Chemical Lab Analyst/Chemical Engineer





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 job currently represents the combination of two positions; chemical lab analyst and chemical engineer. This dual position involves analyzing the chemical components of various materials (e.g., agro-minerals, soil samples, plant tissues, fertilizers) as well as performing duties related to the research, development, production and engineering design of nitrogen and phosphate based fertilizers for various geographical areas. Time will be equally shared (50:50) between the two positions. Any deviation in the allocation of time will require external funding and approval from the Deputy Director – Headquarters Research.


Duties may include:


Chemical Lab Analyst Position


  • Performing analyses of various raw materials related to fertilizers (e.g., splitting, grinding, drying and preparing samples for analysis; labeling, weighing and chemically treating samples; determining the sample contents using various instruments; interpreting data).


  • Performing analyses of soil, plant tissue and leachate samples generated from agronomic research conducted in the laboratory, greenhouse or field experiments.


  • Assisting in setting-up, conducting and monitoring various experiments under the supervision of the Research Scientist - Manager, (e.g., assisting with initiating and harvesting incubation studies, greenhouse experiments or field experiments).


  • Calculating, tabulating and maintaining record of analytical determinations (e.g., entering data into Excel worksheets, preparing quarterly activity reports)


  • Maintaining a neat, clean and safe working environment (e.g., keeping records of waste materials, assisting in disposal of waste chemicals and samples, conducting/attending safety meetings on safe work practices, cleaning glassware used in analyses)


  • Performing a variety of related other duties as required (e.g., procuring and preparing chemical reagents used in analysis, literature reviews, assisting in training programs)




Chemical Engineer position


  • Planning and executing experimental work on fertilizer based projects in the IFDC pilot plants. (e.g., designing the experiment; determining the viability and benefits; predicting variables; evaluating the results; summarizing the results in writing; presenting the results).


  • Performing process control analyses in bench scale and pilot plant scale operations.


  • Assisting in setting-up, conducting and monitoring various pilot plant operations under the supervision of the Research Scientist - Manager (e.g., calculating the raw materials required for pilot plant test work, calculating the flow rates for the pilot plant operation, developing the data sheets, analyzing the raw data taken by the technicians, assisting in report preparation).


  • Working on process engineering design packages (e.g., equipment and instruments design, developing process flow diagrams and piping and instrumentation drawings, and assisting in developing mass and energy balances).


  • Assisting in other duties as required (preparation of training programs, reviewing current literature on fertilizer production, serving as a technical resource for fertilizer production, etc.)





This position requires knowledge of general chemistry, chemical engineering, finance and computer operations.  This position requires the ability to work meticulously to carry-out chemical analyses according to established procedures.  This position requires knowledge of chemical engineering, finance, and computer operations.  Such knowledge is used in designing, conducting, and analyzing experiments.


This job may involve the following:


  • Knowledge of chemistry to properly follow established chemical procedures for analysis in a safe manner


  • Ability to apply knowledge of nitrogen and phosphate fertilizers, engineering, finance, and computers in various stages of experimentation and proposal preparation (e.g., designing procedures, computing data, evaluating results)


  • Ability to design process equipment and instruments


  • Ability to work on multiple experiments simultaneously


  • Ability to communicate effectively


  • Ability to work effectively as a team member


  • Knowledge and ability to budget, plan, and monitor the development of a project


  • Ability to develop a mass and energy balance


  • Minimum of a Bachelor’s degree in chemistry, preferably a degree in chemical engineering






This position requires a knowledge of chemical analyses, reactions, processes and instrumentation that have specific and well-established guidelines and procedures.  Established procedures must be followed precisely and accurately to obtain desired results.




This position makes decisions related to routine procedures (e.g., determining procedures to be used for analysis of material, repeating tests on questionable data).  Work is assigned by the Research Scientist - Manager and as work is completed or when new requests come in from scientists or external clients (may be daily, weekly or monthly).  General instructions are typically provided by the Research Scientist - Manager for routine tasks and detailed instructions are provided for complex non-routine tasks. The Research Scientist - Manager randomly reviews work in process, and typically reviews work upon completion unless the work is reviewed directly by the requesting scientist or engineer.  The incumbent meets with the Research Scientist - Manager to discuss analysis results, problems and scheduling priorities.  Errors in labelling, measuring or miscalculating data during an analytical procedure or engineering work may result in incorrect data, requiring the analysis or the pilot plant test work to be repeated.




This position has external contacts with analysts, scientists or engineers visiting Headquarters for monitoring research and pilot plant test work.  Primary contact is made with staff to share information.




This position primarily works in laboratories and pilot plants which expose the worker to adverse conditions (e.g., loud noise, hazardous chemicals, dust).  This position is responsible for ensuring that safety procedures are followed when handling hazardous chemicals and operating pilot plant equipment.  This position may also involve some lifting and carrying of chemicals, samples (fertilizer raw materials, soil and tissue samples).