Senior Research Officer CLOSED

Equal Opportunities, Gender, Justice, and Tenure

The Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR) is a nonprofit, global research organization dedicated to advancing human well-being, environmental conservation and equity.

We conduct research that enables more informed and equitable decision making about the use and management of tropical and sub-tropical forest landscapes. We help policy makers and practitioners shape effective policy, improve the management of tropical forests and address the needs and perspectives of people who depend on forests for their livelihoods. Our multidisciplinary approach considers the underlying drivers of deforestation and degradation which often lie outside the forestry sector: forces such as agriculture, infrastructure development, trade and investment policies and law enforcement.

CIFOR is looking for a

Senior Research Officer


The deforestation-free movement has emerged recently in the context of less State control, pressure on corporations for not conforming to social and environmental standards and the growing recognition of the role that agricultural commodities play in deforestation. The movement is particularly relevant to the oil palm sector in Indonesia as a total of 188 companies in Indonesia’s oil palm sector – the world’s largest – have made some form of sustainability commitment, including 61 that have pledged to source supplies only from plantations that are not linked to deforestation. The movement is in its early stages and significant challenges must be overcome before it can fully realize its potential. One such concern is that these commitments will eventually prevent smallholders from accessing land and/or fragmented markets if enabling conditions for smallholders to profit from these commitments are not already in place. Furthermore, women’s rights and livelihoods as workers, smallholders and local communities are often ignored in policy debates surrounding these movements as well as concerns over smallholder inclusion.

This position will be a part of a dynamic and multidisciplinary research team within CIFOR dedicated to better understanding smallholder oil palm production systems, the potential ramifications of these pledges on smallholders and identifying the governance arrangements and smallholder integration models that are best suited to ensure that these pledges are both socially and environmentally inclusive. The major objective of the position is to contribute to the broader research objective whilst ensuring that a gender perspective is strongly embedded in this research.

Duties and responsibilities

The major expectations of the assignment are as follows:

  • Contribute to the design of research through a survey of existing literature; policy analysis; design of a mixed-method research protocol. The latter would include development of smallholder typology through a combination of remote sensing, plantation inspection, household and intra-household surveys, semi-structured interviews and focus group discussions (FGDs) with diverse female and male stakeholder groups. It would also include an assessment of land rightsabor practices, decision-making opportunities and access to productive resources in these smallholder production systems for women and men through these mixed-methods;
  • Co-develop and manage project budget and follow existing procedures to ensure project financial deliverables are met;
  • Contribute towards fundraising proposals and represent the research project in relevant fundraising meetings;
  • Lead the collection of data through the recruitment and training of enumerators and by supervising field staff;
  • Contribute to the analysis of findings to construct a smallholder typology based on data collected; analyze key gender issues related to land, labor, decision making and access to productive resources in different types of smallholder production systems; 
  • Develop an advisory committee composed of relevant stakeholders to provide input and feedback across the research cycle;
  • Lead or contribute to dissemination of research and research findings in relevant academic and policy platforms;
  • Participate actively in relevant platforms to ensure that our research feeds into stakeholder responses, policy dialogue and relevant interventions. 

Details of duties, assignments and objectives will be further discussed and laid out in the staff’s annual performance contract.

Education, knowledge and experience

• Master’s in relevant field within social sciences (such as anthropology, sociology, economics etc.) with expertise in rural development and/or environmental policy in Indonesia;
• Strong academic background in gender and women’s studies;
• In-depth knowledge about the oil palm sector in Indonesia and gender issues with it;
• At least 4-5 years’ experience leading field research teams to collect household/farmer surveys; facilitating FGDs, carrying out key informant discussions and semi-structured interviews;
• A good understanding of the challenges of including women in the research process and strategies for ensuring that differently positioned women’s perspectives and concerns are strongly reflected;
• Extensive experience using quantitative and/or qualitative software for data analysis;
• Emerging track-record of leading and co-authoring good quality publications (policy and academic);
• Relevant experience working with government, NGOs and/or private companies in Indonesia.

Personal Attributes and Competencies

• Excellent facilitation skills;
• Excellent skills in synthesis and review;
• Demonstrated ability to take initiative and complete tasks with an attention to detail;
• Ability to multi-task and work to tight deadlines;
• Excellent interpersonal communication skills;
• Proven ability to work collaboratively in cross-cultural contexts but also work independently with minimum supervision;
• Experience communicating research in relevant language and formats at different levels;
• Values the sharing of information in a collaborative atmosphere of constructive evaluation and learning.

Terms and Conditions

• This is a National-Recruited Staff (NRS) position. CIFOR offers competitive remuneration in IDR, commensurate with skills and experience;
• The appointment is for 2 years, inclusive 6 months probationary period, with a possibility of extension contingent upon performance, continued relevance of the position and available resources;
• The duty station will be at CIFOR HQ in Bogor, Indonesia.

Application process

The application deadline is 30 Jun-2016
We will acknowledge all applications, but will contact only short-listed candidates.