Digital Agriculture and Innovation Specialist

Food and Agriculture Organization

Rome, Italy

Under the direct supervision of the Agriculture Extension Officer in the Office of Innovation (OIN), and the day-to-day supervision of the Team Lead of the Digital Agriculture Unit of OIN, the incumbent will support various digital agriculture and digital innovation programmes in the OIN and support the leverage of agrifood systems by digital agriculture and innovation.

Tasks and responsibilities:

The incumbent will work in the Office of Innovation, which has an overall responsibility for leadership in innovation in FAO programmes and projects and supporting innovatively the FAO’s Innovation Programme. The incumbent will work within the Office of Innovation or other units and countries where the OIN leads in providing support to FAO, FAO Members, extension workers, farmers, and other stakeholders.

More specifically, the incumbent will:

  • Identify, accelerate and scale-up innovative and digital solutions and business models in countries; 
  • Provide support to regional and country-level digital innovation initiatives on digital inclusion; 
  • Support specific OIN projects to build, promote and provide capacity development for strategies, policies, tools and deployment of digital agriculture technologies products for the Organization;
  • Develop and promote participatory and inclusive formulation of national digital agriculture strategies, roadmaps and policies;
  • Collect and analyse data on digital transformation status and trends, policies and strategies, challenges for rural and urban areas, understanding different forms of digital divide, as well as assist in monitoring indicators on digital agriculture transformation and other information in support of programme of work;
  • Develop local digital capacities that empower decision-makers, advisors/extensionists and smallholders (e.g. in digital literacy, skills and tech competences) (only applicable to consultants);
  • Plan, organize and conduct digital innovation needs assessment and digital innovation capacity development trainings/workshops (online and offline), acting as workshop/training facilitator and trainer (only applicable to consultants);
  • Support global, regional and country-level digital initiatives, including assistance in assessments of gaps, opportunities and scale-up digital agriculture solutions in support of FAO’s priorities (only applicable to consultants); 
  • Pilot and scale up successful digital innovations (including cutting-edge technologies) and facilitate local digital innovation processes (experimenting);
  • Increase availability, awareness and uptake of solutions and knowledge (e.g. next decade's top-100 agri-tech innovations);
  • Plan, organize and run agri-tech sprint programmes activities such as innovation challenges, farmhack, bootcamps, etc.;
  • Liaise with technical divisions and decentralized offices regarding innovation for digital agriculture issues and opportunities, promoting the reuse of known solutions and the take-up of new innovative solutions (only applicable to consultants);
  • Support formulation and coordinate implementation of Letters of Agreement (LoA) or purchase orders (PO) by service providers as established in project documents;
  • Lead or support the ideation, set-up and running of events (workshops, conferences, forums, dialogues, etc.) to foster knowledge sharing and networking among experts and practitioners in the digital agriculture and innovation fora;
  • Contribute to the establishment of partnerships with academia, civil society, and private sector to support joint initiatives related to digital agriculture and innovation (only applicable to consultants); 
  • Contribute to activities under the World Summit of Information Society Forum - Action Line 7, and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with other UN agencies such as ITU and UNIDO; 
  • Contribute to the implementation of the Global Network of Digital Agriculture Innovation Hubs and identify and share knowledge, good practices and lessons learned in digital agriculture and innovation;     
  • Provide inputs to documents, proposals, materials, speeches, presentations, and assistance on matters related to digital agriculture and innovation (only applicable to consultants);
  • Develop draft slides or draft speech text for presentations by senior FAO management related to the digital innovation domain;
  • Perform other duties as required.

Candidates Will Be Assessed Against The Following:

Minimum Requirements:

  • University degree in agriculture (economics, agribusiness, digital agriculture, innovation systems), development studies, social science, innovation, computer science and engineering or related studies or any other relevant degree.  
  • Working knowledge of English, French or Spanish and limited knowledge of one of the other two or Arabic, Chinese, Russian. (for PSA it can be required only one language Level C).

Work Experience:

  • For Consultants – 5+ years of relevant professional working experience in similar environment
  • For PSA - 1+ year of relevant professional working experience in similar environment

Technical/Functional Skills:

  • Work experience in more than one location or area of work.
  • Awareness of the global, regional and country-level digital initiatives.
  • Familiarity with the ecosystem surrounding digital agriculture and the capabilities and services required by FAO. 
  • Extent and relevance of experience in conducting digital agricultural sector analysis and/or supporting the planning, design, implementation of digital agricultural projects, setting digital innovation standards and digital ecosystem frameworks. 
  • Extent and relevance of experience in facilitation of sprint programmes such as hackathons, incubators and/or accelerators.
  • Extent and relevance of experience working with agri-tech start-ups and scaling digital innovation.
  • Demonstrated organization, research, presentation and writing skills.
  • Excellent organizational, time management and planning skills with demonstrated capacity to work in a fast-pace, high pressure environment