Quantitative Genetics Specialist

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The Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB) is a new CGIAR cross-commodity platform that supports the modernization of breeding programs targeting Africa, Asia, and Latin America for greater impact on food and nutrition security, climate change adaptation and development. 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.

EiB is headquartered at the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), with access to state-of-the art facilities at one of the largest CGIAR centers and well-connected with the 15 other sister centers, all known for their high impact on agriculture in developing countries. EiB draws from innovations in CGIAR centers, advanced research institutes and the private sector, providing access to cutting-edge tools, services and best practices, application-oriented training and practical advice.

The EiB is recruiting a Quantitative Genetics/Biometrics Specialist to support developing world breeders to achieve higher rates of genetic gain and extract maximum value from new and proven technologies. The specialist will work within the EiB module on optimizing breeding schemes, which works with breeding teams to optimize breeding schemes, respond appropriately to changes in resources and to extract maximum value from implementation of new technologies, tools or services to the breeding process.

The successful candidate will have a strong background and experience in quantitative genetics with a deep understanding of how to manipulate plant breeding schemes by using the latest technologies. The successful candidate will work with EiB members worldwide – in a wide range of regions and crops – in order to optimize breeding schemes according to elements of the breeder’s equation in order to achieve the highest possible rate of genetic gain per dollar invested and per unit of time using simulation technologies, optimization and applied quantitative genetics experience, among other means.

By providing one-on-one consultation, workshops and online communication via the platform’s purpose built ‘toolbox,’ the successful candidate will contribute to raising standards of breeding operations at CGIAR and NARS breeding programs in line with targets set by EiB.

The position will be based at the Headquarters in CIMMYT (Mexico), and will involve significant international travel.

Specific duties:

  • Engaging with member breeding teams to create awareness of new tools and approaches for optimizing breeding pipelines.
  • Working with breeders to design and evaluate new and current breeding schemes through simulation, retrospective analysis and pilot testing.
  • Developing strategy in collaboration with breeders and developing plans to optimize the use of new breeding tools and methodologies.
  • Mentoring and consulting with the partner breeding community.
  • Contribute to the development of a training strategy and materials for implementation.
  • Leading and contributing to both virtual and hands-on training and mentorship activities targeted at member breeding teams in Africa, Asia and Latin America.
    Providing support to internal and external reviews and evaluations.
  • Contributing to publications derived from the breeding optimization project.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • PhD in plant breeding, quantitative genetics, biometrics or related fields with a minimum of 2 years of relevant experience. Experience in private industry is a plus but not required.
  • In-depth understanding of practical breeding applications and logistical constraints that will be relevant to breeding programs targeting the developing world (i.e. CGIAR centers, national systems and private sector organizations).
  • Expertize in statistical analysis software (R, mixed modeling, perhaps machine learning, etc.) and a creative and innovative mindset.
  • A good understanding of quantitative genetics and underlying mathematical theory.
  • Good reporting and communication skills in English (working language).
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Problem-Solving, Communication, Multicultural Awareness and Collaboration.

We offer:

  • A great opportunity for technical and professional development by teaming up with a wide range of experts from CGIAR, NARS and private industry.
  • Competitive compensation comparable to private industry, including attractive benefits and excellent career opportunities in an international organization.
  • World-class medical insurance coverage (including dependents), among other benefits.
  • A friendly, humble environment full of people passionate for what they do and interested in helping people around the world.

Additional Information.

EiB seeks candidates who embrace diversity in the broadest sense. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability status, or any other characteristic protected by law. CGIAR has a deep and profound commitment to diversity both as an end in itself but, also as a valuable means for eliminating health disparities. We promote excellence through diversity and encourage all qualified individuals to apply.

Positions are meant to be based in the developing countries since these are the targets of the CGIAR system. CIMMYT provides a secure environment with excellent living conditions and Mexican cities provide all the commodities along with a rich culture, outstanding gastronomy, history, and welcoming people.


If you are interested or know someone who would be interested, please contact Eduardo Covarrubias (g.covarrubias@cgiar.org; or Jan Debaene (j.debaene@cgiar.org).

Candidates must apply online by Monday, August 3rd, 2020 to ensure full consideration, though review will continue until the position is filled. Applicants should upload the following items: (1) cover letter, (2) curriculum vitae (3) three references. The references will be contacted only for applicants moving to the last phase and applicants will be notified before doing so.

Questions about the position can be directed to Eduardo Covarrubias (g.covarrubias@cgiar.org; (+52 1 595 125 5905). For further information on the selection process, please contact Yessica Castillo (y.castillo@cgiar.org)

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