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Engineering, Automation and Mechanization 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.

Breeding programs in the developing world often operate under resource-constrained conditions and are generally distant from service providers. Both of these issues will be addressed by the Excellence in Breeding Platform, which seeks to optimize the quality, throughput and cost of field-based breeding operations and phenotypic data generated by these centers. As a part of this effort, the Platform is recruiting an experienced Process Engineering, Automation and Mechanization Lead/Specialist who will bring the experience from applied breeding programs and assist in streamlining these processes for the breeding pipeline. He or she will document and scale out these best practices across member breeding programs, by finding, designing or developing engineering options that ease, speed up, reduce cost, or improve the accuracy of breeding activities across the developing world.

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:

  • Identify the main bottlenecks in the pipeline of member breeding activities, especially in relation to field-based breeding operations and phenotypic data generation, and develop pragmatic solutions that increase the efficiency of the breeding process (quality of data, reduced cost, reduced time, etc.).
  • Identify and scale out existing automated processes to breeding programs where these are not operating yet, such as use of barcodes and mobile applications. This will involve documenting existing processes, developing and implementing plans to scale these out, and monitor/quantify the following gains in efficiency.
  • Survey the technology landscape and work with members to test and facilitate the implementation of technology (e.g. equipment, NIRS, image-based high throughput approaches).
  • In collaboration with suppliers, develop and implement semi- to fully-automated and mechanized solutions specifically useful to breeding programs that are resource constrained and distant from service providers.
  • Prepare training strategy and materials.
  • Lead and contribute to virtual and hands on training and mentorship activities targeted at member breeding teams in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
  • Contribute to annual and multi-year work plan development, execution and reporting, and manage associated budgets.

 Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • Degree in engineering, agricultural science or related degree with a minimum of 5 years of experience in automation and mechanization of breeding operations.
  • In-depth understanding of practical breeding applications and logistical constraints relevant to breeding programs, especially in systems that could be desirable in low- or lower middle-income countries.
  • A knack for finding and implementing pragmatic solutions that simplify, speed up, and reduce cost for the breeding activity pipeline.
  • Familiarity with high throughput phenotyping approaches applicable to field-based operations and related constraints.
  • Pragmatic attitude and decision-making skills.
  • Budget and time management skills.
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary and multi-cultural environment.
  • Interpersonal, mentorship & teamwork skills along with a collaborative attitude.
  • Excellent oral, written and presentation skills in English.
  • A problem solver with a service orientation.

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.