Research Assistant – Trialist

Share this to :

The International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, is 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 dynamic and results-oriented Research Assistant – Trialist. The selected candidate will work as a member of CIMMYT’s Global Genetic Resources Program (GRP). The purpose of this job is to provide support to the Scientist, by managing the sorghum, pearl millet and groundnut regional network trials. This involves planning seed production for trials, packaging and distributing trials, ensuring trials are established in a timely manner, ship the germplasms to testing sites in West and Africa and East and South Africa, trial data is collected and loaded onto a data management system, maintaining assets used for the work (vehicles, tablets for data collections, etc.)

The position will be based in Thiès, Senegal.

Specific duties:

  • Planning, Packing and Distribution of trials.
    • Estimate demand for trial seed production and work with Nursery and Seed Production (NSP) technician to coordinate production
    • Maintain seed inventory and supervise short term trial seed storage
    • Design and pack trials under the direction of crop breeding leads
    • Coordinate shipment of trials to regional collaborators in west African and East and South Africa for timely planting (obtain import permits, phytosanitary certificates, shipment quotes, SMTAs etc.).
  • Management of trials and Data Collection
    • Ensure trials are established on time (timely land prep, planting, fertilizer application etc.) at partner locations and planted according to the trial design.
    • Ensure trials are well managed (irrigated, weed control, pest and disease control etc.) and that there is frequent communication and backstopping support to trialing partners
    • Manage accurate and timely data collection at different stage of the trials in the field and the nurseries.
    • Ensure accuracy of data entry and consolidation for analysis by the Scientist.
    • Learn and operate the Breeding Management System (BMS) and/or the Enterprise Breeding System (EBS) in order to manage routine operations, data upload, data curation, cleaning and preliminary analysis.
    • Implement timely digital data capture using the relevant tools and software as identified by management.
    • Take responsibility for increasing the accuracy and consistency of trial data across the networks in WCA and other ESA countries.
  • Supervise casual labor
    • Manage a team of casual labour for seed inventory, trial packaging, trial distribution.
    • Ensure team receive the necessary training to conduct their tasks.
    • Maintaining of safety and hygiene standards.
    • Preparing muster roll and submit to supervisor and accounts for payment processing.
  • Other Responsibilities
    • Assist / train regional trialing partners based on their needs (data collection, standardized nomenclature, use of digitization tools etc.) and in coordination with the supervisor.
    • Manage printing of packets, labels, tags and seed inventory.
    • Establish and maintain contacts with collaborating organizations and partners.
    • Participate in exhibitions, demonstrations, and field days.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • MSc in Plant Breeding, Physiology, Agronomy or any other Agricultural Sciences or biotechnology.
  • Minimum two (2) years’ experience in managing agricultural field activities or research projects with good knowledge of theories, practices, and procedures.
  • Excellent communication and reporting skills to line manager and colleagues.
  • Ability to communicate orally in both French and English on daily routine matters and to prepare brief reports or complete forms without assistance.
  • Sufficient competency to use the standard Windows-based software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and email used at CIMMYT with occasional assistance.
  • Good writing records, computing software and other IT materials.
  • Ability to provide supervision and training to field staff to manage breeding research activities.
  • Ability to work independently with minimal day to day supervision and proactively solve problems.
  • Ability to drive (manual gear) and travel independently in the region to monitor the trialing network.
  • Familiarity with legumes and/or cereal crops and related research operations (pollination, data collection from trials and nurseries, running breeding and operational software, experience with genotyping sampling etc.) will be an advantage.
  • Ability to analyze data, situations or problems, evaluate possible courses of action and choose.
  • Take reasoned decisions, usually based on policy, established process, precedents, or common sense.
  • Decisions mostly about work processes – How to do rather than what to do.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Critical Thinking, Negotiation and Problem Solving, Communication and Creative Thinking.

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.

Candidates must apply here for SN22189_Research Assistant – Trialist. Screening and follow up of applications will begin on Wednesday, December 21st, 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.

Share this to :