Plant Breeder – Sorghum and Millet, Eastern and Southern 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 sorghum and pearl millet for Eastern and Southern Africa. This program will be designed and implemented in close association with national programs and other partners.

The overall 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 sorghum and 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 Nairobi, 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 networks.
  • Design and implement an effective 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 scientist & 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 agroecologies.
    • 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 builds 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 publication of research results in international, refereed journals.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • PhD in Plant Breeding/ Genetics/ Quantitative genetics.
  • Minimum of 5 years of public or private sector demonstrated successful experience as a sorghum and/or pearl millet breeder.
  • Experience applying quantitative genetics principles, genomics, and latest breeding technologies is desired.
  • Experience working in Eastern and/or Southern Africa will be considered favorably.
  • Strong networking and facilitating skills, with 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 in verbal and written English is essential.
    • Must be willing to travel frequently both internationally and domestically.
    • Experience of managing staff and budgets.
  • 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 IRS21144_Plant Breeder – Sorghum and Millet, Eastern and Southern Africa. Screening and follow up of applications will begin on Wednesday, December 8th, 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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