Manager for the African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) Laboratory: Genomics Specialist



About AOCC 

The African Orphan Crops Consortium (AOCC) is an international effort to improve the nutrition, productivity and climatic adaptability of some of Africa’s most important food crops. In December 2013, AOCC opened the African Plant Breeding Academy to help improve the livelihoods of Africa’s smallholder farmers and their families, reduce hunger and boost Africa’s food supply. AOCC’s goal is to use the latest scientific equipment and techniques to genetically sequence, assemble and annotate the genomes of 100 traditional African food crops. The consortium partnership will offer African breeders an opportunity to take advantage of the latest technologies to rapidly advance development of crops that are important to African diets and health.

The consortium includes the African Union – New Partnership for Africa’s Development (AU-NEPAD Agency); Mars, Incorporated; World Agroforestry Centre (ICRAF); BGI; Life Technologies Corporation; University of California, Davis (UC Davis); iPlant Collaborative; and the Biosciences eastern and central Africa – International Livestock Research Institute Hub (BecA – ILRI Hub).

Located at ICRAF in Nairobi, Kenya, the Academy will train 250 plant breeders and technicians in genomics and marker-assisted selection for crop improvement. The work will drive the creation of improved planting materials that will then be offered to smallholder farmers throughout Africa. The Academy provides scientists and technicians a dedicated place to sequence, assemble and annotate the genomes to help develop food crops with higher nutritional value and which can better withstand climate changes, pests and disease.

To learn more about AOCC, please visit our website: is


About the position

To achieve its objectives, AOCC seeks a highly motivated and experienced genomics expert to build a  highly competitive research program.  The successful candidate will have Ph.D. level training in Molecular Biology, or a similar discipline as well as extensive capability in genomics; hands-on experience with library and Next Generation Sequencing (NGS) technologies, targeted re-sequencing, bioinformatics as well as the development of relevant genomic resources is an essential requirement.

The candidate must be highly organised, able to keep track of multiple projects and processes, and be a team player. They are expected to have exceptional communication skills and the demonstrated ability for independent work and self-management.

The scientist will also be required to contribute to raising external funding while establishing the necessary partnerships within Africa and globally. 

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Assist in establishment of the AOCC sequencing and bioinformatics laboratory at ICRAF;
  • Implementation of NGS technologies within the established unit;
  • Oversee the development of relevant molecular resources for breeding to facilitate the improvement of African Orphan Crops;
  • Establish necessary partnerships and strengthen collaboration within Africa and globally;
  • Ensure successful implementation and utilization of technologies and resources developed;
  • Assist relevant research programs to take advantage of the tools available within the AOCC unit, with a focus on the African Orphan Crops;
  • Manage the operation of technologies within the AOCC Unit for the provision of services in the generation and analysis of NGS data to research programs within the unit and in collaborating institutions;
  • Develop, test and implement new technologies appropriate to the developing needs of the AOCC unit;
  • Implement a program to optimize work flow within the unit with a focus on quality, efficiency and cost;
  • Raise and manage the funds for research and to ensure that the Unit remains at the cutting edge of advanced genomics technologies;
  • Provide training for postgraduate students and research staff;
  • Publish in peer-reviewed journals and undertake other writing as required;
  • Prepare communications materials in collaboration with the communications unit of ICRAF; Represent AOCC at international conferences and other fora.


  • PhD Molecular Biology, Genomics, Genetics or any related field.
  • At least 4 years postdoctoral work in genomics, NGS and bioinformatics.
  • Excellent communication and writing skills.
  • Good understanding of molecular breeding is an advantage.

Terms of offer:

We offer a collegial, diverse and gender-sensitive working environment, and we strongly encourage applications from qualified women. This position is remunerated on international terms. The appointment will be for an initial period of three (3) years, subject to a nine (9) months’ probation period.  The position will be stationed in Nairobi, Kenya.


How to apply:

Go to

Applications will be considered until 23rd May 2014. Please note that only short-listed applicants meeting the above requirements will be contacted.

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