Scientist/ Senior Scientist (Inclusive Aquatic Food Markets)

World Fish

World Fish

Bayan Lepas, Penang, Malaysia
Posted on Tuesday, June 4, 2024

About WorldFish

“WorldFish is a leading international research organization working to transform aquatic food systems to reduce hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. It collaborates with international, regional, and national partners to co-develop and deliver scientific innovations, evidence for policy, and knowledge to enable equitable and inclusive impact for millions who depend on fish for their livelihoods. As a member of CGIAR, WorldFish contributes to building a food- and nutrition-secure future and restoring natural resources. Headquartered in Penang, Malaysia, with country offices across Africa, Asia, and the Pacific, WorldFish strives to create resilient and inclusive food systems for shared prosperity. For more information, visit:

About the Position

Since 2022, WorldFish has been organized into two Science Units: Aquatic Food Biosciences and Aquatic Food Systems, within which there are four research teams each, corresponding to key thematic and disciplinary pathways and entry points to improving aquatic food systems for sustainable development. These eight research teams all align to achieve impact in three domains: climate and environmental sustainability, gender and social inclusion, and nutrition and public health. This matrix structure facilitates wide collaboration while retaining a clear focus on outcomes and impacts of the research. The second part of this position is to provide intellectual leadership and coordination to research activities and personnel in the research theme of inclusive markets development.

Aquatic foods serve diverse markets, from local to global and from luxury seafood to vital nutrition for vulnerable people. Tens of millions of people – a majority of them women – work in fish marketing, from purchase and processing of aquatic foods at landing sites and farm gates, to food preparation and retail at the final point of sale and consumption – and every stage in between. WorldFish’s inclusive markets research team, and partners, aim to identify, characterise, innovate and scale market systems that are sustainable, equitable and efficient. This is the research that the successful candidate will contribute to by providing intellectual leadership and coordination across the organization’s funded projects in this area. The research team is presently small (four or five people), working on a handful of projects, but this is a clear growth area for us, under the right leadership.

Markets are ‘socially embedded’ and our work seeks to ensure that aquatic foods markets remain central and responsive to the aspirations and cultures of the communities and societies where aquatic foods are important components of livelihood systems and diets. Our research and innovation support aquatic food supply chains to include women, youth and small-scale traders on fair terms. We support their dynamism and entrepreneurship by working with them to overcome barriers to livelihood strengthening, identify and promote effective waste and loss reduction, and improve access to market information that them to receive fair wages and prices and respond to changes in demand in often distant markets. Our work also identifies sustainable ways to improve access to innovations in processing and marketing, both technological and institutional, improve access to finance for small-scale aquatic food businesses, while protecting lower-income consumers’ fundamental human right to safe, adequate and nutritious food, when considering growth opportunities in export markets.

We place great emphasis on inclusion and fairness because we work in a context of rising production and demand for aquatic foods and the imperative is to ensure that growth in aquatic food markets benefits lower-income and smaller-scale supply chain actors. Our research helps to identify and support opportunities for small-scale actors to prosper from engagement in trade in aquatic foods to urban, regional and global markets. Ultimately, we aim to support aquatic food markets that work to direct culturally preferred nutrient rich foods, produced efficiently at low environmental costs, to those who value and need them most for a healthy diet.

Current research, innovation and scaling work in inclusive markets includes:

  • Engagement of women, youth and coastal Indigenous Peoples in production, processing, and marketing of nutrient-rich, climate adaptive, affordable marine and aquatic foods in East Africa, Bangladesh, Malaysia and Solomon Islands.
  • Training and financing for improved distribution of aquatic foods to support livelihoods of food sector actors - many of whom are women - and nutrition benefits of consumers, particularly in the nutritionally critical ‘first 1000 days’ of infants’ – and their mothers’ lives, in Egypt, India, Bangladesh, Cambodia, Zambia and Malawi.
  • Improved fish processing for food product health and safety and waste and loss reduction in Solomon Islands, Timor Leste, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Key Responsibilities

  • Provide intellectual leadership for the Inclusive Markets research team in WorldFish. This includes working with colleagues across the organization on: identifying research needs and opportunities on aquatic food value chains and markets; organizing research team discussions and meetings; fostering a culture of critical inquiry and research excellence; mentoring and peer-to-peer support of colleagues to develop organizational capacity for research on markets; identifying opportunities to synthesize, evaluate and communicate work related to supply chain development and market trends and opportunities.
  • Conduct research, capacity development and policy influencing activities in the candidate’s areas of specialism within aquatic food markets and supply chains, through partnerships with colleagues, National Research Systems and other actors, in WorldFish focal countries, as detailed in our 2030 strategy.
  • Identify and develop strategic partnerships with public and private sector actors in aquatic food market systems to pursue equity and sustainability gains in aquatic food markets.