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Technical Program and Portfolio Manager


The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is a not-for-profit research and training organization with partners in over 100 countries (www.cimmyt.org). As staple foods, maize and wheat provide vital nutrients and health benefits, making up close to two-thirds of the world’s food energy intake, and contributing 55 to 70 percent of the total calories in the diets of people living in developing countries. CIMMYT scientists tackle food insecurity through improved nutrient-rich, high-yielding varieties and sustainable agricultural practices, ensuring that those who most depend on agriculture have enough to make a living and feed their families. The U.N. projects that the global population will increase to more than 9 billion people by 2050, which means that the successes and failures of wheat and maize farmers will continue to have a crucial impact on food security.

CIMMYT seeks a dynamic, self-motivated and service oriented professional for the position of Technical Program and Portfolio Manager. This position, which is an ideal role for a person interested in working in an international institution with day-to-day business and science contacts in locations all over the world. Because the institute’s mission is focused on food security, the selected candidate will have a personal involvement in improving outcomes for smallholder farmers in many parts of the world.

This scientist and project manager will report to the Program Director of CIMMYT’s Global Maize Program (GMP) at CIMMYT’s Nairobi, Kenya facilities. He/she will have an important role in CIMMYT Global Maize Program teams in Africa, Latin America and Asia – developing grant proposals, ensuring that the research teams are on a strong performance track, and assisting the Program Director with setting the course of future growth plans in an institute that has doubled in size over the last decade. This is a position that offers enormous opportunity to make an impact on one of the world’s major food security crops.

Job Responsibilities:

This position has been created because there are opportunities to further improve the scope and impact of the CIMMYT Global Maize Program (GMP). The Program Director requires a highly motivated individual who can strongly support the resource mobilization efforts of the Program, as well as to help technically manage the existing projects implemented in Africa, Asia and Latin America. He/she will technically monitor the projects and ensure that CIMMYT’s performance meets the high standards promised to investors. Job responsibilities break down into four categories: Resource Mobilization, Project Management, Performance Monitoring, and Communications and Partnership.

Resource Mobilization

  • The Technical Program/Project Manager will assist in identifying potential funding opportunities for CIMMYT Global Maize Program with internal and external partners;
  • He/she will work closely with the Program Director in the review of high-­level scientific concept notes and pre-­proposals, while working on the development of high-­quality funding proposals in collaboration with project team members in various parts of the world.

Program and Project Management

  • Coordinate the development of impact-­oriented and realistic program work plans, ensure they are aligned with available resources and priorities and that they are set up using professional project management tools;
  • Provide project management mentorship and support to Project Leaders on selected projects, as required, particularly with regard to:
    • appropriate project design and involvement of team members and partners in project development;
    • coordinating the transition from the project design to full implementation;
    • developing and reviewing annual work plans, monitoring their execution against the project baseline including activities, deliverables, schedule, and associated costs, and ensuring that the project work plan is regularly updated in the CIMMYT system;
    • follow-­up on administrative, logistical, and managerial issues to ensure smooth functioning throughout the project cycle;
    • ensuring submission of high-­quality reports to funders;
    • using standard legal instruments (e.g. sub-­grants) in an effective way.

Performance Monitoring

  • The Technical Program/Portfolio Manager will monitor and evaluate technical contributions by Program team members to facilitate performance management and appraisals;
  • He/she will assist in the development of meaningful program-­level KPIs, and work with the GMP Program Management team to develop streamlined mechanisms for monitoring and reporting on a regular basis;
  • The manager will follow-­up on special initiatives in the Program, always ensuring the timely execution of all project tasks.

Communications and Partnership

  • The Technical Program/Portfolio Manager will assist the Program Director to develop and maintain effective strategic partnerships by:
  • coordinating partners’ assessments of research priorities to support resource allocation decisions and development of effective research teams;
  • working with the GMP Program Manager and Administrator to curate distribution lists and CIMMYT contact database
  • drafting and/or circulating important communications on behalf of the Program Director
  • As required, the manager will review communications products for technical accuracy and clarity, while providing editorial support to GMP scientists for publications, reports and other project deliverables.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • A PhD in agriculture or related field – familiarity with applied plant breeding and/or agricultural research-for- development is desirable. (Depending on the technical expertise of the selected candidate, there could be an opportunity to devote up to 20% of time on maize breeding/seed systems work, besides the managerial responsibilities).
  • At least 5 years of applied project management experience with experience in portfolio management desirable. (A Project Management certification would be considered a strong plus).
  • Demonstrated success in development of funding proposals and implementation of major multi-institutional agricultural research-for­development projects.
  • Strong computer skills are required, especially with MS-­Office products.
  • Excellent written and oral English communication skills are essential.

If you are interested in this role or can provide suggested contacts for Career Trax International on this search, please contact us in confidence.

For further information on the selection process, please contact Dave Jensen, Managing Director at davejensen@careertrax.com (928) 282-5366 Office (928) 274-2266 Cell (Preferred) Skype: daveproactive or Ryan Raver, Executive Recruiter at ryanraver@careertrax.com (507) 272-2846 Cell Skype ryan.raver

 This position will remain open until filled.

 CIMMYT is an equal opportunity employer. It fosters a multicultural work environment that values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply.