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International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

IRRI Representative

About the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI)

The International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) is the world’s premier research organization dedicated to:

  • Reducing poverty through improved and diversified rice-based systems.
  • Ensuring that rice production is stable and sustainable, does minimal harm to the environment, and can cope with climate change.
  • Improving the nutrition and health of poor rice consumers and farmers.
  • Providing equitable access to information and knowledge on rice and help develop the next generation of rice scientists.
  • Providing scientists and producers with the genetic information and material they need to develop improved technologies and enhance rice production.

Working with in-country partners, IRRI develops advanced rice varieties that yield more grain and better withstand pests and disease as well as flooding, drought, and other harmful effects of climate change. An estimated 50% of the Asian rice area is planted to IRRI-bred varieties or their progenies. The Institute develops improved methods and technologies that enable farmers to manage their farms profitably and sustainably, and recommends rice varieties and agricultural practices suitable to particular farm conditions as well as consumer preferences. IRRI assists national agricultural research and extension systems (NARES) in formulating and implementing country rice sector strategies.

IRRI is an independent, nonprofit research and educational institute, founded in 1960 by the Ford and Rockefeller foundations with support from the Philippine government. Headquartered in Los Baños, Laguna, the Philippines, it has offices in 17 rice-growing countries and about 1,400 staff members representing 36 nationalities.

IRRI’s science leaders are recruited internationally and are among the best in the world in their fields. They are supported by nationally recruited staff who bring their expertise, local knowledge and skills to IRRI and help connect it with the local communities where they work. IRRI staff members embody and uphold values that include cultural diversity and gender consciousness. Women and citizens of developing countries that produce rice are particularly encouraged to work at the Institute.

IRRI is seeking a new leader for its activities in South Asia, one of their largest and most critical regions, with funding from USAID, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and the Asian Development Bank, among others. The regional representative will serve as a strategic regional leader for IRRI, developing an overall strategy for the region. He or she will serve as ambassador for IRRI’s work with government ministries, donors and partners in both the development and private sectors and bring experience in multi-dimensional team management, strategic oversight of multiple projects and an ability to lead and develop funding and research partnerships.

Strong influencing skills and experience working with government and civil society stakeholders is required, preferably gained through experience managing an entity of similar scope in Southeast Asia. Experience working with science as related to development is critical, as is fluent written and spoken English. Some experience managing agricultural research projects is preferred, but not mandatory.

Role Background and Purpose

Reporting to:

Deputy Director General for Research

To represent IRRI’s interests and oversight and coordination of IRRI’s activities in South Asia in a strategic and coherent manner. Working closely with government entities and a wide range of partners from other sectors, he/she will lead the development of an overall regional strategy as well as country strategies for IRRI’s research, outreach, training, resource mobilization, and other activities, focusing on key contributions IRRI can make to the development of the agricultural sector in target countries in the region. He/she will oversee the implementation of this strategy through specific work plans and projects, ensuring focus on high priorities, excellent collaboration with national partners, coherence and synergy among projects, and adherence to common policies and procedures.

He/she will represent IRRI’s interests before the governments of those countries in South Asia where IRRI has activities or planned projects and liaise closely with relevant government offices and agencies regarding IRRI activities. He/she will be the chief spokesperson for IRRI in South Asia, and will interact with a wide range of national and international partners and donors to seek out new opportunities for IRRI’s research, including philanthropic fundraising and public-private sector partnerships. He/she will advise IRRI management and scientists on regional and national developments, new opportunities, and appropriate policies and procedures for working in the region. The Representative will also manage IRRI’s relationships with other CGIAR and international centers operating in South Asia.

Key Responsibilities and Duties

  • Represent IRRI’s interests before the highest levels of government. Liaise with relevant government offices and agencies regarding IRRI activities in South Asia (departments of agriculture, state governments, key universities and other research entities).
  • Develop, in collaboration with the institutions above, a strategic research and development agenda for IRRI in South Asia (with an initial focus on India, Nepal and Bangladesh); coordinate the preparation of multi-year work plans. Identify program support opportunities from government, states and other public entities.
  • Ensure coherence and synergy at the country level of all IRRI research projects and activities.
  • Serve as chief spokesperson for IRRI in South Asia. Develop and implement country communication strategies for IRRI to effectively communicate IRRI’s positions on key issues such as genetic resources, new technologies, rice information, intellectual property, policies and other issues.
  • In collaboration with the Public Private Engagement Office, foster relationships underpinning the development of new partnerships with the private sector, including collaborative research programs, and commercialization of IRRI’s products.
  • Build and maintain excellent working relationships with civil society organizations and international donors and organizations operating in South Asia.
  • Identify and develop opportunities for support from non-traditional donor sources. Maintain close relationship with the HQ Partnerships Office.
  • Manage relationships with other CGIAR and international centers and CGIAR Research Programs operating in South Asia (particularly in India, Nepal and Bangladesh) concerning in-country activities and issues.
  • Advise IRRI management and scientists on national developments, new opportunities, and potential partners.
  • Work closely and collaboratively with the Corporate Services Managers to coordinate strategic and operational issues and provide pastoral care to IRRI staff in the region.
  • Perform any other duties as assigned by supervisor as required and implement policies and procedures for working in South Asia.

Key Performance Indicators

  • Excellent relationships with the government, universities, international development organizations, the private sector, and donor agencies.
  • A successful R&D strategy for IRRI in support of South Asia’s (particularly India, Nepal and Bangladesh) rice sector development.
  • Well-filled portfolio of funded projects to implement IRRI’s R&D strategy in South Asia (particularly India, Nepal and Bangladesh).
  • Program coherence.
  • Successful new partnerships developed.
  • IRRI India, Nepal and Bangladesh Offices performing fully in line with IRRI policies and is a desirable work environment for staff.
  • IRRI headquarter and regional staff are timely informed about relevant developments in the region and about donor opportunities.

Other Role Details

Necessary Contacts:

  • Internal: Project coordinators, scientists, finance and HRS managers.
  • External:   Representatives of donor and project partner organizations.


  • Responsible for overseeing the management of IRRI office budgets in South Asia and funds provided for specific partnership activities in the region (e.g. training, scientific exchange, workshops etc).
  • Oversight for management of budgets of country projects.

Work Condition & Environment:

International, domestic travel and field visits as required.

Person Specification

Qualifications & experience:

  • A Master’s or PhD degree in a discipline related to international agricultural research, agricultural development (agronomy, agricultural economics, etc.) or rural development.
  • A minimum of 10 years’ prior field experience in managing agricultural research projects or programs.

Skills and knowledge:


  • High level of strategic vision and leadership; ability to develop and communicate a common vision among diverse partners.
  • Proven expertise in leading teams and building partnerships for collaborative, interdisciplinary research or development and in managing complex work situations.
  • Demonstrated ability to liaise with donors, national policymakers, public, civil society, and private sector organizations.
  • Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, including well-written and oral English. Commitment to gender equity and diversity.

Core Competencies

Commitment to stakeholders:

  • Involves stakeholders in improving existing services.
  • Proposes alternatives to improve  service to meet changing needs.
  • Anticipates and responds to stakeholders needs, priorities and expectations.


  • Engages staff in discussion and probes to clarify meaning.
  • Promotes dialogue and shared understanding.
  • Delivers difficult messages with clarity and tact.

Creativity and innovation:

  • Introduces new or different procedures.
  • Works for the unfulfilled needs of stakeholders.          
  • Anticipates problems and risks in implementing change.
  • Encourages innovation and creativity in others.

Results orientation:

  • Sets realistic results to be achieved.
  • Decides on effective use of available technology and resources.
  • Works with others to overcome problems and finds alternative ways to complete work and delivers results output.


  • Inspires others in achieving  goals.
  • Rewards successes and celebrates achievements.
  • Supports  work-life balance to maintain healthy workforce.


Mandatory:  English.