU research programmes, producers, and multinational companies, to address specific SPS needs in the context of food systems, notably in the area of crop protection and sustainable production.  It will build on earlier work conducted under the EDF-funded PIP programmes to provide ACP suppliers with the crop production and crop protection technologies needed to comply with regulatory and commercial requirements, use best practice, and supply safe food on a competitive and sustainable basis. It may also incorporate new research and innovation opportunities that arise including block chain technologies (traceability), the “industrial internet of things” (data capture and communication), and the “next generation of sequencing” (testing of quality measures), that strengthen ACP SPS systems.

The position is based at the COLEACP office in Brussels, but with responsibility for COLEACP research and innovation and activities in crop production and crop protection in Africa-Caribbean-Pacific (ACP) countries.  Tasks will include:

Coordinate research and innovation activities

  • Work with the COLEACP Research and Innovation Team to identify priority needs in crop production and crop protection in ACP horticulture based on the following:

- EU and ACP regulatory changes, including registration of plant protection products
- Emerging problems and trends, including, for example, new pest problems; lack of available management options or input supplies; non-compliances with plant health regulations, pesticide maximum residue levels, or commercial GAP standards
- Information from the COLEACP Geographical Team

  • Support the COLEACP Research and Innovation Team in designing a research and innovation programme (including screening, efficacy and residue trials of plant protection products) based on:

- An analysis of emerging crop production and crop protection problems and needs
- Liaison with EU and ACP authorities
- Liaison with EU and ACP research  
- Liaison with input suppliers and manufacturers (in particular, plant protection product and biopesticide companies)

  • Plan, coordinate and supervise the implementation of crop production and crop protection field trials in ACP countries including:

- Identify appropriate and qualified local service providers
- Prepare and oversee contracts with local service providers for trials implementation, delivery and reporting
- Supervise the design, planning, implementation and reporting of field trials, ensuring that they are fit for purpose and conform with industry norms.  In the case of pesticide residue trials, this requires GLP-compliant procedures.

  • Support the COLEACP Research and Innovation Team to prepare dossiers towards defending EU MRLs, applying for import tolerances, and applying for local registration of plant protection products;
  • Support the testing of innovative solutions to improve SPS compliance of the ACP horticultural industry (for example, in surveillance to monitor the distribution of pests and diseases in priority crops, improved traceability for complex supply chains involving smallholder outgrowers);
  • Liaise with the COLEACP Geographical team to identify capacity building needs within ACP partner research/innovation organisations (e.g. research institutes, service providers, regulatory authorities);
  • Support the organisation and implementation of calls for tenders for the selection of external service providers;
  • Supervise the Project Manager and external service providers, who provides technical and administrative support to the COLEACP Research and Innovation Team

Inform and communicate

  • Provide relevant technical information and advice to the COLEACP Geographical team and programme beneficiaries, in collaboration with the Information - Communication Department;
  • Participate in relevant technical events
  • Participate in monitoring, evaluation and reporting
  • Support the monitoring, evaluation and reporting of COLEACP research and innovation activities.

This list of activities is not exhaustive. It may be adapted according to COLEACP’s overall work in implementing «Fit for Market» programme, the workload of team members and annual programming.

The Research and Innovation Manager works under the direct supervision of Mrs. Morag Webb, COLEACP Representative and Special Advisor on Sustainable Agricultural Value Chains. Internally, the Research and Innovation Manager regularly collaborates with COLEACP colleagues, particularly, the Geographical Team, and the Information-Communication Department.  Externally, he/she is in regular contact with COLEACP partners.

Required profile
  • Graduate in horticulture/agriculture/agronomy or related discipline
  • Minimum 15 years’ professional experience in the agricultural/horticultural sector, including field experience in one or more African, Caribbean or Pacific countries
  • Experience in crop production and crop protection research.  Previous employment in the plant product industry would be an advantage
  • Experience in the implementation of field trials in ACP countries, including plant protection product efficacy and residue trials according to GLP
  • Knowledge of European sanitary and phytosanitary (SPS) regulations and standards is important
  • Fluency in English and French, both oral and written.
  • The main personal qualities sought are:

- Sense of responsibility
- Strong interpersonal skills
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team
- Scientific rigour
- Analytical and synthesis skills
- Ability to solve problems
- Excellent writing skills
- Computer literate

Conditions of Employment

A permanent contract with competitive remuneration, in line with market practices.

The position to be filled is a full-time position, starting in April 2019.

Based in Brussels, but travel to ACP countries for short-term assignments will be required.

Joining COLEACP means joining a multicultural and passionate team and the opportunity to contribute to the management and success of an innovative organisation, recognised in its field of action, rooted in a solid history and with strong development potential. It is also an opportunity to have an enriching experience within a civil society organisation working in the world of development cooperation and support for ACP countries.

Application form (CV + cover letter + references) to be sent to before 22 February 2019.