Martin Kropff joined CIMMYT from Wageningen University and Research Center (Wageningen UR) in the Netherlands, where he was rector magnificus and vice-Chair of the executive board for almost 10 years. During his tenure, student numbers doubled and the university reached a world ranking as the top university and research center for agricultural and food sciences.
He earned undergraduate degrees at Utrecht University in Utrecht, the Netherlands, and a doctoral degree in agricultural and environmental sciences at Wageningen.
From 1990 to 1995, Kropff was systems agronomist at the International Rice Research Institute (IRRI) in the Philippines, where he led an international program with national agricultural research systems and universities in nine Asian countries on systems research and simulation for rice production.
From 1995, he served in several successive roles at Wageningen UR, including as director general of the Plant Sciences Group and on the executive board. From 2013 to 2015, he was a member of the board of directors of CGIAR, the 15-member consortium of international agricultural researchers to which CIMMYT and IRRI belong.