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OFRA: Visiting scientist opportunities

Linking Model Use with Spatial Information for Improved Extrapolation of Soil Management Information: Visiting scientist opportunities

The project Optimizing Fertilizer Recommendations in Africa (OFRA) is developing the capacity for much enhanced farmer profitability resulting from fertilizer use. Decisions are made in consideration of financial, environmental, and cropping system aspects of the individual farmer’s context. OFRA is implemented for major food production agro-ecological zones of 13 sub-Saharan Africa nations. OFRA is funded by the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa, managed by CABI, and technically supported by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. Fertilizer optimization tools (FOT) are developed and deployed for profit maximization of fertilizer use. The tools employ crop-nutrient functions of diverse crops. The functions are determined from field research results including from a meta-analysis of results from past research, current OFRA supported research, and extrapolation of information across Africa.

The potential for extrapolation of information across Africa is greater than ever with much improved soil property, climate, and crop spatial information available that can be linked with the OFRA compiled database. Linking crop growth simulation models having nutrient response sub-routines such as DSSAT and APSIM, or crop response calculators such as QUEFTS, with spatial information is a potential means to improved extrapolation of nutrient response information.

The visiting scientists are expected to produce a paper for journal publication demonstrating the use of a model in extrapolation of crop nutrient response information and to develop guidelines to enable professional GIS practitioners of NARS and universities to conduct such applications. The guidelines or tools developed will be compatible with ArcGIS and, if feasible, with a freeware, menu-driven option such as Q-GIS.

OFRA will support two sabbatical positions of two month duration to be implemented simultaneously in 2015. These positions will be accommodated at ILRI (together with office space) in Ethiopia to enable adequate consultation with other specialists. The work will be supervised by Professor Charles Wortmann of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln as well as by Dr Kindie Tesfaye Fantaye of CIMMYT and Dr KPC Rao of ICRISAT both located at ILRI in Addis Ababa.

Candidates need to provide strong evidence of expertise and practical application of GIS (analysis and advanced querying), geo-statistics, model use, and interface tool development. The candidates need to have well-established and on-going employment with an African research organization or university.

The compensation package includes a monthly stipend of US$ 1,000 and full board arrangement where accommodation and meals will be catered for at the ILRI campus. Candidates will be expected to bring a laptop well equipped with appropriate software. Up to $500 will be available for software licenses. The positions are to begin 3rd August 2015.


To apply please send the following to and

  • a covering letter describing in full how you meet the candidate profile
  • a full Curriculum Vitae
  • the names and contact details of three referees, one of whom must be your current or most recent employer – referees will not be contacted without your prior permission

Please note the closing date for receiving applications is 30 June 2015.

OFRA is funded by the Alliance for the Green Revolution in Africa, managed by CABI, and technically supported by the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.