Program Manager, Accelerated Breeding Initiative

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The One CGIAR Accelerated Breeding Initiative (ABI) is recruiting a program manager. ABI sets the vision and direction for all breeding in the CGIAR, across all crops and regions and, together with our partners, for improved partnerships; all for the purpose of maximizing impact against the CGIAR 5 impact areas . The ABI proposal  sets out an ambitious and exciting plan for the modernization and evolution of CGIAR breeding and partnerships with NARES toward greater impact.

In the 20th Century, crop breeding drove tremendous gains in food production and profitability that fed a rapidly expanding world population. Along with improved farm management practices, breeding now offers unique opportunities to mitigate impact of climate change and to help farmers — particularly smallholders in developing and emerging economies — to adapt to climate shocks while meeting the rising demand for food and reducing greenhouse gas emissions from agriculture.

This new position will be responsible for supporting and monitoring consistent and substantive progress against the ABI results framework. This will involve working closely with work package leads, crop leads and breeding teams and support networks to put processes and systems in place to ensure successful execution of work plans. Working closely with the CGIAR Global Head of Breeding and Pre-breeding and the ABI lead you will co-develop strategic plans for overcoming challenges and mitigating risks. This position will be supported by project managers in addition to personnel providing administrative, finance and change management support.

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: By providing important outcomes to under-resourced peoples, the CGIAR centers help realize the founding mission of the CGIAR system – they target low-and-middle-income countries for greater impact on food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and development.

The positions will be based at CIMMYT headquarter in Texcoco, near Mexico City.

Specific Duties:

  • Program management (managing up – supporting ABI lead and Global Head of Breeding).
    • Development of strategy, plans and processes for effective delivery of ABI outputs
    • Development of success metrics in alignment with ABI’s strategy and objectives
    • Drive integration of bilateral projects
    • Drive alignment with other CGIAR initiatives where appropriate
    • Overseeing project and operations interdependencies
    • Stakeholder engagement and management
    • Financial planning and budget management
    • Management of administrative processes
    • Understanding and focusing on the business side of change
  • Program management (managing across and down – supporting execution).
    • Implementation of strategy (working with Work Package leads, Crop Leads and Project Administration).
      • Project planning and organization.
      • Provide oversight, direction and support to project management and change management.
      • Reporting and monitoring and evaluation of progress, capturing learnings and impact assessments (MELIA) against key indicators.
    • Internal (team) and external communication approaches to support delivery against program goals
    • Resource mobilization.
    • Understanding and focusing on the people side of change. 

Preferred Academic Qualification, Skills, and Attitudes:

  • Minimum of 5 years of program management experience. Experience and certification in Project Management is desired. An advanced degree will be preferable, but at minimum a bachelor’s degree.
  • The selected candidate should show evidence of an approach coupled with subject matter expertise across change management, project management and research organizations. Awareness of plant breeding processes is highly desired.
  • Proven decision making and problem-solving ability. The selected candidate will be able to develop a plan for overcoming unique challenges and be adaptable to achieve complex and challenging outcomes.
  • The selected candidate will be outcome oriented with the ability to proactively take initiative, use good judgment to prioritize requests, be comfortable working with basic direction and will effectively manage multiple objectives simultaneously, including the ability to prioritize and allocate resources (including time and energy) in alignment with impact. Negotiation, Conflict resolution and relationship building skills will be critical for the selected candidate’s success.
  • Strong written and verbal communication skills are essential. The selected candidate can effectively tailor communications, since we work across all levels of partner organizations, from funders, directors and senior leaders to local teams implementing the work.
  • Beyond being able to perform diligent, effective program management, balance will be important. The selected candidate can listen, negotiate, and be flexible where needed; while also having the stamina and strength to stand on matters that are important for meeting Organization, Initiative and partner goals and principles.
  • The selected candidate must have an aptitude to teamwork as a member of interdisciplinary team in a multicultural environment and should have the ability to interact across partner organizations and be cognizant of funders’ demands.
  • Fluency in spoken and written English is essential, knowledge of a second language; in particular, Spanish, or French, will be viewed favorably.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Client Orientation, 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 airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Candidates must apply here for IRS22121_Program Manager, Accelerated Breeding Initiative. Screening and follow up of applications will begin on Thursday, May 19th, 2022. Applications must include a CV with contact from 3 work references and a cover letter. Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration. For further information on the selection process, please contact Yessica Castillo, at

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.

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