Plant Breeder – Pearl Millet, West Africa

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The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT) as a member of CGIAR, and pursuing its mission to apply science to sustainably increase crop production and improve livelihoods, is establishing a breeding program for pearl millet in West Africa. This program will be designed and implemented in close association with national programs and other partners.

The objective of this position is to enable truly collaborative CGIAR-NARS breeding programs that accelerate the rate of genetic gain and increase the varietal turnover rate of pearl millet in the target region. The scientist will work with NARS, CGIAR initiatives, such as Excellence in Breeding (EiB), and other stakeholders to develop modern and effective breeding and variety and hybrid deployment strategies.  The successful candidate must be committed to developing and enabling CGIAR-NARS coordinated breeding networks, which will include other value chain partners and collaborators. This position will report to the Breeding Pipeline Modernization Expert.

The duty post will be Senegal or a mutually agreed location within the target region. 

Specific duties: 

  • Establish and lead the breeding activities for the CGIAR component of the CGIAR-NARS network.
  • Design and implement an effective collaborative breeding strategy to develop elite breeding material, and a product advancement process to identify candidate new varieties for targeted market segments and product profiles.
  • With NARS and selected other partners, identify, obtain, and develop appropriate germplasm to sustain breeding programs.
  • In association with multidisciplinary network scientists & staff, EiB, and partners, develop modern population improvement and testing strategies.
  • Co-ordinate the development of a stage-wise multi-environment product performance testing strategy, data analysis, and advancement process which is aligned with crop market segments, TPEs, or agro-ecologies.
  • Ensure cost-effective breeding operations and standard operating procedures that deliver agreed quality and performance indicators.
  • Develop strong partnerships with national public breeding programs to collaboratively identify critical germplasm, product needs and define complementary breeding objectives.
  • Enable and actively support the regional crop network to collaboratively plan and implement breeding activities that balance the development of individual and shared network germplasm products, and build capacity to share knowledge, best practices, training, etc.
  • Support and contribute to product profile development and seed system activities in the region.
  • Contribute to or lead the development of research proposals and other fundraising activities.
  • Lead or contribute to the publication of research results in international, refereed journals.

Required academic qualifications, skills, and attitudes: 

  • Ph.D. in Plant Breeding/ Genetics/ Quantitative genetics with a minimum of 5 years of public or private sector breeding
  • Experience in applying quantitative genetics principles to breeding.
  • Demonstrated successful experience as a pearl millet breeder is desired
  • Experience working in West Africa will be considered favorably
  • Knowledge and experience using genomics and the latest breeding technologies is highly desired
  • Strong networking and facilitating skills, with a focus on enabling and empowering others to succeed
  • Demonstrated ability to work in multicultural and diverse environments.
  • Successful experience and commitment to inclusive research design and implementation.
  • Other requirements:
    • Fluency or advanced competence in English and French is essential.
    • Must be willing to travel frequently both internationally and domestically
    • Experience in managing staff and budget is desirable
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Problem Solving and Decision Making, Critical Thinking, Client Orientation, Communication, and Team Leadership.

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 IRS21152_Plant Breeder – Pearl Millet, West Africa. Screening and follow-up of applications will begin on Thursday, February 24h, 2022. 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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