Senior Seed Systems Specialist

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 Senior Seed Systems Specialist to join its Kenya-based team. The position will provide intellectual leadership for designing and implementing an innovative research portfolio focused on solutions to the persistent challenges of cereal systems in eastern Africa. The research agenda will address themes related to gender equality, seed preferences, seed access, SME development, and seed distribution for various crops, including wheat, maize, millet, and groundnut. The selected candidate will lead in building a network of productive engagements across the region for the design, implementation, and funding of research (e.g., seed companies, national research organizations, NGOs, and donors). S(he) 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 location of this position will be Nairobi, Kenya.

Specific duties:

  • Provide leadership for expanding an ambitious and innovative research-for-development (R4D) agenda focused on the challenges for the cereal seed sector in eastern Africa related to:
    • Increased relevance and scale of informal seed systems.
    • Strategies for the development of demand-driven (formal and informal) cereal seed.
    • End-user preferences for foods derived from maize, wheat, millet, ground nut, and sorghum systems.
    • Influence of gender relations on access to and preferences for cereal varieties.
    • Private sector capacity to deliver quality seed.
    • Farmer access to improved seed and decision-making for seed uptake.
  • Provide strategic leadership for the implementation and growth of a high-impact social science research agenda on cereal seed systems.
  • 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 the R4D agenda on seed systems and related areas of work.

Required qualifications, skills, and attitudes:

  • in agricultural economics, development economics, natural resource management, gender studies or similar field, with at least twelve years of relevant experience in a developing country context. Private sector experience will be viewed favorably.
  • Strong quantitative research skills and experience.
  • Track record of publications in high-level 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 should exhibit the following competencies: Client Orientation, Negotiation, and Conflict Resolution, Problem Solving and Decision Making, Teamwork, and Communication.

The position is for an initial fixed term of 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 IRS22156_Senior Seed Systems Specialist.

Screening and follow-up of applications will begin on Tuesday, December 20th, 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 :