Systems Modeller Sugarcane Agriculture at South African Sugar Association

  • Permanent Senior position

  • Durban, KwaZulu-Natal

  • Market Related salary

  • Job 2221933 | Ref 1373

  • Posted 04 Jun 2018 by South African Sugar Association

About the Position

In the South African sugar industry, systems modelling is used to inform strategic and tactical decision-making, from yield forecasting on an industry-scale through to the development of specific applications to support decision-making at a farm- or field-level. It further informs other critical industry innovations, including the evaluation of potential crop production adaptation strategies to climate change and the development of technologies to expedite the breeding of sugarcane cultivars for enhanced drought and heat stress tolerance.

Sugarcane modelling research in South Africa is conducted by the sugar industry's South African Sugarcane Research Institute (SASRI) which is located in the Durban locale. The institute currently has a vacancy for a Systems Modeller to lead modelling research and development for the sugar industry and invites applications from suitably qualified and experienced individuals.

In this role, the incumbent will lead and conduct agronomic systems modelling research and development aimed at enhancing the competiveness and sustainability of sugarcane production in South Africa.

The incumbent should ideally have a PhD in an agricultural science, good understanding of soil-crop-atmosphere processes, and proven ability in systems modelling research, as demonstrated by an appropriate publication track record. This academic and research experience should be supported by extensive experience in computer programming, manipulation of large amounts of diverse data, and strong verbal and written communication skills. The ability to think and plan strategically and manage complex projects effectively to deliver innovative and useful outcomes on time, is essential. Existing professional networks of the incumbent with national and international specialists and institutions involved in systems modelling research are also highly desirable.

The incumbent will be involved in research within their own projects, as well as a team member in projects led by other SASRI researchers, in diverse disciplines, which require systems modelling expertise. The focus will be on the development and application of models and model-based decision support tools in sugarcane research and production management. It is expected of the incumbent to expose research to peer review by publishing in top science journals and presenting at scientific conferences.

Additionally, the incumbent will be required to participate in knowledge exchange activities, by interacting with industry stakeholders, participating in field days and training courses, and producing semi-popular articles.

Closing date for applications is Monday, 18 June 2018. SASRI reserves the right to consider applications received after this date but will not be obliged to do so.

The ideal candidate will have the following competencies:


  • ability to programme within modelling framework
  • proven track record of management of large, diverse databases
  • identify trends and challenges that the discipline should be addressing
  • establish and maintain national and international networking for interchange of ideas
  • passion to impact positively on farming in the country
  • ability to convey technical information to non-technical audiences
  • broad knowledge of available tools and methodologies in the discipline
  • knowledge and experience of the total project life cycle

About The Employer

The South African Sugar Association (SASA) provides a diverse range of highly specialised services to the South African sugar industry and our activities are funded in the main by the sugarcane growers and sugar milling companies. Our mission is to provide specialist services that enhance the profitability, global competitiveness and sustainability of the South African sugar industry.

Employer & Job Benefits

  • Join a team of leading researchers with industry support to tackle the agronomic challenges facing the sugar industry. Large company benefits apply.

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