Maize Breeder – Southern Africa

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The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is a not-for-profit agricultural research for development organization with partners in over 100 countries. Please refer to our website for more information:

CIMMYT is seeking a proactive, self-motivated and results oriented Maize Breeder for Southern Africa to join the Global Maize Program. The position will contribute to the efforts of a large multi-disciplinary research team that focuses on development and deployment of multiple-stress tolerant and impactful maize varieties to realize genetic gains at farm level. Specifically, this position will focus on developing elite hybrid maize products targeted towards smallholder farmers of southern Africa and similar agro-ecologies.

The position will be based in CIMMYT’s campus in Harare, Zimbabwe. The position may begin remotely from your home base or current location if organizational approval for the relocation to Zimbabwe is delayed due to COVID 19.

Specific duties:

  • Effectively drive CIMMYT maize product delivery for the breeding pipelines in southern Africa.
  • Through strong collaboration with the teams involved in line development breeding, molecular breeding, phenotyping, and seed systems, ensure generation of high-quality data, statistical analysis and summary of results for stage-gate advancement, especially from Stage 3 to Stage 4, and from Stage 4 to Stage 5.
  • Enhance operational efficiency by regular review of the regional on-station trial data.
  • Convene the Southern African Maize Product Advancement Meetings with active and efficient engagement of internal and external stakeholders.
  • Work in close collaboration with the regional breeding and GIS teams to optimize and align trial locations with product pipeline testing requirements.
  • Effectively fulfill agreed-upon QA/QC and seed quality targets for Stage 4 hand-off to the seed systems team in southern Africa.
  • Strongly contribute to the goal of increasing genetic gains in CIMMYT’s southern African maize breeding pipelines, including formulation, testing and identification of impactful hybrids.
  • Provide leadership to a team of research technicians and drive ownership and accountability amongst the team members.
  • Contribute effectively to the regional collaborative maize breeding network, and capacity building of partner institutions in southern Africa.
  • Ensure proper utilization of financial and human resources, as assigned by the program management.
  • Contribute to fundraising efforts of the CIMMYT-GMP in Africa.
  • Contribute to the visibility of CIMMYT’s research, partnerships, and impacts, including publication of high-quality journal articles.
  • Perform additional/other duties, as may be assigned by the supervisor and Program Director.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • Strong interest in applied Maize breeding.
  • A PhD degree in breeding or genetics, preferably with Maize or other cereals.
  • Experience with genetics, modern breeding methods (e.g., genomic selection, quantitative genetics theory).
  • Statistical skills, knowledge of electronic data collection, databases, data management and interpretation.
  • An ability to communicate and collaborate effectively and build capacity.
  • Demonstrated capacity to publish research findings in reputable peer-reviewed journals.
  • Desire and ability to work collaboratively and respectfully and inclusively in a diverse, multicultural, multidisciplinary work environment.
  • Significant amount of national and international travel will be required.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Critical and Creative Thinking, Problem Solving and decision making, 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 IRS21135_Maize Breeder – Southern Africa. Screening and follow up of applications will begin on Thursday, November 11th, 2021. Applications must include a CV 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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