International Atomic Energy Agency
Vacancy Notice No. 2013/212

Position and Grade: Senior Laboratory Technician (G-6)
Organizational Unit: Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Laboratory
Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section
Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture
Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications
Duty Station: Seibersdorf, Austria
Issue Date: 14 February 2013
Application Deadline: 4 April 2013
Type of Appointment: Either a Fixed-term appointment (if the candidate already holds a Fixed-term appointment) or Temporary-assistance appointment (in all other cases) may be offered, both subject to a probationary period of 1 year
CCOG codes: 2.J.02

Organizational Setting

The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications implements the IAEA's major programme on nuclear techniques for development and environmental protection (Major Programme 2). This major programme comprises individual programmes in food and agriculture, human health, water resources, environment and radiation technologies. These programmes are supported by laboratories in Seibersdorf, Monaco and Vienna. The major programme's objective is to enhance the capacity of Member States to meet basic human needs and to assess and manage the marine and terrestrial environments through the use of nuclear and isotopic techniques in sustainable development programmes.

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture assists Member States of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations and the IAEA in using nuclear techniques and related technologies to improve food security, alleviate poverty and promote sustainable agriculture. The Joint Division consists of five Sections, each with an associated laboratory (located in Seibersdorf, 45 km southeast of Vienna), in the areas of: animal production and health; plant breeding and genetics; insect pest control; soil and water management and crop nutrition; and food and environmental protection.

The Soil and Water Management and Crop Nutrition Section and Laboratory assist Member States in developing improved soil and water management practices for sustainable intensification of agricultural production systems and the conservation of natural resources and external inputs through applied and adaptive R&D activities, technology transfer and capacity building.

Main Purpose

The Senior Laboratory Technician reports to the Laboratory Head and is responsible for (i) assisting in the implementation of research activities (development and adaptation of research protocols) for coordinated research and technical cooperation projects of the Joint FAO/IAEA Programmes, in particular in the field of agricultural water management; (ii) carrying out routine and special training for fellows (Technical Cooperation Projects); (iii) collecting and interpreting data on soil physical, moisture and chemical properties, obtained by isotopic, nuclear and related conventional techniques; (iv) database management for dissemination and online exchange of information collected in the Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition Laboratory and Section; and (v) maintenance and trouble-shooting of field and laboratory equipment, in particular in the field of agricultural water management.

Working Relationships

In addition to personal contacts with the Laboratory Head to receive instructions and assignments, the Senior Laboratory Technician works closely in a team with other staff members of the Laboratory and fellows from Member States trained in the Laboratory, and has a regular contact with other staff of the Section in relation to the implementation of projects and training. The incumbent works with technicians in Member States on the installation and trouble-shooting of equipment, located in the Member States, which is used in the field of agricultural water management.

Functions / Key Results Expected

  • Assist in the implementation of research activities supporting coordinated research and technical cooperation projects, in particular in the field of agricultural water management by: (a) carrying out field, greenhouse and laboratory measurements to test research protocols and laboratory procedures; (b) recommending and advising on the selection and procurement of measuring instruments, laboratory equipment, chemicals and supplies; (c) ensuring the safe and proper use of nuclear and conventional equipment by other staff of the Unit; (d) providing technical support and guidance in troubleshooting of instruments in Member States.
  • Provide technical support services in routine and special training to fellows of the Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition Subprogramme (Section and Laboratory) in the field of isotopic, nuclear and conventional techniques to assess soil moisture content, evaluate different irrigation technologies and enhance agricultural water use efficiency.
  • Control and perform special measurements by using neutron probes, water-based laser isotopic instrument and conventional measurement devices in field and greenhouse experiments.
  • Implement calibration and proper quality control for soil moisture and evaporation-transpiration measurements under field and greenhouse conditions.
  • Archive records of laboratory analysis and field and greenhouse measurements by using neutron probes, water-based laser isotopic instruments and conventional devices.
  • Assist in protocol development for laboratory procedures.
  • Manage databases for dissemination and online exchange of geographic information collected in the Soil and Water Management & Crop Nutrition Laboratory and Section.
  • Provide field assistance for the installation and trouble-shooting of equipment for improving agricultural water management in Member States upon request.
The incumbent may perform his/her work in areas involving exposure to radioactive materials. Therefore, as an Occupationally Exposed Worker, he/she must be medically cleared by the VIC Medical Service and is subject to an appropriate radiation and health monitoring programme, in accordance with the IAEA's Radiation Safety Regulations.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Knowledge of the operation of various advanced soil moisture and evaporation-transpiration measuring instruments (e.g. Neutron Moisture Probe, Cosmos Soil Moisture Probe (optional), TDR and Capacitance Sensors for soil water measurement), as well as online weather stations.
  • Knowledge of analytical and isotope chemistry an asset.
  • A high degree of judgement to modify measurement schemes to fit different measurement situations.
  • Knowledge of regulations for radioactive material and of industrial and laboratory safety.
  • Computer skills: Good working knowledge of Microsoft Office 2010 (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Access), applications related to laboratory and field equipment, and basic experimental statistics software.
  • Knowledge of the use of internet-based geospatial information visualization an asset.
  • Interpersonal skills to work effectively in a multicultural environment.
  • Organizational skills: Ability to prioritize work assignments, organize own schedule, perform work independently, meet deadlines, multitask and concentrate for substantial periods of time, especially when working with radioactive material.
  • Flexibility to work in the laboratory, greenhouse and field.

Education, Experience and Language Skills

  • Completed secondary education with a major emphasis in chemistry, physics or electronics.
  • A diploma or equivalent certification from a technical institute in agricultural sciences, soil science, nuclear physics, analytical chemistry or field related to the duties of the post.
  • Minimum of six years of experience in the use of isotopic and nuclear techniques for understanding soil-plant-water relationships, and improving soil and water management.
  • Solid knowledge of operational radiation protection and good experience in provision of operational radiation protection in a laboratory environment.
  • English Language Test (Level 2).
  • Good working knowledge of English essential. Fluency in German an asset. Knowledge of another official IAEA language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, Spanish) an asset.
  • Driving licence (Austrian or recognized by Austria) an asset.


The IAEA offers an attractive remuneration package including a tax-free annual net base salary starting at €47 536 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance), six weeks' annual vacation, pension plan and health insurance.

How to Apply

Internal and external applicants need to complete an IAEA Personal History Form. Internal applicants are required to apply online at External applicants are required to apply online at You can find more information about employment opportunities and working at the IAEA at No e-mail or hard-copy application will be accepted. All applicants will be informed of the outcome of their application in due course. Applications received after the application deadline will not be considered. Applicants who do not comply with the aforementioned application guidelines or do not meet the essential requirements specified in this Vacancy Notice will not be considered.

Appointment is subject to a satisfactory medical report. Recruitment will be on a LOCAL BASIS only. Outside applicants are required to supply to the IAEA or to authorize it to seek all information relevant to their suitability for employment by the IAEA. Testing may be part of the recruitment process.

Applicants should be aware that IAEA staff members are international civil servants and may not accept instructions from any other authority. The IAEA is committed to applying the highest ethical standards in carrying out its mandate. As part of the United Nations common system, the IAEA subscribes to the following core ethical standards (or values): Integrity, Professionalism and Respect for diversity. Staff members may be assigned to any location. The IAEA retains the discretion not to make any appointment to this vacancy, to make an appointment at a lower grade or with a different contract type, or to make an appointment with a modified job description or for shorter duration than indicated above.

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