Director of Research

Posted: 03/06/2022




IFDC is an independent non-profit organization that combines innovative research, market systems development, and strategic partnerships to identify and scale sustainable soil solutions for improved food security and livelihoods around the world.  



This position provides leadership to subordinate staff in accomplishing the goals and activities of HQ research.  Duties may include:

  • Planning and Directing: Supervising and coordinating the research division activities with the assistance of unit and project managers (e.g., planning projects on a long-term basis, rearranging work schedules to respond to problems and to meet deadlines based on available staff, budget constraints and travel requirements, and shifting program emphasis based on shifting research and development needs)
  • Field Research: Working in close coordination with Deputy Director – Field Research to coordinate research activities in field programs.
  • Organizing: Assigning work to the most qualified person (e.g., making adjustments to work assignments, hiring outside consultants in order to meet demands)
  • Budgeting: Preparing a formal annual budget for supervisory review (e.g., obtaining budget information from program managers, approving, or disapproving subordinate inputs on the budget based on guidelines established by the incumbent's supervisor or funding available, justifying the budget to the supervisor).  Monitoring division performance against the budget.
  • Instructing: Providing advice and instruction to subordinates in order to respond to questions
  • Setting Standards: Establishing quality standards and deadlines for work products (e.g., controlling quality of reports and articles for publication, making assignments based on staff qualifications, explaining standards to be met, working with staff in outlining work steps so that standards may be achieved)
  • Reviewing: Reviewing reports, proposals and documents prepared by staff for overall reasonableness and in detail for complex areas
  • Training: Providing training or input on subordinate training needs (e.g., conducting informal training sessions with staff, approving subordinate training assignments, approving training programs developed by subordinates, identifying additional training needs for selected subordinates)
  • Counseling and Disciplining: Responding to minor personnel problems (e.g., problems with the equipment or office conditions, conflicts between staff members)
  • Appraising Performance: Ensuring that subordinates are productive through review of work and accomplishment of goals (goals are reviewed on an on-going basis or yearly)
  • Other Personnel Functions: Performing various personnel functions (e.g, interviewing new hires, making hiring recommendations, recommending promotions, approving vacations and leaves of absences, receiving recommendations from subordinates regarding new hires and promotions, taking disciplinary action)
  • Assisting in developing proposals, programs, reports and other documents (e.g., conducting research, suggesting innovative approaches for unfamiliar situations, providing technical guidance to subordinates, preparing and editing technical reports, making decisions which support the company's goals and objectives)
  • Performing a variety of other related minor duties as required (e.g., hosting visitors and coordinating their meetings, promoting the image of IFDC through publications and presentations, assisting in special assignments as requested)



This position requires communication skills to review and edit the division's work product and to effectively communicate that work product to the appropriate party.  This position may involve the following:

  • Ability to motivate subordinate staff to complete work timely while maintaining quality (e.g., providing subordinates with achievable goals, responding to staff needs for equipment, supplies and information)
  • Ability to make decisions in order to meet project objectives (e.g., knowing when to hire outside consultants in order to meet a deadline, analyzing a problem in order to provide guidance to achieve goals)
  • Extensive knowledge of the fertilizer sector and the international market (e.g., providing technical advice to subordinate staff, identifying advantages and disadvantages of recommended alternatives, reviewing reports and articles for publication)
  • Possession of a Doctorate in Agronomy, Soil Science, Economics, Environmental Science, or other areas related to IFDC's missions, with a minimum of 8-10 years of relevant work experience.



This position is responsible for making daily operating decisions (e.g., reassigning staff in order to meet project objectives, making recommendations on a project approach, responding to inquiries).  Meetings are held with the supervisor as needed to discuss project goals, problems (e.g., staffing limitations, lack of funding), policies and procedures (e.g., methods to improve operating efficiency) and other issues (e.g, project status, budget compliance, building and equipment maintenance).  Incumbent receives general supervision and work is reviewed by the supervisor in draft form and upon completion.  Errors may result by assuming too much authority and are detected upon supervisory review.  If undetected, errors may result in the company unable to meet its commitments/obligations.  Position supervises approximately 7 subordinates directly and approximately 10 subordinates indirectly.



Frequent contact is made with subordinates to answer questions, obtain information and provide guidance (e.g., to respond to technical questions, to provide advice on the scope of work and project approach).  Contact is also made with outside individuals and groups to explain the division's operations (e.g., activities, goals and objectives). 



The majority of the time this position requires working in a normal office environment with no unusual demands or exposure to hazardous situations.  When traveling to developing countries the risks inherent in a developing country environment apply to this position.

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