ICIPE Postdoctoral Fellow (Saprophytic Insect Diversity) Jobs in Kenya

ICIPE Postdoctoral Fellow (Saprophytic Insect Diversity) Jobs in Kenya

  • icipe is a pan-African and non-profit Centre of Excellence for research and development and capacity building in insect science and its applications. Its mission is to help alleviate poverty, ensure food and nutritional security and
    improve the overall health status of peoples of the tropics by developing and extending management tools and strategies for harmful and useful arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base through research and capacity building.

  • Since its establishment in 1970, icipe has become a significant contributor to science and innovation required to meet the health and food security challenges of sub-Saharan Africa. The Centre has achieved this status by developing alternative and environmentally friendly pest and vector management technologies and products that are effective, selective, non-polluting, non-resistance inducing, and are affordable to
    resource-limited rural and urban communities.

  • icipe is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya with offices in Ethiopia and Uganda, a major station on the shores of Lake Victoria, and several other field stations in Kenya. Employing close to 500 international and national staff, icipe also has approximately 150 graduate students who contribute to its research portfolio annually. The Centre currently has operations in more than 40 African countries, and thriving partnerships with universities and research organizations across the world. (www.icipe.org)

  • Africa is among the most biodiverse continents in the world, and prides itself in having 8 out of the 36 recognised biodiversity hotspots. More than 100,000 species of insects are known to be present in sub-Saharan Africa, many
    of which contribute ecosystem services on which livelihoods in Africa depend. Information on insect diversity in Africa is based largely on collections made during the long colonial history of the continent and now found in European museums.

  • Some of this information has been captured digitally in specimen databases. Various global changes such as climate-change, depletion of biodiverse reserves and forest lands and intensive agricultural practices are responsible for the decline of insect biodiversity. Recent estimates suggest that 40% of insect species
    are threatened, with taxonomic groups such as Hymenoptera, Diptera, Coleoptera and Lepidoptera highly vulnerable to decline. Knowledge on the diversity of insects such as the honeybee and other bee pollinators, insect pests of crops and livestock and their natural enemies is widely available.

  • However, significantly less is known
    about diversity and the extent of decline of insects in the soil ecosystem, especially that of saprophytes that are critical for organic recycling. Consequently, value creation is very low. For instance, studies in Puerto Rico have
    highlighted that more than 98% of soil insects, which are largely saprophytes, are threatened. On the other hand, relatively few taxa that are resistant to impacts of global changes are thriving at the expense of others. The emergence of black soldier flies, a saprophyte with great potential to convert farmyard waste into high value protein feed for poultry within a circular economy paradigm, highlights the economic importance of saprophytic insects.

  • There is a critical need to take stock of the diversity of saprophytic insects and organic recyclers, especially those belonging to Stratiomyiidae, Calliophoridae, Muscidae among Dipterans, non-pest termite groups of Isoptera, and Scarabaeidae and Cetoniidae among Coleoptera. Traditional morphological, pictorial and advanced molecular and metagenomic approaches need to be utilised in characterising this diversity. The importance of these saprophytes, especially in terms of their potential for the organic recycling of diverse rural, agricultural, industrial and urban waste generated in Africa, need to be documented. Such efforts have the potential to further strengthen the development of a circular economy in Africa.

  • Hence, within the scope of the above and overall objectives of the Environmental Health Theme, icipe is seeking applications from highly motivated candidates for the position of Post-doctoral Fellow, Saprophytic Insect Diversity. The ideal candidate will support research programmes in icipe’s
    Environmental Health Theme. The
    position is tenable in Nairobi at the icipe Duduville campus.

  • This is a two-year contract, renewable subject to continued project needs, funding for the position, and performance of the staff member. A competitive and generous compensation package will be offered to the right candidate for the position. Furthermore, the incumbent will receive paid annual vacation, return airfare for themselves and their dependents to their nominated home base each year, and duty-free privileges. If the successful candidate is appointed from outside Kenya, he or she will be offered support to relocate to the country and settle in Nairobi, Kenya.

    Living in Nairobi, Kenya

  • Nairobi is the capital and largest city of Kenya, with a population of over three million, hosts all the urban and social amenities, and offers a comfortable, convenient and pleasurable life. A wide variety of excellent international
    schools and well-equipped medical facilities are open 24/7 in Nairobi. The city is also accessible by various reputable international airline carriers. Nairobi has a thriving international research scene, hosting various CGIAR centres, as well as several UN agencies. Although it is important to be conscious of security, Kenyans are warm and welcoming of visitors.

    Overall purpose of the job

    The overall purpose of the job is to:

  • Contribute to various projects related to insect biosystematics, with focus on saprophytic insects in the Environmental Health Theme.

  • Establish the ecological significance of major saprophytic insects and assess their potential as high-value products to contribute significantly to organic recycling.

  • Participate in capacity building and supervision of student research at different levels (internship, MSc and PhD).

  • Establish a cross-thematic research programme on effective harnessing of saprophyte ecosystem services for organic recycling, with focus on a broad range of saprophytic insects.

  • Develop proposals and mobilise resources for strengthening the Environmental health programmes.

    Specific duties

  • The successful candidate is expected to:

  • Spearhead the establishment of a programme on saprophytic insects, with focus on major families in Diptera, Isoptera and Coleoptera.

  • Utilise both traditional morphological and advanced molecular, metagenomic and artificial intelligencebased approaches to establish a robust database on saprophytic insects and their ecological significance.

  • Provide cutting-edge scientific research to develop, adapt, and optimise strategies to harness the ecosystem services of saprophytic insects in Africa.

  • Participate in supervision of student research at different levels (internship, MSc and PhD).

  • Publish research outputs in high-impact peer-reviewed journals.

  • Promote and establish cross-thematic and collaborative linkages within icipe and with national, regional, and international institutions in the relevant fields of research under the Environmental Health Theme.

  • Actively seek and secure external support and funding


  • PhD in Entomology, with postgraduate experience in biosystematics and bioecology of saprophytic insects.

  • Proven track record in the area as demonstrated by publication quality.

  • Ability to mobilise resources for effective research.

  • Ability to create and foster an innovative work environment, including team building to deliver on agreed goals.

    Core Competencies

  • Skills in traditional and advanced biosystematics, especially for major saprophytic insect groups and database development is essential.

  • Additional skills in bioecological landscape ecological assessments and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) could be an advantage.

  • Experience in capacity building through supervision and mentorship of MSc and undergraduate students.

  • Excellent communication skills.

  • High degree of organisation, adaptability and prioritisation.

    How to Apply

  • For more information and job application details, see; ICIPE Postdoctoral Fellow (Saprophytic Insect Diversity) Jobs in Kenya

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