icipe is offering a PhD project working on the micro-lepidopteran moth of South American origin, the tomato leafminer, Tuta absoluta, that represents the dominant and most serious pest of tomato.

For more information on icipe go to http://www.icipe.org/

For an offline version of this information please click here

Closing date for applications: 22nd February 2019

Any application received after this date will not be considered or acknowledged.   Kindly note that only successful candidates will be contacted.


Combating Tuta absoluta (Meyrick), an invasive pest of key Solanaceous vegetables for food and nutritional security


  • Agriculture is a vital tool for sustainable development in Africa. Specifically, horticultural sub-sector generates more jobs, with vegetable production providing market opportunities for smallholder growers. Tomato besides being both a subsistence and cash crop, is highly nutritious and provide good amounts of minerals, antioxidants and vitamins. Despite the socio-economic importance of this crop, it is constrained by numerous biotic and abiotic factors, ranking high among the former are arthropod pests, a problem that was further compounded by the recent invasion by Tuta absoluta. The pest causes yield losses of up-to 100% jeopardizing livelihoods of millions of growers. Furthermore, the pest has expanded its host range to some indigenous Solanaceous vegetables thus intensifying the problem in Africa.
  • The project is designed to address constraints due to T. absoluta through validation of EPF-based biopesticides, screening of endophytes and implementation of applications of proven IPM strategies to suppress the pest.
  • The PhD position is based at icipe’s Duduville Campus Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Funding: The PhD projects are funded through a research grant from the African Union Research Grants (AURG) and will be jointly supervised by scientists from icipe and the university in which the student will register. The scholarships will cover all costs of the PhD programme, including travel, living expenses, medical insurance, university fees and all research and training costs.
  • 3 year doctoral training by research; start: 1st April 2019
  • Successful candidates will develop a full proposal and register with a university after they commence their PhD programme at icipe.




  • Recent MSc graduate in Microbiology/Entomology
  • BSc degree in Biological Sciences, with a minimum of 2nd Class Upper division degree or equivalent
  • Should be a national of an African country
  • Maximum age of 35 years
  • Knowledge in chemical ecology will be an added advantage



  • The applicant must be a national of any country in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Master’s degree completed less than ten years ago at the time of application.
  • Preference will be given to applicants with a maximum age of 36 years (men) or 40 years (women) by 31st December 2019.
  • Completed application form and accompanying supporting documents must be submitted latest by 22nd February 2019.
  • Qualified female candidates and candidates from less privileged regions or groups are especially encouraged to apply.



  1. Download and complete the scholarship Application Form

    To download the Application Form as a doc file click here

    To download the Application Form as a docx file click here


  3. Then go to the online application platform by clicking here to add information and upload your completed Application Form and the following documents:
    • Curriculum Vitae (please use the Europass Format: http://europass.cedefop.europa.eu)
    • Certified copies of official university certificates and transcripts, and any other professional or academic certificates. Please combine into 1 file. If necessary, you may zip the file to make it smaller for uploading. For pdf files, can reduce the size using the online tool at https://smallpdf.com/compress-pdf
    • Copy of a signed recommendation letter from your employer (if currently employed) or University where MSc was undertaken. The letter must be on institute letterhead.
    • Close-up photograph in colour of your full head and upper shoulders
    • Copy of National ID
    • Copy of Passport biodata page (the page that has your picture and personal details)

    Once you have entered and uploaded everything, click the Continue button. This will take you to the Review your Entries page where you can review and change anything in your application. When you are satisfied with your application, click the Continue button to submit your application. This cannot be undone, so please make sure all your application information is correct before submitting. We will send an email acknowledgement when we receive your completed online application.



  • DO NOT submit your application by email. Only applications and accompanying documents submitted online will be accepted.
  • It is highly recommended that you submit your application well before the deadline, especially if you commonly experience slow Internet speeds or frequent Internet outages.
  • It is also highly recommended that you reduce the sizes of your files as much as possible to make them easier to upload.
  • Accepted formats for documents: doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pdf, rtf, zip, rar, jpg, jpeg, png, bmp, tif
  • Maximum size for any one file is 5 MB.



Q: May I submit my application by email?

A: No. Only applications submitted through the online platform here will be accepted.


Q: I am over the age limit. May I apply?

A: Yes, you may apply. We prefer to select candidates who are within the age limits. However, even if you are beyond the age limit you could still be selected if your application is very strong.


Q: May I submit my application in French?

A: No. Your application must be in English.


Q: I cannot upload one of my files. What is wrong?

A: (1) Perhaps your file is too large. The maximum size for any single file is 5 MB. Please reduce the file size if it is too large. (2) Perhaps your Internet is too slow or intermittent. It is highly recommended that you reduce the sizes of your files as much as possible to facilitate uploading. Also, try uploading your documents when internet traffic is low e.g. at night. (3) Perhaps you are trying to upload a file that is not one of the accepted file formats (Accepted formats: doc, docx, ppt, pptx, pdf, rtf, zip, rar, jpg, jpeg, png, bmp, tif)


Q: I have already registered for a PhD at a university. May I apply?

A: No. Successful PhD candidates will develop their proposals and then register at a university after they start their work at icipe.


Q: I have completed all the requirements for my Master’s degree but I have not yet graduated. May I apply?

A: Yes you may apply. Instead of the Master’s degree certificate please provide a letter from the university stating that you have completed all the requirements for the Master’s degree.


Q: I submitted my application online, but I did not receive an email application. What is wrong?

A: There are two possibilities: (1) you entered an incorrect email address, or (2) You did not actually submit your application. Please read the Application Procedure very carefully and redo your application.


Q: I obtained my Master’s degree more than 10 years ago. May I apply?

A: No. The Master’s degree must have been completed less than ten years ago at the time of application.




In case of any questions regarding the application, kindly contact:

Ms. Vivian Atieno,

Capacity Building Officer,

Capacity Building and Institutional Development Programme, icipe


Tel: +254 20 863 2272



Thank you in advance for considering this opportunity.

We look forward to receiving your application.