Sunday, 30 October 2016

Job Opportunity at Ifakara Health Institute (IHI), Research Scientist


Ifakara Health Institute (IHI) is a leading research organization in Africa, with a strong
track record in developing, testing and validating innovations for health. Driven by a core
strategic mandate for research, training and services, the institute’s work now spans a wide
spectrum, covering biomedical and ecological sciences, intervention studies, healthsystems
research and policy translation. The specific project will be conducted within the
Department of Environmental Health and Ecological Sciences (EHES): EHES group hosts
our malaria vector research programs, and there are numerous opportunities for
enthusiastic researchers to establish a viable career with medium to long-term agenda. This
vibrant group currently has 20 postdoctoral scientists and collaborators, mostly in their 30s
and early 40s, plus about 20 post-graduate students, collectively working on the ecology
and prevention of mosquito-borne illnesses, water and sanitation related illnesses and
malnutrition. The research team will benefit from the ongoing research expertise around
malaria elimination agenda. Over the past decade, malaria endemic countries, together with
international partners, have achieved significant gains constituting more than 50% reduction
in malaria prevalence and tenfold reduction in actual transmission in several countries,
including Tanzania. Improved living standards, overall reduction in childhood illnesses,
urbanization, improved diagnosis, greater access to appropriate medicines, but most
importantly the scale-up of effective vector control using insecticide treated bed nets (ITNs)
and indoor residual spraying (IRS), are recognized as the major causes of this decline. We
are now at a stage where malaria elimination is a potentially achievable goal, even in areas
that were experiencing intense holoendemic transmission at the turn of the century, just 15
years ago. At Ifakara Health institute, we have been part of this great history since 1980s
and we have witnessed these major epidemiological transitions first hand, particularly in the
Kilombero river Valley in southern Tanzania, where we still conduct most of our malaria
studies. We know now that malaria elimination in Africa will require new innovations to
complement existing ones, but also well trained personnel. At IHI, we have built a vibrant
research community, supported by local and international collaborations.
Our core research facilities include experimental hut systems, large semi-field screen
houses for controlled mosquito release studies, and mosquito identification and analysis
laboratories equipped with molecular, infrared spectroscopy techniques, night-time video
graphic techniques, insecticide resistance testing facilities and most recently a level three
entomology laboratory, which will allow us to venture actively into infection studies to
support new work on vaccines and new drugs. IHI also has a special long-term relationship
with rural and urban communities in Tanzania, who are by all means our main stakeholders.
There is also a strong emphasis on public outreach, and both community members and
local health officials are regularly briefed on the research progress at IHI through formal
feedback sessions.

We are seeking to appoint a research scientist/vector biologist to join a multidisciplinary
team working on new technologies for surveillance and control of mosquitoes and
mosquito-borne pathogens.

Creating low-cost repellent-treated sandals that provide round-the-clock protection
against Dengue, Zika, Chikungunya and Malaria: Mosquitoes predominantly bite people
around the feet and ankles, and protecting the lower limbs of individuals result in up to 65%
reduction in mosquito bites. In this project, we are exploiting this mosquito behaviour and
use footwear as a platform to release highly effective wide-area spatial mosquito repellents,
creating full-time protection against both day-biting and night-biting mosquitoes at individual
and household level. Day-biting Aedes mosquitoes, which transmit most of the arboviral
infections that the world is least prepared to combat, i.e. Zika, Dengue, Yellow fever and
Chikungunya, are largely non-responsive to LLINs and IRS. Moreover, no vaccines or
reliable diagnostics are available for field use against many of these arboviruses. In
addition, the aquatic habitats of these mosquitoes are often small, scattered, cryptic,
temporary and sometimes indoors, hence difficulty of larval source management.
Therefore, mosquito control remains the main intervention.

The research scientist will work hand in hand with project team to ensure that the following
responsibilities are met:

  • Monitor all the research / scientific activities, administrative and financial transactions of the project.
  • Make sure all the project milestones have been completed on time. This includes making sure that all the activities leading to the milestones are started and completed on time.
  • Ensure the project objectives have been met.
  • Ensure that all relevant quality control procedures and ethical guidelines are adhered to and that any deviations are properly documented and reported during all project activities.
  • Ensure all study protocols and data collected by research team are properly indexed and archived.
  • Provide support for data collection process, processing and all matters related to qualitative and quantitative data.
  • Prepare and present necessary monthly, quarterly and annual reports of all the project activities.
  • Participate in presentation of research findings through conference presentations and publications in peer-reviewed, internationally-recognized scientific journals;
  • Ensure all research conducted by the team is in adherence to institutional, national and international standards, regulations and guidelines, including protection of human participants, animals and the environment during the research
  • with other scientists in the institute to perpetuate a vibrant competitively-funded research program on ecology and control of mosquito-borne pathogens;
  • Contribute to public engagement initiatives through regular interactions with local and international news media, the public, and officials at international, district and local levels;
  • Work with relevant staff in the institute, to ensure appropriate maintenance of lab facilities and equipment within the department
  • Adequately and effectively interact with government agencies and other organizations involved in malaria control, including the National Malaria Control Program, but also in the control of other mosquito borne pathogens
  • Work with other agencies to promote educational and outreach activities supporting mosquito-borne disease control agenda in Tanzania and beyond.
  • Prepare regular scientific and financial reports to various institutional organs and to our funding partners and other stake holders.
  • Participate in preparation and submission of competitive research proposals and grants for external funding for research.

Master’s Degree in entomology or an allied life science discipline. Candidates with BSc
degree but extensive research experience may be considered.
Minimum of 3 years' experience working on either of the following fields, vector ecology,
zoology, epidemiology, molecular diagnostic tools, parasitology, insect-borne diseases and
integrated vector management, and systematics. It will be desirable to have previous
experience in grant writing and leading research teams, and writing scientific reports.
Excellent interpersonal and communication skills, have a history of cooperative or
interdisciplinary research; excellent supervisory, budgetary and organizational skills.


  • .Excellent interpersonal and communication skills; a history of cooperative or interdisciplinary research; excellent supervisory, budgetary and organizational skills.

An attractive and competitive remuneration package will be offered to successful
candidates as per IHI salary scales. The contract will initially be for one year with a three
month probation period.

All candidates meeting the above job requirements should channel their application letters
with detailed curriculum vitae (CVs) showing contact address, e-mail, telephone numbers,
and photocopies of academic and professional certificates to the address below.
IHI staffs working in other projects may also apply and should channel their applications
through respective project.

The dead line for this application is 05 November 2016.

Chief of Human Resources Officer,
Ifakara Health Institute,
Kiko Avenue, Mikocheni,
P.O.Box 78373,
Dar es Salaam.
E mail:

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