Position title
Scientist - Edible Insect Farming for Livestock Feed Production and Use

icipe is a pan-African Centre of excellence in research for development and capacity building in insect science and its applications. Its mission is to help alleviate poverty, ensure food and nutritional security and improve the overall health status of peoples of the tropics by developing and extending management tools and strategies for harmful and useful arthropods, while preserving the natural resource base. Since its establishment in 1970, icipe has become a significant contributor to science and innovation required to meet the health and food security challenges of sub-Saharan Africa. The Centre has achieved this status by developing alternative and environmentally friendly pest and vector management technologies and products that are effective, selective, non-polluting, non-resistance inducing, and are affordable to resource-limited rural and urban communities. icipe is headquartered in Nairobi, Kenya and has operations in more than 40 African countries and thriving partnerships with universities and research organizations across the world. Employing close to 500 international and national staff, icipe also has approximately 150 graduate students who contribute to its research portfolio annually.

icipe is seeking an outstanding, dynamic and self-motivated Director of Finance and Administration (DFA). The DFA provides leadership to the Finance and Administration functions of the Centre, incorporating responsibility for a large mixed workforce of professional and non-professional staff operating under various Units and in various locations. Working under the overall guidance of the Director General, the DFA sets the strategic direction for the Unit managers, ensures alignment of resources with the functions, prepares the Units for change and motivates and inspires the teams, leading to maximization of the value of the resources deployed and the achievement of the objectives, vision and mission of the Centre. icipe’s Vision and Strategy 2021–2025 is available at this link: http://www.icipe.org/system/files_force/about/corporate_publications_files/icipe_Vision_and_Strategy_ 2021-2025.pdf The position is tenable in Nairobi at the icipe Headquarter, Duduville campus. Salary and benefits for the position are commensurate with the seniority of the position.

icipe is seeking an outstanding, dynamic, and self-motivated Scientist – Edible Insect Farming for Livestock Feed Production and Use to work in the Insects for Food, Feed and Other Uses Programme (INSEFF) of the Environmental Health Theme, in support of the achievement of the objectives, vision and mission of the Centre. icipe’s Vision and Strategy 2021–2025 is available at this link:http://www.icipe.org/system/files_force/about/corporate_publications_files/icipe_Vision_and_Strate gy_2021-2025.pdf.

The position is tenable in Nairobi at the icipe Headquarter, Duduville campus. The position will be offered for an initial contract of three years, renewable, subject to continued project needs, funding for the position, and performance of the staff member. A competitive and generous compensation package that includes housing and transport allowances, education allowance, comprehensive health and life insurance cover, and an offshore retirement package (all payable in US Dollars), will be offered to the right candidate. If the successful candidate is appointed from outside Kenya, s/he will be offered support to relocate to the country and settle in Nairobi, Kenya and will also receive paid return airfare for themselves and their dependents to their nominated home base each year, and enjoy duty-free privileges for non-residents.


Overall Job Purpose

Livestock and fish production is one of the fastest growing agricultural sectors globally, with most of the growth occurring in the developing countries. Livestock and fish are of socio-economic value to smallholder farmers and provide a safety net in times of financial crisis. However, expansion and profitability of livestock and fish sector in Africa are constrained by increasing feed costs, especially the protein ingredients, which account for 60%–70% of total costs of feeds. In Africa, major protein ingredients such as fishmeal and soybean meal are increasingly unavailable, often imported, and expensive increasing feed costs for smallholder farmers. This significantly impacts on the productivity and profitability of smallholder livestock and fish production systems in Africa. Hence current sources of proteins in the feed sector, namely fishmeal and soybean meal are not sustainable.

Insects such as black soldier fly (BSF) are an emerging alternative to conventional protein additives in feeds. These insects also contribute to bioconversion of organic substrates and contribute to a circular food system by producing sustainable protein ingredients for aquaculture, livestock, and pet nutrition. Insects have high protein and fat content and have been considered promising high-quality feed. The insect protein meal could replace 25% to 100% of fishmeal or soybean meal in feeds for livestock and aquaculture. On a dry matter basis, BSF larvae are rich in crude protein, fat, calcium, phosphorus, sodium, and magnesium. Therefore, BSF larvae meal has been widely used as ingredient in feed for fish, poultry, and pigs, with promising results. This innovative technology offers a promising source of livelihood through insect farming, marketing, and application of derived products for animal production while safeguarding the natural environment.

However, there is need to undertake large scale studies on the influence of BSF larvae meal on the performance and health response of livestock and fish. Previous studies on the inclusion of full-fatted BSF larvae meal in animal feeds have been restricted to few countries, which do not reflect the true impact of the technologies in transformation of lives and livelihood of youth and women in Africa. In addition, there limited knowledge on the inclusion levels of defatted BSF larvae meal in livestock and fish production. There is also the need to diversify feed recipes for livestock and fish categories, which is critical for production and maintenance of human health and ecosystems in Africa.

Black soldier fly farming for alternative protein is a relatively new product developed and tested through collaborative research projects at icipe. Further understanding of the impact of defatted BSF larvae meal on animal health, carcass quality in relation to the insect protein inclusion levels in diverse farming systems in various agroecological zones is critical. This can create more evidence-based data for refining the technology and creating awareness among diverse stakeholders from policymakers to end-user farmers to support scaling and adoption. There is a need to further diversity insect options for the feed sector such as the African fruit beetles, indigenous mealworms, crickets, locust among others. Also optimization of the production of these insects and black soldier flies on diverse organic waste in various countries that are critical for nutrient recycling into value-added products is warranted. Such efforts have the potential to strengthen the development of circular economy and sustainable production of meat and eggs in Africa, which underpinning food security and ecosystem functioning.

This position will deliver innovative research that addresses a wide range of unique and critical issues associated with insect welfare, diversification of insect choices, safe processing into suitable ingredients for animal feed, and environmental health in the context of ONE HEALTH. Within the scope of the above and overall objectives of the INSEFF program, icipe is seeking applications from highly motivated candidates for the position of Scientist – Edible Insect farming for livestock feed production and use. The ideal candidate will support research activities in the Insects for Food, Feed and Other Uses programme within the icipe’s Environmental Health Theme.

The overall purpose of the job is to:

  • Spearhead the research on organic waste mapping and nutrient characterization, and their use to suit the current production requirements under smallholder farming and commercial production.
  • Manage on-farm and on-station experiments that compare the performance of different insect meal inclusion levels of full-fatted and defatted black soldier fly larvae meal in livestock and fish production in different countries.
  • Manage farmer-participatory insect-based feeding trials that aim to tackle bottlenecks facing smallholder farmers through participatory technology development and transfer.
  • Establish the ecological significance of black soldier fly and other saprophytic insects and assess their potential as high value products to contribute significantly to organic recycling and feed insecurity.
  • Establish a cross-thematic research programme on effective harnessing of insect-based feed technological services for improved livestock and fish farming, with focus on a broad range of insect-based feed recipe formulations and their applications.

Specific Duties

The successful candidate is expected to:

  • Coordinate activities related to production and utilisation of black soldier fly larvae in animal feed formulation.
  • Conduct in-depth research on the impact of defatted black soldier fly larvae meal on livestock and fish production under different farming systems in target countries.
  • Conduct novel research on the development of new products (oils from black soldier fly larvae and other insects and chitosan from pupal exuviae) when raised on diverse waste streams, enhance animal immunity using feed fortification technologies and explore the possibility of using antimicrobial peptides for disease control.
  • Expand the knowledge on other soldier fly species co-existing with H. illucens, with focus on improving their production technologies in East Africa.
  • Provide cutting-edge scientific research to develop, adapt, and optimise strategies to harness the nutritional profiling and bioactive properties in livestock and fish production.
  • Contribute to various INSEFF project management, linkage with partners (universities and national research organisations), and preparation of semi-annual and annual technical reports.
  • Be responsible for data collection, management and analysis related to insect-based feed production and usage as well as support other research activities related to insect frass fertilizer.
  • Undertake supervision of research assistants, technicians, field assistants, interns, MSc and PhD students.
  • Publish research outputs in high-impact peer-reviewed journals in areas related to INSEFF activities
  • Raise funds through research grant writing for continuation of INSEFF or implementation of similar projects.
  • PhD in Entomology with at least 3 years’ postgraduate experience in organic waste bioconversion using insect into nutrient-rich biomass for feed formulation and production.
  • Good number of publications on rearing, processing, and preparation of insect-based diets for feeding regimes on livestock production in peer-reviewed journals.
  • Should be at most 38 years at the time of application for this position.
  • Skills in biostatistics, especially for robust analyses on experimental feeding regimes set up and database development, are essential.
  • Additional skills in bioecological landscape assessments of BSF production and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) would be an advantage.
  • Must have an excellent publication track record.
  • Additional knowledge on soil and gut microbiome would be an advantage.

Core Competencies

  • Demonstrated ability to mobilise resources for effective research.
  • Ability to create and foster an innovative work environment, including team building to deliver on agreed goals.
  • High degree of organisation, adaptability, and prioritisation.
  • Experience in capacity building through supervision and mentorship of MSc and undergraduate students.
  • Excellent communication skills and collaborative network of partners at national and international levels Reporting This position reports to the Senior Scientist and Head of INSEFF, and the Head of Environmental Health Theme.
Application Details

Applications will be accepted up to 24th January 2023. Interested applicants should submit: (a) a confidential cover letter; (b) detailed CV with names and addresses of 3 referees (including e-mail addresses); (c) a statement illustrating suitability against the listed qualifications/ competencies/abilities and skills; (d) share at least five published papers relevant to this position.

Details for Non-residents & Foreigners

Living in Nairobi, Kenya

Nairobi, the capital city of Kenya, is cosmopolitan with a population of over four million people. It hosts all the urban and social amenities, and offers a comfortable, convenient and pleasurable life. A wide variety of excellent international schools and well-equipped medical facilities are open 24/7 in Nairobi. The city is also accessible by various reputable international airline carriers. Nairobi is a regional hub of many commercial and non-governmental organizations and has a thriving international research scene, hosting various CGIAR centres, as well as several UN agencies. Although it is important to be conscious of security, Kenyans are warm and welcoming of visitors.

Employment Type
Duration of employment
3 Years
Job Location
icipe Duduville Campus, Nairobi, Kenya
Date posted
January 5, 2023
Valid through
January 24, 2023
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