Human Resources

Vigorous seed

For the first time, Embrapa is hiring masters and doctors to invest in new technologies

About 3,500 masters and doctors are fighting for 271 vacancies for researchers in an entrance exam that the Brazilian Agricultural Research Corporation (Embrapa) is holding all over the country. The selective process, which has to be concluded this month, has a format and purpose that are unprecedented in the institution’s history. For the first time, Embrapa is willing to renew its staff and is looking for 24 masters and 271 doctors, when, in the past, it has always opted to hire young professionals and to sponsor their education in postgraduate studies. “The Brazilian postgraduate system has matured and is producing a large quantity of good researchers, avid for job opportunities. Of the 10 thousand doctors qualified every year, a thousand are in the area of agrarian sciences”, says Embrapa’s president, Silvio Crestana. “We are not offering spectacular salaries, and even so we have managed to attract a significant number of participants for the entrance exam”, he explains. The remuneration offered runs from R$ 3,660.61 to R$ 4,886.86 a month.

The main justification for the entrance exam is the pressing need to renew Embrapa’s workforce. With 37 research centers scattered over the country, the company has over 2 thousand researchers on active service, of which a little over one third at the masters’ level and almost two thirds with a doctorate or postdoctoral qualifications. But, 33 years old, it will shortly face the retirement of hundreds of professionals – precisely those who helped to start the company. It is estimated that, by 2009, over 700 researchers will leave the company. The ambitions of the selective process go far beyond the replacement of human resources. Part of the vacancies offered is connected with emerging fields of knowledge in which Embrapa has decided to create critical mass. The 21 professionals recruited for the area of agroenergetic production systems, for example, will assist in the formation of a research network that, later on, will act as a basis for the creation of a new unit of the company, Embrapa Agroenergy.

The company has carried out a careful study to determine the profile of the openings. It has defined some demands from the sector for the moment, such as sanitary defense, agroenergy, agroecology, climatic changes, and the promising areas for the future, the case of food safety, advanced biology, nanotechnology and traceability. In the majority of them, it has opened up openings for professionals with a doctor’s degree. In other, in which Brazil does not yet have a tradition, it has offered vacancies for masters. But the company’s hallowed vocations were far from being forgotten. “We are also looking for professionals in areas that we have mastered, to maintain the competence that there is already”, Silvio Crestana claims. “With the traditional genetic improvement, we have created varieties of several crops, such as rice, beans, corn, wheat and soybeans, which have established a Brazilian and tropical technology. It is a concern of ours not to lose critical mass.” Part of the positions, not by chance, is connected with areas in which the company has a tradition, such as sustainable production systems (40 vacancies), genetic resources and plant improvement (30) and sustainable use of natural resources (28). Those contracted will begin working in the second half of the year.