Programme Leader - Genetic Resources

Suva, Fiji

  • Suva-based position (Fiji)
  • Attractive expatriate package
  • Join the principal development organisation in the Pacific region


The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our organisation works across more than 20 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The Land Resources Division (LRD) provides advice, technical assistance, research and training support to Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs) on all aspects of agriculture and forestry. This includes plant protection, conservation, plant genetic resources, animal health and production, agroforestry, biosecurity and trade facilitation, and sustainable systems for agriculture, forestry and land management. This work has two objectives: improved food and nutritional security, and resilient communities. The division’s services are provided through seven technical/thematic teams: Animal Health and Production; Plant Health; Biosecurity and Trade Facilitation; Forest and Agriculture Diversification; Crop Production and Extension; Genetic Resources; and Forests and Trees.

The role – Programme Leader – Genetic Resources assumes overall leadership and management responsibilities for effective and efficient operations and service delivery of the conservation and use of crop and tree genetic resources that contribute to food security, enhanced nutrition and improved adaptation to climate change, including establishing strong links with seed systems operations in the Pacific region. The role encompasses development, management and implementation of the genetic resources programme work plans, resource mobilisation and staff management.

The key responsibilities of the role include:

  • Leadership and management
  • Strategic and policy advice
  • Scientific and technical services
  • Coordination and partnership support
  • Project & Programme Management

For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the job description provided.

Key selection criteria


  • A master’s degree in a relevant field, such as science, genetics or plant breeding

Knowledge and experience

  • At least 12 years of experience in a similar role, including project management and staff supervision experience
  • Expertise in research areas relevant to the conservation of clonal crops in tissue culture and cryopreservation
  • Understanding of international plant genetic resources intellectual property and phytosanitary issues as well as other legal issues related to relevant international treaties and gene bank operations
  • Experience in fundraising, proposal preparation and project management                                                                                                                                                                                                  

Essential skills

  • Experience in computational and statistical tools for the management of genetic resources information
  • Demonstrated ability to publish in international peer-reviewed scientific journals
  • Strong negotiation and coordination skills
  • Ability to work in collaboration with the senior CePaCT team and senior LRD leadership team
  • Excellent report writing, planning and organising skills
  • Initiative and ability to think laterally to identify innovative solutions

Language skills

  • Excellent English communication skills (oral and written) with a working knowledge of French being an advantage

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to motivate inspire and promote teamwork in an interdisciplinary and regional context
  • Ability to work in a multicultural, inclusive and equitable environment

Salary, terms and conditions

Contract Duration – Three years

Remuneration – The Programme Leader – Genetic Resources is a Band 12 position in SPC’s 2019 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 3,393‒4,242 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately FJD 10,010–12,512 (USD 4,818–6,023; EUR 4,062–5,078). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will normally be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Fiji; Fiji nationals employed by SPC in Fiji will be subject to income tax.

Benefits for international employees based in Fiji – SPC provides a housing allowance of FJD 1,230–2,750 per month. Establishment and relocation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave, medical and life insurance and education allowances are available for eligible employees and their recognised dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and 30 days of sick leave per annum, and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).

Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.

Equal opportunity – SPC is an equal opportunity employer. Recruitment is based entirely on merit; in cases where two short-listed candidates are judged to be of equal rank by the selection committee, preference will be given to Pacific Island nationals.

Child protection – SPC is committed to child protection, irrespective of whether any specific area of work involves direct contact with children. SPC’s Child Protection Policy is written in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Police clearance – Successful candidates will be required to provide a police clearance certificate.

Application procedure

Closing Date – 10 October 2019

Applicants must apply online at

Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.

For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:

  • an updated resume
  • contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions

Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference. These documents may be requested at a later stage.

For international staff in Fiji, only one foreign national per family can be employed with an entity operating in Fiji at any one given time. The Pacific Community does not support dual spouse employment.

Please ensure that you respond to all the screening questions.  If you do not respond to the screening questions, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage.

Screening Questions:

  1. Please demonstrate your experience with audits, and how you have applied audit findings to improve the overall efficiencies and effectiveness of a laboratory operation.
  2. In your opinion, what would be the fundamental elements of a business plan to progress the Centre for Pacific Crops and Trees (CePaCT) to a Centre of Excellence. How would such a CoE look like?
  3. The current team of CePaCT comprises around 17 people with different sets of core skills and responsibilities. What would be an ideal team in terms of skills sets. How would you see your personal place and responsibilities within such team?

JD Programme Leader - Genetic Resources.docx

Type: Contract - International

Category: Forestry, Plant genetic resources, Biosecurity

Reference ID: CB000125

Date Posted: 11/09/2019