Seed Systems Specialist

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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 Cereal Seed Systems Researcher (Associate Scientist or Scientist) to join its Kenya-based Cereal Seed Systems Development Team. The position will contribute to an innovative regional research portfolio focused on solutions to the persistent challenges of cereal systems in eastern Africa related to the low uptake of new improved varieties. Research will address themes related to gender equality, seed preferences, seed access, and seed distribution for various crops, to include wheat, maize, millet, and ground nut. The selected candidate will work as a member of CIMMYT’s Sustainable Agri-food Systems (SAS) program in close collaboration with all other relevant CIMMYT programs and units.

The position will be based in CIMMYT’s campus in Nairobi, Kenya.

Specific duties:

  • Contribute to an ambitious and innovative research-for-development (R4D) agenda focused on the challenges for cereal seed sector in Eastern Africa related to:
    • End-user preferences for foods derived from wheat, millet, ground nut and sorghum
    • Pathways for development of demand-driven cereal seed systems
    • Design of innovative methods and tools to inform strategies for seed systems development
    • Role of NGOs and agri-business in shaping formal seed systems performance (and farmers’ access to improved seed)
    • Influence of gender relations on access to and preferences for cereal varieties
  • Contribute to the design and implementation of a broader social science research agenda related to seed marketing, market intelligence, agri-business, and end-user preferences in the region.
  • Contribute to the positioning of CIMMYT as a thought leader in debate related to cereal seed systems development through high level publications, presentations, and fund raising.
  • Support the capacity development of CIMMYT’s partners in the region, including seed companies, extension programs, and national agricultural research centers, in themes related to cereal seed systems development.
  • Engage local stakeholders (NARS, seed companies, CGIAR breeding teams, NGOs) on strategies, policies, and research needed to address bottlenecks in cereal systems in East Africa and beyond through workshops, briefs, and periodic one-on-one engagements.
  • Engage staff from CIMMYT, NARS, NGOs, and seed companies in the region to understand plant breeding, seed production, and seed distribution, as input for designing a stronger client orientation by social science in its seed systems agenda.
  • Support regional efforts to mobilize resources to expand R4D agenda on seed systems and related areas of work.

Required academic qualifications, skills and attitudes:

  • in rural development, rural sociology, agri-business, or similar field, with at least eight years of relevant experience in a developing country context.
  • Track record of publications in recognized peer reviewed journals.
  • Demonstrated ability to excel in complex multidisciplinary research or development projects.
  • Good partnership building skills, including the ability to interact with funding agencies and local partners.
  • A high degree of personal organization and ability to work under pressure.
  • Ability to work with different nationalities and disciplines as a member of a diverse work team.
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills in English.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Proactivity, Problem Solving and Decision-making, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution 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 home travel airfare, contribution to a retirement plan, and generous assistance with relocation shipment.

Candidates must apply online for IRS22127_Seed Systems Specialist.

Screening and follow-up of applications will begin on Monday, November 7th, 2022. Applications must include a CV, with contact details (telephone and email address) of 3 work-related references along with your confirmation that we can contact them 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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