Research Associate -virology At International Potato Center

Research Associate

The International Potato Center (CIP) is seeking a Research Associate -virology, to be based in Namulonge, Uganda.

About CIP

CIP is a not-for-profit international agricultural research organization with a global mandate to conduct research on potatoes, sweet potatoes, Andean root and tuber crops, and sustainable management of natural resources. CIP’s vision is to contribute from its areas of expertise to the fulfillment of the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), in particular those goals that relate to poverty, hunger, child and maternal mortality, and sustainable development. CIP has its headquarters in Lima, Peru with staff and activities in locations across Africa, Asia and Latin America. CIP, a member of the One CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food-secure future. One CGIAR science is dedicated to transforming food, land and water systems in a climate crisis, and it is carried out by 13 CGIAR Centers/Alliances in close collaboration with hundreds of partners, including national and regional research institutes, civil society organizations, academia, development organizations and the private sector.

About the role

Viral diseases remain a major constraint to sweetpotato production across sub-Saharan with SPVD considered as the most devastating. Apart from SPVD, several studies have reported a group of viruses belonging to the genus Begomovirus of the Geminiviridae family in farmers’ fields across the region. Although breeding for resistance to viruses has been a key target of sweetpotato breeding programs across SSA, focus has mainly been on resistance to the highly symptomatic SPVD and its individual casual agents (SPFMV and SPCSV), overlooking the mostly asymptomatic Begomovirus. However, the magnitude of yield losses reported for these viruses in susceptible genotypes raises the need to identify sources of resistance alleles in the germplasm used by the sweetpotato breeding programmes for introgression into elite commercial/farmer preferred genotypes.

This position will focus on identifying novel sources of alleles for sweetpotato resistance to Begomoviruses in founder genotypes, wild relatives of sweetpotato and advanced clones from the sweetpotato breeding programmes in Uganda, measure their stability across environments and increase their frequency in a pre-breeding population that can be exploited for population improvement and variety development.

Key Responsibilities:

  • Assemble & maintain virus indexed plant materials for founders, advanced clones, and wild relatives of sweetpotato.
  • Collect and maintain insect transmission vectors.
  • Collect, purify, maintain, and multiply isolates of Begomoviruses.
  • Conduct screenhouse & field evaluations of the sweetpotato breeding founders, advanced clones, and wild relatives for response to Begomoviruses.
  • Support the introgression of Begomoviruse resistance into a pre-breeding trait deployment pipeline.
  • Write scientific papers describing your research findings and present them at conferences.

What are we looking for?

  • MSc degree in virology, microbiology, or related field, or related discipline.
  • At least three years of experience is required.
  • Experience with sweetpotato virus research
  • Experience with using loop mediated isothermal amplification (LAMP) assay.
  • Extensive knowledge of virology principles, methods, and techniques
  • Ability to design and execute experiments independently.
  • Excellent writing and verbal communication skills
  • Strong organizational and time-management skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal communication and good personal organization skills.
  • Advanced written and oral communication skills in English.

Why should you consider this opportunity?

  • CIP works with partners in over 20 countries to improve diets and incomes of poor people in Africa, Asia and Latin America through scientific research, innovation, and capacity strengthening.
  • CIP’s programs seek to strengthen broader agri-food systems to generate economic, social, and nutritional benefits for farmers, enterprises and consumers emphasizing the priorities of women and youth in particular.
  • CIP emphasizes the synergies between social and bio-physical sciences as a core strategy for making breakthroughs in our understanding of complex development challenges in food and agriculture and for our ability to overcome these.

What are we offering?

  • Excellent working environment.
  • Competitive compensation package commensurate with experience.
  • Fixed term contract of 1 year with possibility of renewal.
  • Work in an equal and diverse workplace.

How to apply


submit your cover letter and a full C.V. with your references. Screening of applications will begin on 07.06 2023 and will continue until the post is filled. All applications will be acknowledged; however only short-listed candidates will be contacted. This is a Nationally Recruited Staff (NRS) position limited to Uganda nationals and permanent residents only.

This position WILL NOT have contact with children or vulnerable adults

Learn more about CIP by accessing our web site at

CIP is an equal opportunity employer. Qualified women and professionals are particularly encouraged to apply.

CIP does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, or training). CIP also does not concern itself with information on applicants’ bank accounts.