ILRI PhD Graduate Fellowships - Taenia Solium Control in Smallholder Pig Value Chains in East-Africa

ILRI PhD Graduate Fellowships - Taenia Solium Control in Smallholder Pig Value Chains in East-Africa

  • The International Livestock Research Institute (ILRI) seeks to recruit a PhD student to undertake research on supporting interventions to improve food safety in Ethiopia.

  • ILRI works to improve food and nutritional security and reduce poverty in developing countries through research for efficient, safe and sustainable use of livestock. It is the only one of 15 CGIAR research centers dedicated entirely to animal agriculture research for the developing world. Co-hosted by Kenya and Ethiopia, it has regional or country offices in East, South and Southern Asia as well as Central, East, Southern and West Africa.

  • The One Health Research, Education and Outreach Centre in Africa (OHRECA) at ILRI, seeks to improve the health of humans, animals and ecosystems through capacity development, strengthening of local, regional and global networks and provision of evidence-based policy advice on One Health in sub-Saharan Africa.

  • The centre has four thematic areas: control of neglected tropical zoonotic diseases, emerging infectious diseases, food safety and informal markets, and prevention and control of antimicrobial resistance.

    About the position

  • The zoonotic tapeworm Taenia solium, as the aetiological agent of neurocysticercosis, is the leading cause of acquired epilepsy in endemic counties and has been estimated to have the greatest global burden of any foodborne parasite.

  • The parasite has been identified as a target for control in the ‘Roadmap for Control of Neglected Tropical Diseases’ and the World Health Assembly (WHA) resolution 66.12. We are ‘tool ready’ for successful control and the efficacy of a ‘One Health’ approach to control, combining interventions in the human and porcine hosts have been demonstrated through modelling approaches and within several large scale trials, including randomised control trials.

  • Despite this success, we are still lacking robust evidence for the long-term effectiveness of interventions and to demonstrate that they are cost-effective, locally acceptable, sustainable and scalable. We also require a greater understanding of the wider societal implications of these control programs regarding the impact on other foodborne hazards & neglected tropical diseases (specifically Schistosomiasis and Soil Transmitted Helminths) and on the productivity, profitability & equity of the pig production enterprises.

  • To date, models and intervention trials have demonstrated the need for targeting the parasite in the human and porcine host in order to achieve significant levels of control. Full engagement of pig farmers, including providing them with the responsibility and agency to deliver a safe and quality product to market, has not yet been considered in many T. solium interventions and without appropriate economic incentives farmers have demonstrated a lack of willingness to pay for the, highly effective, T. solium vaccine (TSOL18). Combining a T. solium specific intervention with a context-appropriate vaccination for production limiting disease was demonstrated to be cost-effective in Laos PDR and strengthening the meat inspection capacity to create a dis-incentive for farmers to present T. solium infected pigs to slaughter is hypothesised to have a positive benefit-cost
    ratio for farmers to take up a vaccine-oxfendazole intervention at their own cost.

  • Uganda has one of the largest pig populations in East Africa. The North-east of the country appears to be a high-risk area for T. solium transmission and studies have demonstrated neurocysticercosis in people with epilepsy in this region. This project will model different intervention options to determine the economic impact from the perspective of a range of different stakeholders to inform control programmes going forward.

    Project Title: Taenia solium control in smallholder pig value chains in East-Africa; An ex-ante impact assessment.

    Key responsibilities

    The key responsibilities for this PhD fellowship are:

  • Undertake a rapid assessment of the pork value chain in the districts of interest.

  • Drawing on primary and secondary data sources, use system dynamics modelling to undertake an ex-ante impact assessment of T. solium control strategies.

  • Assess options for private public partnerships and multi-sectoral collaboration and cost sharing for NZD control, including stakeholder perceptions and acceptability.

    Required qualifications:

    Education and training

  • Master’s degree with a minimum average of 60% in all areas of assessment in a relevant area to the proposed research project.

  • 1st Class or 2nd class, (upper division) Bachelor’s degree.

  • Ability to write and speak English to the requirements of the University of Liverpool which can be found here;


    Experience and skills

  • Previous experience of undertaking research.

  • Experience of economics, public health, epidemiology, evaluation.

  • An understanding of food systems, gender science and the sustainable development goals.

  • Previous research experience in economic evaluation, system dynamics models.

  • Previous experience of intervention trials.

  • Ability to work for weeks/months in developing countries.

    Personal attributes:

  • Able to, under guidance, complete independent work successfully.

  • Able to work in transdisciplinary project.

  • African nationals are encouraged to apply.

    Other requirements:

  • The selected candidates will be required to be present for an interview (online) which will be recorded as per University of Liverpool policies.

  • The scholarship will commence April 2021.

  • Willingness to engage in frequent field travel.

  • Location: ILRI, Uganda OR Kenya (with extensive travel to Uganda)

    Duration: 3-4 years, full-time study

    Terms of appointment:

  • This is appointment for 3-4 years, subject to satisfactory performance.


  • ILRI will offer a monthly stipend to cover living expenses in the project location, medical insurance, and cover research expenses and university fees.

  • The successful applicant will be expected to register at the University of Liverpool.

    How to Apply

  • For more information and job application details, see; ILRI PhD Graduate Fellowships - Taenia Solium Control in Smallholder Pig Value Chains in East-Africa

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