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Breeding Program Optimization Lead/Specialist


The Excellence in Breeding Platform (www.excellenceinbreeding.org) is a new cross-commodity platform that supports the modernization of breeding programs targeting Africa, Asia, and Latin America for greater impact on food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and development.

The platform is part of the new CGIAR portfolio of research programs and platforms (www.cgiar.org/our-strategy), and being led by 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).

By providing important outcomes to under-resourced peoples, CIMMYT and other centers within the CGIAR help realize the founding mission of the CG system – they target low-and-middle-income countries for greater impact on food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and development. CIMMYT (Texcoco, Mexico) is one of the largest centers of the CGIAR and connects through their 15 sister centers and collaborations worldwide to maize and wheat producing regions. For more than 50 years, CIMMYT has made an impact where these crops are a critical income source that provides sustenance for smallholder farmers. The EiB Platform, headquartered at CIMMYT, will draw from innovations in CGIAR centers, advanced research institutes and the private sector, providing access to cutting-edge tools, services and best practices, application-oriented training and practical advice.

The EiB Platform is recruiting a Breeding Program Optimization Lead/Specialist to bring experience in the optimization of breeding schemes, helping developing world breeders achieve higher rates of genetic gain and extract maximum value from new and proven technologies.

The successful candidate will be a breeding specialist who is very strong in quantitative genetics and with an intimate understanding of how to manipulate plant breeding schemes by using the latest technologies. He or she will work with members of the Excellence in Breeding organization worldwide – on a wide range of crops – in order to optimize the breeder’s equation to achieve the highest possible rate of genetic gain per dollar invested and per unit of time. By providing one-on-one consultation, workshops and online communication via the platform’s purpose built “toolbox,” the Breeding Program Optimization Lead/Specialist will bring these centers up to the standards being established by the Excellence in Breeding team.

The position will be based at one of the CGIAR breeding centers in Asia, Africa or Latin America, and will involve significant international travel.

Specific duties:

  • Engaging with member breeding teams to create awareness of new tools and approaches for optimizing breeding pipelines.
  • Working with breeders to design and evaluate new and current breeding schemes through simulation, retrospective analysis and pilot testing.
  • Strategizing with breeders, and developing plans that optimize the utilization of these new breeding tools.
  • Mentoring and consulting with the partner breeding community.
  • Developing a training strategy and materials for implementation.
  • Leading, and contributing to, the EiB electronic virtual and hands-on training and mentorship activities targeted at member breeding teams in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Contributing to the module’s annual and multi-year work plan development, execution and reporting.
  • Providing support to internal and external reviews and evaluations.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • PhD in plant breeding or related fields with a minimum of 10 years of relevant experience.
  • In-depth understanding of practical breeding applications and logistical constraints that will be relevant to breeding programs targeting the developing world, including those from the CGIAR, national systems, and the local private sector.
  • A solid understanding of new and established tools that pragmatically support modern breeding application and capacity development approaches that will accelerate their use in Excellence in Breeding programs for the developing world.
  • Good leadership, communication and mentorship skills.
  • Results focused, pragmatic attitude and solid decision-making skills.
  • Budgeting and time management skills.
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary and multi-cultural environment.
  • Interpersonal skills, teamwork skills and a collaborative attitude.
  • Excellent oral, written and presentation skills in English.
  • Problem solving skills along with a service orientation.

Previous Experience Required:

  • Development of breeding strategies optimizing resource use (breeding schemes, evaluation of effective tool utilization, logistics planning and resource budgeting).
  • Building consensus and collaboration with breeders.
  • Critical evaluation, selection and implementation of new breeding paradigms (new statistical approaches, application of genomics, use of new phenotyping tools etc.).
  • Applied field and integrated molecular breeding.
  • Field trial design and analysis using latest statistical methods.

For further information on the selection process, please contact Dave Jensen, at davejensen@careertrax.com (928) 282-5366 Office (928) 274-2266 Cell (Preferred) or Linda Todten lindatodten@careertrax.com (928) 282-5366 Office.

 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.