Director/Global Head – Business Development

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The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) is currently seeking a Director/Global Head – Business Development.

ICRISAT is a non-profit, non-political organization that conducts agricultural research for development in Asia and sub-Saharan Africa with a wide array of partners throughout the world. Covering 6.5 million square kilometers of land in 55 countries, the semi- arid or dryland tropics has over 2 billion people and 644 million of these are the poorest of the poor. ICRISAT and its partners help empower these disadvantaged populations to overcome poverty, hunger and a degraded environment through better agricultural production systems.

ICRISAT is headquartered at Patancheru near Hyderabad, India, with two regional hubs and eight country offices in sub-Saharan Africa. It is a member of the CGIAR Consortium, a global agriculture research partnership whose science is carried out by the 15 Research Centers in collaboration with hundreds of partner organizations.

ICRISAT conducts research on its mandate crops of chickpea, pigeonpea, groundnut, sorghum, pearl millet and finger millet in the arid and semi-arid tropics. The Institute focuses its work on the drylands and in protecting the environment. Tropical dryland areas are usually seen as resource-poor and perennially beset by shocks such as drought, thereby trapping dryland communities in poverty and hunger and making them dependent on external aid.
ICRISAT envisions a prosperous, food-secure and resilient dryland tropics. Its mission is to reduce poverty, hunger, malnutrition and environmental degradation in the dryland tropics. The approach is through partnership-based international agricultural research-for-development that embodies Science with a Human Face. Please visit

Aspirational targets and development outcomes

ICRISAT has set four bold targets in the next ten years that will enormously benefit the well-being of the drylands’ poorest people:

  • Help halve rural poverty by increasing farm incomes through more productive, stable, diverse and profitable crops and crop products;
  • Help halve hunger by contributing innovations that increase yields by 30% on a wide scale and through policy advice that stabilizes food prices and availability;
  • Help halve childhood malnutrition by enhancing the nutrient content of staple food crops and helping the poor diversify their crops, delivering more nutritious and safer food; and
  • Increase resilience of dryland farming through innovations that stabilize, safeguard and enhance natural resource capital, biological and systems diversity, and land health.

Research programs
ICRISAT is responsible for leading three regional and two global research programs:

  • Asia – The ICRISAT Research Program in Asia adopts an integrated and value chain approach to achieve the best possible impacts on farmers’ fields through building partnerships in India, as well as in a number of countries in Asia, such as China, Thailand, Vietnam, Cambodia, Philippines, Myanmar and Nepal.
  • West and Central Africa (WCA) – ICRISAT’s Regional Research Program in WCA has Country offices in Mali (Regional hub), Niger and Nigeria. Together with research and development institutions in the region, it conducts research to develop improved technologies to enhance the agricultural productivity of sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut.
  • Eastern and Southern Africa(ESA) – ICRISAT’s research program in ESA works to address the challenges of low productivity and profitability, poor access to improved inputs (seeds, fertilizer, knowledge) and equitable markets through its Country offices based in five countries — Kenya (Regional hub), Malawi, Ethiopia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique , as well as in Tanzania, Uganda, Sudan and Eritrea.
  • Genetic Gains – The Research Program on Genetic Gains aims to enhance the gains generated through breeding programs and varietal replacement in farmers’ fields by harnessing the full potential of the Institute’s genebank, modern genomics, molecular biology and breeding approaches.
  • Innovation Systems for the Drylands – Innovation Systems for the Drylands is one of the two cross-cutting global programs at ICRISAT. The concept of an innovations systems approach recognizes the importance of conditions that are needed to create demand for technologies and how knowledge may be used to bring about food secure and sustainable livelihood systems in resource-constrained smallholder farming systems.
    ICRISAT, with an annual budget of over USD60 million, has a global workforce of over 3000 individuals in Asia and Africa.

Position overview
ICRISAT has a compelling mission to fight poverty and improve the lives of people living in the semi-arid regions around the world. The semi-arid tropics are harsh environments with some of the highest levels of poverty and malnutrition, impacted strongly by climate change and battling water shortages and environmental degradation. The UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) cannot be met unless we are persistent in escalating efforts towards finding solutions in these most challenged landscapes.

This is an exceptional opportunity to become a part of a modern and innovative agricultural research organisation. ICRISAT is embarking on an ambitious new initiative to develop new and innovative funding models that will reach out to a wider portfolio of donors and investors, and to cultivate, engage in and build diverse and enduring strategic relationships with the private sector, foundations, governments and high-net worth individuals, among others. A larger portfolio of funded projects as well as new business models to diversify funding sources, will be among the measures of success for this role.

The Director/Global Head – Business Development will lead a focused business development team and will be based at ICRISAT’s headquarters in Patancheru, near Hyderabad, Telangana State, India. The position will report to the Deputy Director General – Research. This is an Internationally Recruited Staff (IRS) position for three years with attractive compensation and benefits. A new contract may be offered at the end of the present tenure based on the performance of the incumbent, funding availability and the Institute’s continuing need for the position. The suitable candidate will need to be able to act fast, engage professionally and build relationships across multiple cultures, besides working closely with the Institute’s Leadership Team and scientists across all our locations in Asia and Africa. The successful candidate will be an exceptional leader who is a passionate, dynamic, and collaborative individual and is highly motivated to achieve excellence.

Primary Responsibilities

  • Lead the formulation of innovative business development opportunities.
  • Proactively gather donor intelligence and identify new donors or potential funding opportunities.
  • Develop and present innovation funding pitches to current and new donors.
  • Coordinate multi-disciplinary teams to develop proposals and follow-through for successful funding.
  • Work in partnership with stakeholders to submit proposals for competitive calls.
  • Coordinate timely submission of donor reports and compliance with donor regulations.
  • Coordinate with the Office of the Deputy Director General- Research and Financial Services for project management.
    Candidate profile

Qualifications and Experience

The ideal candidate will have most, if not all, of the following skills, knowledge, experience, and personal characteristics:

  • At minimum a master’s degree in a relevant field of business development or strategic marketing.
  • Relevant work experience of at least 20 years for Director, and 15 years for Global Head, in business development and resource mobilisation in agricultural research for development or a similar area.
  • Experience across all phases of the business development lifecycle, from strategizing to successful proposals.
  • Substantial proven success in generating resources from a diverse range of sources.
  • Well connected with key funding organizations such as corporations, governments, foundations, impact investors, etc.
  • Experience in business development areas such as Corporate Social Responsibility, multinational donors, development banks, consulting etc.
  • Analysis of business processes to identify opportunities to generate additional revenue.

Skills and Knowledge

  • Demonstrated leadership abilities and strong interpersonal skills.
  • A deep understanding of agricultural science and its critical role in tackling issues such as climate change, natural resource management, malnutrition, gender issues and rural poverty across developing countries that impact the UN SDGs.
  • Insights into solutions in agricultural science, ranging from plant breeding technologies to digital solutions and agribusiness.
  • Proactive and achievement oriented.
  • Strategic and innovative in business development strategy and execution.
  • Established networks and skills to establish and strengthen industry partnerships.
  • Ability to write impactful pitches and to follow these through personally or with support from others
  • Excellent written and oral skills in English. Knowledge of other international languages, especially French, will be an advantage.

Assignment Location:

The position will be based at ICRISAT’s headquarters in Patancheru, near Hyderabad, Telangana State, India. Hyderabad is the largest city and capital of the Telangana State; and also the de jure capital of the state of Andhra Pradesh. It is India’s fourth largest city; and is a fascinating combination of the ancient and the modern India. Hyderabad has developed into one of the major hubs for the information technology industry in India. In addition to the IT industry, various biotechnology and pharmaceutics companies have set up their operations in Hyderabad owing to its established Public sector in Life Science Research and Genome Valley. The city incubates several promising start-up companies and is one of the most exciting business centers in the country.

Located at the crossroads of North and South India, Hyderabad has cultivated a unique culture that is reflected in its language and architecture. Hyderabad is known for its rich history, food and its multi-lingual culture. There are four major languages spoken in Hyderabad: Hindi, Deccani-Urdu, Telugu and English. English is the language of business and administration and is widely spoken and understood. The Hyderabadi cuisine is known for its delectable flavors. Traditional Hyderabadi Dum Biryani is the most celebrated dish from Hyderabad.

Hyderabad has world class education facilities. While it is home to the prestigious International Business School, the city also houses educational institutes and schools imparting various national and international curriculum. Noteworthily, ICRISAT hosts the International School of Hyderabad within its campus.

Hyderabad is an ideal destination for expatriation. A vibrant international community, warm and friendly residents, negligible crime rate, sophisticated luxury hotels, sprawling shopping malls, boutique cafes and world class recreation facilities make the city an ideal destination for global citizens.

How to apply:

If this position interests you, please follow the below instructions to apply.

Applicants should apply on or before 7 March 2021, with latest Curriculum Vitae, and the names and contact information of three references that are knowledgeable about their professional qualifications and work experience. All applications will be acknowledged. However, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Please CLICK HERE to submit your application.

ICRISAT is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing diversity and maintaining a progressive and inclusive workplace. We welcome applications from all qualified candidates regardless of their ethnicity, race, gender, religious beliefs, sexual orientation, age, marital status or whether they have a disability.

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