Research Associate

  • Contract
  • Lusaka, Zambia
  • Applications have closed


The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a non-profit institution that generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger, malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. For more information, please visit IITA is seeking to employ the services of fully qualified and experienced Zambian nationals to fill up the following positions based in Lusaka.



To assist with LEG4Dev project nutrition and food safety research activities in Malawi and Zambia


  • Identify and model scaling routes for legume integration into cereal and root/tuber crop systems that can deliver improved nutrition and food safety outcomes in sub-Saharan Africa in the face of climate and other sustainability challenges.
  • Enable greater use of biofortified legume varieties for developing food basket approaches to improve the seasonal supply of dietary diversity and nutrition to smallholder farming communities through the following activities:
  • define more effective biofortified food baskets that contain legumes (whether biofortified or not);
  • design (and test in robust designed trials) legume-containing biofortified food baskets and recipes that enhance the uptake of nutrients and reduce the effects of antinutritional factors.
  • engage in an H+ field trial in Zambia of consumers of high-iron beans to determine whether micronutrient levels are elevated in plasma and are associated with health and nutritional outcomes.
  • conduct trials to determine the effects of agronomic biofortification on the bioaccessibility and bioavailability of different foods prepared from agronomically biofortified legume species.
  • Measure the levels of micronutrients (iron, zinc) and antinutritional factors in biofortified and non-biofortified beans (or other legumes) sourced from the point of sale (to consumers) markets in each of the four countries.
  • Ensure that all research ethics approval is in place at national level for all of the LEG4DEV project studies.
  •  Conduct gender focussed consumer/cultural and market acceptance studies to identify highly nutritious legumes for integration into cereal and root/tuber crop systems.
  • Identify and model scaling routes for the reduction of aflatoxin- and fumonisin levels in food and feed derived from legumes and associated cereal and root/tuber crop systems in sub-Saharan Africa through the following activities:
  • Conduct surveys, interviews, and focus group discussions with selected scaling partners to refine further the highest impact research that can enable scaling of technologies/techniques for reducing mycotoxin levels in legumes by the actors in each legume species value chain in Malawi and Zambia.
  • Assist in evaluating the legume crops for Aflatoxin and Fumonisin ( groundnuts) to identify varieties suitable for locally developing aflatoxin- and fumonisin-free nutritious legume-derived foods.
  • Identify post-harvest processing and food technology approaches for the local development of aflatoxin- and fumonisin-free nutritious legume-derived foods and snacks through the following activities:
  • develop and compile recipes for legume-fortified traditional and legume-based novel products, specifically focusing on using ingredients and techniques that reduce the risk of aflatoxin damage to human health.
  • conduct a targeted survey-based study across Malawi and Zambia to understand the pros and cons of aflatoxin-free labeling in terms of (a) exports and (b) domestic consumption of legumes where there is a high potential for aflatoxin contamination.
  • Work with IITA and the University of Galway partners on generation of publication quality stuidy designs, data collection/generation, data visualisation (Figures/Tables) and drafting of research manuscripts for high impactmulti-author journal publications from the research conducted within the LEG4DEV project.


  • A minimum of master’s degree in food science and technology, Food microbiology, or other relevant disciplines from a recognized university.
  • At least 2 years of relevant research experience in food science, technology and/or nutrition
  • Experience in conducting food analyses (e.g., nutritional, microbial, and mycotoxins) and food processing and product development using different analytical methods.
  • Experience in conducting food surveys and data collection.
  • Proficiency in using relevant data analytical software, databases, internet-based tools, and other electronic communication tools.
  • Fluency in oral and written English.
  • Excellent writing and drafting skills
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills.

General information: The contract will be for an initial period of two (2) years. Renewal is dependent on performance and availability of funds.

HOW TO APPLY: Interested applicants should forward their detailed curriculum vitae and cover letter indicating the position and send as One Document by email to [email protected] not later than 1st December 2023 to:

The Regional Hub Administrator

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture

SARAH Campus

Plot 145B Ngwerere Road

Chongwe District Lusaka Province

P.O. Box 310142

Chelstone, Lusaka, Zambia

IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from female candidates.

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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