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Post-Doctoral Fellow or Associate Scientist, Quantitative Genetics

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is not-for-profit agricultural research for development organization with partners in over 100 countries. Please refer to our website for more information: www.cimmyt.org

CIMMYT is looking for a dynamic and self-motivated Post-Doctoral Fellow with a strong background and proven experience in quantitative genetics and biostatistics for a project piloting genomic selection using on-farm performance of unselected early-stage material across a broad sample of African maize and bean farms. The primary goal of the project is to deliver increased genetic gain to smallholder farmers in sub-Saharan Africa through 1) a more extensive sampling of the diversity of on-farm low-input management conditions collected from a large number of farmer-managed trials additional to on-station trials, 2) an improved understanding of the diversity of socio-economic factors, gender-specific management, and environmental on-farm conditions across the target population of environments (TPE), and 3) rapid-cycle genomic selection of parents based on on-farm phenotype information.

The position will report to a Quantitative Genetics Specialist within the Breeding Resources Initiative (BRI) quantitative genetics and breeding optimization team and will work with the CIMMYT-Maize breeding program, and the CIAT-Beans breeding programs in Eastern & Southern Africa (ESA).

The successful candidate will lead the development of on-farm sparse testing experimental designs and the development of rapid cycle genomic selection pipelines for hybrid and line crops using stochastic simulation, analysis of field trials, and the assessment of the on-farm selection through the comparison of genotypic performance on the research stations and under farmers’ management.

The position will be either at CIMMYT headquarters in Texcoco, Mexico or at CIMMYT’s offices in Nairobi, Kenya.

Specific duties:

  • Develop rapid cycle genomic selection breeding strategies for the CIMMYT-Maize hybrid breeding program and the CIAT-Bean line breeding program using AlphaSimR.
  • Evaluate different strategies to maximize genetic gain in collaboration with breeders.
  • Develop and assess genomics-assisted on-farm sparse testing experimental designs with 3-5 unreplicated genotypes tested across a broad sample of smallholder farms in sub-Saharan Africa.
  • Analyze data from on-farm testing and testing o research stations to identify parents for population improvement and candidates for product development.
  • Implement a desired gains selection index that combines multi-trait information coming from on-farm trials, on-station trials, or both.
  • Development and refinement of on-farm trial data analysis pipelines to provide real-time decision support to the breeding programs.
  • Assess the value of on-farm by estimation of genetic correlations between, and heritability of, on-station and on-farm performance to predict direct and correlated genetic gains using data collected from on-farm and on-station experiments.
  • Work collaboratively with the breeding teams and multi-disciplinary scientists involved in this project. Communicate basic theory, strategies, and results on a regular basis.
  • Interact and report to the quantitative genetics team to plan breeding program and experimental design simulations, data analysis, calculation of selection indices for co-selection of traits measured on the farm and/or on the station.
  • Lead and contribute to publications derived from this project.

Required qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • PhD in plant breeding, quantitative genetics, biometrics, or related fields with a minimum of 2 years of relevant experience. Experience in private industry is a plus but not required.
  • Excellent understanding and strong interest in applying modern quantitative genetics and biometrics tools in plant breeding (genomic-assisted breeding tools, linear mixed models, etc.)
  • Expertise in statistical modeling and data analysis using R.
  • Desire and ability to work collaboratively and respectfully in a diverse, multicultural, and multidisciplinary work environment.
  • Good reporting and communication skills in English (working language) and the ability to present complex concepts and results with a non-specialist audience.
  • Demonstrated capacity to publish research findings in reputable peer-reviewed journals.
  • A substantial amount of national and international travel for this position is required.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Critical thinking, Problem-solving and decision-making, Client orientation, Negotiation and conflict resolution, Communication, and Teamwork.

The position is for an initial fixed-term for three (3) years, after which further employment is subject to performance and the continued availability of funds. CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, car, comprehensive health and life insurance, assistance for children’s education, paid vacation, annual home travel airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Candidates must apply online for IRS22173_PDF or Associate Scientist, Quantitative Genetics.

Screening and follow-up of applications will begin on Friday, January 20th, 2023. Applications must include a current CV with contact details (telephone and email address) of 3 work-related references along with the confirmation that we can contact them) and a cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. For further information on the selection process, please contact Yessica Castillo, at y.castillo@cgiar.org

Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

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.

To apply for this job please visit cimmytrecruitment.wufoo.com.