Vacancy Notice No. 2010/118

Position and Grade: Food Safety Specialist (Veterinary Drug Residues) (P-4)
Organizational Unit: Food and Environmental Protection Section
Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture
Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications
Duty Station: Vienna, Austria
Issue Date: 15 October 2010
Application Deadline: 29 November 2010
Type/Duration of Appointment: Fixed term, 3 years (subject to a probationary period of 1 year)

Organizational Setting

The Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture is in the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications at the IAEA in Vienna, Austria. The Joint Division assists Member States of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) and the IAEA in using nuclear techniques and related technologies to improve food security, alleviate poverty and to promote sustainable agriculture. It does so by coordinating and supporting research, providing technical and advisory services, laboratory support and training, and collecting, analysing and disseminating information.

The Joint Division consists of five sections, each with an associated laboratory, in the areas of: food and environmental protection; animal production and health; plant breeding and genetics; insect pest control; and, soil and water management and crop nutrition. The five associated laboratories are located at the FAO/IAEA agriculture and biotechnology laboratories in Seibersdorf, 45 km southeast of Vienna. The laboratories undertake strategic and applied research within an agreed programme and provide training for scientists from developing Member States and analytical and other laboratory services.

The food and environmental protection subprogramme provides support to countries in their efforts to ensure the safety and quality of food and agricultural commodities while at the same time facilitating international trade in foods. A primary objective of the subprogramme is to improve Member State laboratory practices and analytical methodologies in order to enhance food safety and quality control systems through the development and application of international standards. In this context, an ongoing focus is on the development and application of sampling methodologies and analytical techniques to detect, monitor, trace and control veterinary drug residues in foods.

The Food Safety Specialist reports to the Head of the Food and Environmental Protection Section and works in a team environment with other professionals in the subprogramme, including those in the Food and Environmental Protection Laboratory. Duties are undertaken in the Food and Environmental Protection Section and include frequent international travel.

Main purpose

As a member of a team led by the Section Head, the Food Safety Specialist contributes to a results based programme in response to Member States' priorities in the application of nuclear technologies to meet their food security goals as related to the control of residues of veterinary drugs in foods within the general context of improving food quality and safety and facilitating international trade in foods.


The Food Safety Specialist is: (1) a technical officer and research coordinator, ensuring the efficient and effective development, implementation and dissemination of research, training and scientific and technical knowledge, and assisting in the evaluation and implementation of technical cooperation projects for the IAEA and FAO; (2) a technical expert, planning and conducting technical meetings and project review missions; (3) a facilitator, working with Member States to meet their national and regional agricultural development objectives, and; (4) a liaison with relevant stakeholders on issues related to the transfer of sampling strategies and analytical methodologies to Member States.


The Food Safety Specialist engages with national counterparts in Member State institutions regarding project planning and implementation so as to ensure the effective transfer and sharing of technical information. He/she identifies opportunities for collaborating with appropriate UN organizations, particularly FAO, intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations and other international, regional and national institutions. The incumbent works closely with the appropriate Divisions in the IAEA Technical Cooperation Department to ensure the effective utilization of technical inputs to both programme design and the implementation of field-based activities.

Functions / Key Results Expected

The following functions all contribute directly within the overall context of the subprogramme's objective of enhancing the capabilities of Member States in the development and application of sampling strategies, analytical methodologies, traceability mechanisms and regulations to improve food safety and quality and to increase international trade:
  • Lead the formulation and implementation of coordinated research projects related to the application of nuclear and nuclear-related techniques for the control of residues of veterinary drugs in foods, including the evaluation of research contracts and agreement proposals, monitoring the progress of projects, the organization of meetings and the publication of results;
  • Plan, supervise and perform applied and adaptive research focused on the development and application of sampling strategies and nuclear and nuclear-related analytical methodologies, including isotope dilution methods, screening and confirmatory assays, for the detection, monitoring, tracing and control of residues of veterinary drugs in foods;
  • Support the technical cooperation programme through the evaluation of relevant project requests and by assisting with the implementation of expert assignments, training and the purchase of equipment;
  • Prepare guidance and review information documents on sampling strategies and analytical methodologies. Maintain and update information in relevant web-based resources and databases;
  • Plan and organize scientific and advisory meetings, participate in technical missions and represent the IAEA at international meetings and conferences;
  • Develop novel initiatives and collaborate on relevant cross-cutting activities, such as the coordination of work with other international, regional and national organizations, including UN bodies.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

    Professional expertise:
    • Proven expertise in the application of nuclear and related screening and confirmatory methodologies in the analysis of veterinary drug residues in foods, including radio-assay, radioimmunoassay (and related immunoassay techniques), isotope-dilution techniques, and the use of radiotracers in applied research.
    • Proven expertise and knowledge in the field of international and regional agreements and standards related to residues of veterinary drugs in foods.
    • Knowledge of laboratory management, including necessary infrastructure, and sufficient knowledge to be able to specify the applicable instrumentation and laboratory equipment for procurement.
    • Knowledge of laboratory quality assurance and quality control procedures and accreditation.
    • Ability to formulate and undertake research programmes and projects and to mobilize extrabudgetary research and development funding.
    • Knowledge of the problems of implementing food safety, quality control and traceability systems in developing countries, including a general knowledge of the needs and conditions in these countries.

    Communication skills:
    • Strong presentation and communication skills and ability to communicate project results effectively to diverse audiences.
    • A record of published research papers and reports documenting the ability to formulate projects, analyse technical and scientific information and to write clearly and concisely.

    Interpersonal skills:
    • Ability to communicate project needs and results effectively to experts and national counterparts.
    • Ability to work effectively as a team member to achieve organizational goals.
    • Ability to work in a multicultural environment with sensitivity and respect for diversity.

    Computer literacy:
  • Strong skills in using Windows, Microsoft Office, databases and data analysis tools, including web-based resources.

Education, Experience and Language Skills

  • Advanced university degree (preferably PhD) in biochemistry, analytical chemistry, veterinary science or a related field.
  • At least seven years' scientific and work experience in the application of laboratory quality assurance/quality control procedures, including experience at the international level.
  • Experience in and knowledge of the application of sampling strategies, analytical methodologies, traceability mechanisms and related techniques applicable to residues of veterinary drugs in foods.
  • Experience in research, as well as in technology transfer, related to residues of veterinary drugs in foods.
  • Proven experience in the application of measures to meet sanitary and phytosanitary requirements for food and agricultural commodities, including the application of risk assessment procedures relevant to food control systems.
  • ISO 17025 accreditation experience is desirable.
  • Experience in international project management and coordination, including in the formulation and delivery of outcome-oriented
  • Fluency in spoken and written English. Knowledge of another official IAEA language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) would be an advantage.


The Agency offers an attractive remuneration package including a tax-free annual net base salary starting at US $66 482 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance), a variable post adjustment which currently amounts to US $41 418*, dependency benefits, rental subsidy, education grant, relocation and repatriation expenses; 6 weeks' annual vacation, home leave, pension plan and health insurance.

How to apply to the IAEA

Complete an Online Application

* Subject to change without notice

Applications from qualified women and candidates from developing countries are encouraged

Applicants should be aware that IAEA staff members are international civil servants and may not accept instructions from any other authority. 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 to make an appointment with a modified job description or for shorter duration than indicated above. Testing may be part of the recruitment process.

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