International Atomic Energy Agency
Vacancy Notice No. 2012/042

Position and Grade: Plant Breeder/Geneticist (P-4)
Organizational Unit: Plant Breeding and Genetics Section
Joint FAO/IAEA Division of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture
Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications
Duty Station: Vienna, Austria
Issue Date: 3 May 2012 (re-opened on 19 February 2013)
Application Deadline: 1 April 2013
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 located in the Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications, IAEA in Vienna. The Joint Division assists Member States of FAO and IAEA to use nuclear techniques and related efficiency enhancing molecular and biotechnologies 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 animal production and health; plant breeding and genetics; insect pest control; soil and water management and crop nutrition; and food safety. The Plant Breeding and Genetics Section works on the sustainable intensification of crop production systems subprogramme and is responsible for developing integrated applications relating to mutation methodologies and supportive molecular and biotechnologies for crop improvement and biodiversity. In coordination with other national and international agricultural research institutes, it works to enhance Member States' capabilities to increase agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability and to intensify and diversify crop production systems under changing and variable climatic conditions.

The team environment is interactive with other professionals in the programme, including its Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory.

Main purpose

As a member of a team led by a Section Head, the Plant Breeder/Geneticist contributes to a results-based programme in response to Member States' priorities in the application of nuclear and efficiency enhancing technologies in plant breeding to meet their food security goals.


The Plant Breeder/Geneticist is a: technical officer and research coordinator, ensuring the efficient and effective development and implementation of research, training and scientific and technical knowledge dissemination, and assisting in the evaluation and implementation of technical cooperation for IAEA and FAO; technical expert, assisting in the planning and conducting basic technical meetings and review missions; facilitator, working with Member States to meet their national and regional agricultural development objectives; liaison agent, working with relevant stakeholders on issues related to plant breeding, nuclear and efficiency enhancing molecular and biotechnologies.


The Plant Breeder/Geneticist engages with national counterparts in Member States' institutions for project planning and implementation to ensure the effective transfer and sharing of technical information. He/she assists the identification of opportunities for collaboration with appropriate UN organizations, particularly FAO, the Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research (CGIAR), NGOs, and other international and national institutions. The incumbent works closely with appropriate Divisions in the IAEA's Technical Cooperation Department to ensure the effective utilization of technical inputs to programme design and implementation of field-based activities.

Functions / Key Results Expected

  • Formulate and implement coordinated research projects related to nuclear, and other advanced, technologies in plant breeding, especially in environmentally stressed conditions, including the evaluation of research contracts and agreement proposals, monitoring the progress of projects, organization of meetings and the publication of results.
  • Support and contribute, as technical officer, to the planning, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of the IAEA technical cooperation programme, especially in, but not limited to, the field of vegetatively propagated crops.
  • Prepare guidance, review and information documents on nuclear, and other advanced, technologies as applied to plant breeding.
  • Contribute expertise to the laboratory programme in the field of in-vitro culture and related biotechnologies of crop plants and to provide scientific information on the use of induced mutations to other divisions of IAEA and FAO.
  • Plan and organize scientific and advisory meetings, participate in technical missions, and represent the IAEA at international meetings and conferences.
  • Participate in training and capacity building activities for IAEA staff and Member State scientists.
  • Develop novel initiatives and collaborate on cross-cutting activities of the programme; coordinate work with national and international stakeholders.
  • Interact with the Plant Breeding and Genetics Laboratory on irradiation services, research and development, and training.
  • Perform other activities as directed by the supervisor in support of the implementation of sub programme activities.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities

  • Proven expertise in the fields of plant breeding, including mutation induction and plant breeding efficiency enhancing molecular and biotechnologies, preferentially in vegetatively propagated crop improvement.
  • Familiarity with the optimal use of nuclear and biotechnology methods for the induction of genetic alteration in plants leading to the improvement of important characteristics such as yield, plant architecture, maturity time, product quality, resistance to diseases or tolerance to environmental stresses with a focus on harsh environments.
  • Knowledge of high-throughput genotyping and phenotyping for mutation detection.
  • Communication skills: strong presentation skills with 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.
  • 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 skills: Good working knowledge of MS Office (Outlook, Word, Excel, PowerPoint), Windows, databases and data analysis tools.
  • Acquaintance with an enterprise resource planning (ERP) tool (e.g. Oracle e-Business Suit, SAP ERP) an advantage.

Education, Experience and Language Skills

  • Advanced university degree (MSc.) or equivalent in plant breeding and genetics with a sound background in agronomy or plant physiology or ecophysiology related to stress environments (biotic stress an advantage) is preferred.
  • Minimum of seven years of recent scientific experience in plant breeding, particularly in vegetatively propagated crop improvement in developing countries preferred.
  • Experience in international project management and coordination an advantage.
  • Fluency in spoken and written English. Knowledge of another official IAEA language (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish) an asset.


The IAEA offers an attractive remuneration package including a tax-free annual net base salary starting at US $67 483 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance), a variable post adjustment which currently amounts to US $42 447*, 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. 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. Testing may be part of the recruitment process.

Bookmark and Share