Chief Scientist

Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations
Posted on


Senior researcher / group leader

Summary of Duties and Functions


Accelerating and scaling up innovation is fundamental for achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leveraging emerging opportunities for reaching a world free from hunger, poverty and malnutrition. It is an opportune time for FAO to harness and increase its knowledge and expertise, building on its comparative advantage, promoting a more holistic and coordinated approach to address the complex and interconnected challenges facing agriculture and food systems.


In the framework of FAO’s mandate, Strategic Objectives, agreed Organizational results and technical, operational and administrative corporate procedures and policies, the Chief Scientist/Assistant Director-General is an aggregator with convening capacity to improve delivery of results and strengthen FAO’s innovative spirit throughout the organization and in its interaction with others.


The Chief Scientist works under the guidance of, and reports to, the Director-General of FAO through the Deputy Director-General (Programmes). In particular, the Chief Scientist will:

  • Consolidate and strengthen FAO’s innovative ethos, including innovation of mindset, cooperation models and innovation of application by digitalization;
  • Ensure that FAO applies modern science and technology and adopts innovative approaches in management of resources, projects and programmes;
  • Promote innovative approaches in order to scale up the work on the ground and in cooperation with public, private, academia and civil society;
  • Leverage innovation, technology and new approaches across the organization and in support of countries for better results and strengthening partnerships;
  • Coordinate intelligence gathering and medium to long term prioritization processes for identifying new programmes and cooperation models;
  • Lead task forces on nexus approaches in order to look at sustainability issues in an integrated and innovative manner;
  • Employ systems thinking, identify trade-offs and synergies for innovative policy assistance and advice to member countries;
  • Lead the development of an evidence-based and corporate perspective on emerging innovation that includes evaluation of the impact of context-specific innovation;
  • Lead the formulation and establishment of an internal mechanism to foster, promote and incentivize innovations to strengthen FAO's innovative ethos including innovation of mindset, developing champions and promoters of innovation;
  • Lead and oversee the work of the Office for Innovation and ensure the achievement of the desired results;
  • Lead and manage the Office by supervising its staff making efficient and effective internal organizational arrangements;
  • Oversee and deal with the management of risk in all relevant units, ensuring that any significant control weaknesses be escalated;
  • Advocate FAO’s policy position with respect to the areas under his/her mandate and communicate its messages.
General Requirements
  • Advanced university degree in a field related to the work of the Organization;
  • Extensive leadership and managerial experience in the field of innovation;
  • Demonstrated professional competence and management/strategic leadership of a high level;
  • Demonstrated knowledge and experience in the field of food security, agriculture, rural development and innovation;
  • Ability to lead and work effectively with a diverse team of people of different national and cultural backgrounds in an international setting;
  • Working knowledge of English and limited knowledge of one of the other FAO official languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian or Spanish). 



More Information

Posted on


Senior researcher / group leader


Rome , Italy