Digital Agriculture and Innovation Specialist, Rome, Italy At FAO – Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations

Closing date: Wednesday, 18 October 2023


Digital Agriculture and Innovation Specialist(s)

Job Posting: 18/Sep/2023

Closure Date: 18/Oct/2023, 9:59:00 PM

Organizational Unit : OIN

Job Type: Non-staff opportunities

Type of Requisition : Consultant / PSA (Personal Services Agreement)

Grade Level : N/A

Primary Location: Italy-Rome

Duration : 11 months

Post Number : N/A

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Please note that Closure Date and Time displayed above are based on date and time settings of your personal device

  •  FAO is committed to achieving workforce diversity in terms of gender, nationality, background and culture.
  •  Qualified female applicants, qualified nationals of non-and under-represented Members and person with disabilities are encouraged to apply;
  •  Everyone who works for FAO is required to adhere to the highest standards of integrity and professional conduct, and to uphold FAO’s values
  •  FAO, as a Specialized Agency of the United Nations, has a zero-tolerance policy for conduct that is incompatible with its status, objectives and mandate, including sexual exploitation and abuse, sexual harassment, abuse of authority and discrimination
  •  All selected candidates will undergo rigorous reference and background checks
  •  All applications will be treated with the strictest confidentiality

Organizational Setting

The Office of Innovation (OIN) was established as an important new unit within the FAO organizational structure to provide strategic direction and help drive and coordinate innovation across the work of the Organization, and to consolidate and strengthen FAO’s innovative spirit, including innovation of approach and cooperation models and capacity development. The Office will identify, strengthen, and complement priority areas for programmatic action; ensure that FAO mainstreams innovation in its programmes; facilitate collaboration among the relevant FAO units; and assist in forging and reinforcing transformative partnerships. The Digital Agriculture unit of OIN develops normative products: digital strategies, road maps and tools, strengthen digital skills and build capacities to merge digital divide and promotes digital innovation hubs at country level through projects.

Reporting Lines

Under the direct supervision of the Agriculture Extension Officer in the Office of Innovation (OIN), and the day-to-day supervision of the Team Lead of the Digital Agriculture Unit of OIN, the incumbent will support various digital agriculture and digital innovation programmes in the OIN and support the leverage of agrifood systems by digital agriculture and innovation.

Technical Focus

Contribute to digital agriculture and innovation projects, support digital inclusion and agri-tech sprint programme initiatives, support the global network of digital agriculture and innovation hubs, develop digital agriculture and innovation knowledge products and tools, digital strategies, roadmaps and scenarios, and collaborate on digital agriculture and digital innovation within FAO and other UN agencies.

Tasks and responsibilities

The incumbent will work in the Office of Innovation, which has an overall responsibility for leadership in innovation in FAO programmes and projects and supporting innovatively the FAO’s Innovation Programme. The incumbent will work within the Office of Innovation or other units and countries where the OIN leads in providing support to FAO, FAO Members, extension workers, farmers, and other stakeholders.

More specifically, the incumbent will:

  •  Identify, accelerate and scale-up innovative and digital solutions and business models in countries;
  •  Provide support to regional and country-level digital innovation initiatives on digital inclusion;
  •  Support specific OIN projects to build, promote and provide capacity development for strategies, policies, tools and deployment of digital agriculture technologies products for the Organization;
  •  Develop and promote participatory and inclusive formulation of national digital agriculture strategies, roadmaps and policies;
  •  Collect and analyse data on digital transformation status and trends, policies and strategies, challenges for rural and urban areas, understanding different forms of digital divide, as well as assist in monitoring indicators on digital agriculture transformation and other information in support of programme of work;
  •  Develop local digital capacities that empower decision-makers, advisors/extensionists and smallholders (e.g. in digital literacy, skills and tech competences) (only applicable to consultants);
  •  Plan, organize and conduct digital innovation needs assessment and digital innovation capacity development trainings/workshops (online and offline), acting as workshop/training facilitator and trainer (only applicable to consultants);
  •  Support global, regional and country-level digital initiatives, including assistance in assessments of gaps, opportunities and scale-up digital agriculture solutions in support of FAO’s priorities (only applicable to consultants);
  •  Pilot and scale up successful digital innovations (including cutting-edge technologies) and facilitate local digital innovation processes (experimenting);
  •  Increase availability, awareness and uptake of solutions and knowledge (e.g. next decade’s top-100 agri-tech innovations);
  •  Plan, organize and run agri-tech sprint programmes activities such as innovation challenges, farmhack, bootcamps, etc.;
  •  Liaise with technical divisions and decentralized offices regarding innovation for digital agriculture issues and opportunities, promoting the reuse of known solutions and the take-up of new innovative solutions (only applicable to consultants);
  •  Support formulation and coordinate implementation of Letters of Agreement (LoA) or purchase orders (PO) by service providers as established in project documents;
  •  Lead or support the ideation, set-up and running of events (workshops, conferences, forums, dialogues, etc.) to foster knowledge sharing and networking among experts and practitioners in the digital agriculture and innovation fora;
  •  Contribute to the establishment of partnerships with academia, civil society, and private sector to support joint initiatives related to digital agriculture and innovation (only applicable to consultants);
  •  Contribute to activities under the World Summit of Information Society Forum – Action Line 7, and Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with other UN agencies such as ITU and UNIDO;
  •  Contribute to the implementation of the Global Network of Digital Agriculture Innovation Hubs and identify and share knowledge, good practices and lessons learned in digital agriculture and innovation;
  •  Provide inputs to documents, proposals, materials, speeches, presentations, and assistance on matters related to digital agriculture and innovation (only applicable to consultants);
  •  Develop draft slides or draft speech text for presentations by senior FAO management related to the digital innovation domain;
  •  Perform other duties as required.


Minimum Requirements

  •  University degree in agriculture (economics, agribusiness, digital agriculture, innovation systems), development studies, social science, innovation, computer science and engineering or related studies or any other relevant degree.
  •  Working knowledge of English, French or Spanish and limited knowledge of one of the other two or Arabic, Chinese, Russian. (for PSA it can be required only one language Level C).
  •  Work Experience o For Consultants – 5+ years of relevant professional working experience in similar environment o For PSA – 1+ year of relevant professional working experience in similar environment

FAO Core Competencies

  •  Results Focus
  •  Teamwork
  •  Communication
  •  Building Effective Relationships
  •  Knowledge Sharing and Continuous Improvement

Technical/Functional Skills

  •  Work experience in more than one location or area of work.
  •  Awareness of the global, regional and country-level digital initiatives.
  •  Familiarity with the ecosystem surrounding digital agriculture and the capabilities and services required by FAO.
  •  Extent and relevance of experience in conducting digital agricultural sector analysis and/or supporting the planning, design, implementation of digital agricultural projects, setting digital innovation standards and digital ecosystem frameworks.
  •  Extent and relevance of experience in facilitation of sprint programmes such as hackathons, incubators and/or accelerators.
  •  Extent and relevance of experience working with agri-tech start-ups and scaling digital innovation.
  •  Demonstrated organization, research, presentation and writing skills.
  •  Excellent organizational, time management and planning skills with demonstrated capacity to work in a fast-pace, high pressure environment

Please note that all candidates should adhere to FAO Values of Commitment to FAO, Respect for All and Integrity and Transparency


  •  FAO does not charge any fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview, processing)
  •  Please note that FAO will only consider academic credentials or degrees obtained from an educational institution recognized in the IAU/UNESCO list
  •  Please note that FAO only considers higher educational qualifications obtained from an institution accredited/recognized in the World Higher Education Database (WHED), a list updated by the International Association of Universities (IAU) / United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). The list can be accessed at
  •  For more information, visit the FAO employment website
  •  Appointment will be subject to certification that the candidate is medically fit for appointment, accreditation, any residency or visa requirements, and security clearances.


  •  To apply, visit the recruitment website at Jobs at FAO and complete your online profile. We strongly recommend that your profile is accurate, complete and includes your employment records, academic qualifications, and language skills
  •  Candidates are requested to attach a letter of motivation to the online profile
  •  Once your profile is completed, please apply, and submit your application
  •  Candidates may be requested to provide performance assessments and authorization to conduct verification checks of past and present work, character, education, military and police records to ascertain any and all information which may be pertinent to the employment qualifications
  •  Incomplete applications will not be considered
  •  Personal information provided on your application may be shared within FAO and with other companies acting on FAO’s behalf to provide employment support services such as pre-screening of applications, assessment tests, background checks and other related services. You will be asked to provide your consent before submitting your application. You may withdraw consent at any time, by withdrawing your application, in such case FAO will no longer be able to consider your application
  •  Only applications received through the FAO recruitment portal will be considered
  •  Your application will be screened based on the information provided in your online profile
  •  We encourage applicants to submit the application well before the deadline date.

If you need help, or have queries, please contact:



Search Jobs By Country

List of Countries

May 2024