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Module Lead for Breeding Process and Management

Mexico or Kenya
Posted 4 years ago



The CGIAR Excellence in Breeding Platform (EiB) ( is a 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.

The Platform is part of the new CGIAR portfolio of research programs and platforms (, and is led by the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center, known by its Spanish acronym, CIMMYT®, a not-for-profit research and training organization with partners in over 100 countries (


Module Lead for Breeding Product Design and Management

The Excellence in Breeding (EiB) Platform is recruiting a Module Lead specializing in Breeding Product Design and Management. EiB supports breeding programs targeting Africa, Asia, and Latin America to adopt best practices and technologies to improve rates of genetic gain and variety turnover, for impact on livelihoods, food and nutrition security, and climate change adaptation.

The Module Lead for Breeding Product Design and Management will guide and advise EiB partners to adopt efficient, product-oriented, and demand-led breeding pipelines. The Module Lead will provide wide-reaching leadership across CGIAR centers and national partners in developing market-driven product pipelines, serving resource-constrained farmers in Africa, Asia, and Latin America. This is one of five Module Leads covering the full spectrum of breeding activities and technologies and reporting to the EiB Deputy Director. The role sets the direction of Module 1 and coordinates with EiB partners to implement best management practices in their product development pipelines. The Module Lead will work closely with the EiB Senior Market Strategist, various teams across the CGIAR, and national breeding teams (NARS) to ensure that:

  • Product Profiles are based on market intelligence and data, reflecting what drives variety adoption and characteristics which can be translated to quantitative breeding targets, resulting in greater impact.
  • Partnerships with multidisciplinary teams of scientists are developed and interactions with NARS, industry partners and end users (farmers, traders, consumers, etc.) from different organizations are established to design well-defined and clearly prioritized Product Profiles for the Target Population of Environments.
  • Advancement processes through delineation of well-founded stages and gates are conceptualized, taught and coached to all breeding program contributors, and progressive stages of the breeding process are based on reliable market, trial data and impact analysis (genetic gain and variety turnover).
  • Key indicators are aligned with breeding program objectives and that the programs’ performance are regularly tracked.
  • Effective methods are established for routine assessment of genetic gains and progress toward key indicators and increased variety turnover are measured.
  • There is transparency of breeding program outcomes to breeding teams, research managers and funders.


EiB is seeking for an accomplished expert who has broad understanding and a demonstrated track record in data-driven optimization of breeding product designs for delivering maximum impact, to produce improved varieties, preferably in several crops. This lead person requires solid professional understanding of breeding processes, product development and management concepts, with a focus on modern and proven practices. They will be responsible to introduce these concepts and transform product development at public breeding institutions through leading multi-disciplinary teams in implementing industry-recognized practices.  As Module 1 Lead they will have a prominent role in spreading the mission of EiB, which is to lead, co-ordinate and support improvement of CGIAR and NARS (National Agricultural Research & Extension Services) crop breeding.

The location of this position will be determined through consultation with the selected candidate: either CIMMYT headquarters in Texcoco, Mexico, or the ICRAF campus in Nairobi, Kenya. This position will involve significant international travel.


Specific duties:

  • Serve as the key point person for EiB on its modernization efforts in order to influence decisions executed by partners, leading this process for EiB.
  • Engage directly with the EiB Senior Market Strategist, the other EiB modules leads, and broad CGIAR and NARS teams to define and develop high level processes and procedures to effectively and transparently conceive and deliver market demanded germplasm products to farmers, through:
  • Supporting breeding as a production line and making it more effective across partners.
  • Development of high-quality product profiles, based on market intelligence and with input of cross-functional and multi-disciplinary teams.
  • Demand-driven, product-oriented breeding activities based on the product profiles.
  • Stage gate variety advancement processes.
  • Data-driven annual advancement meetings.
  • Annual assessment of genetic gain and breeding program performance against key indicators relating to genetic gain and variety turnover.
  • View breeding as a production line and make it more effective. Define stages and gates together with the breeding group for product advancement and set up a process to deliver improved varieties or germplasm to partners or the end user.
  • Develop tools to support breeding teams and managers with the above activities.
  • Provide mentorship and consultation for the partner breeding community.
  • Prepare training strategies and materials.
  • Lead and contribute to virtual and face-to-face training and mentorship activities targeted at EiB partner breeding teams in various world regions.
  • Develop the annual and multi-year work plan for Module 1, including execution, reporting, and management of associated budgets.


Required academic qualifications, skills, and attributes:

  • PhD. in agricultural or horticultural sciences, plant breeding, business process management or MBA/DBA or M.S. with equivalent professional certification and experience in the seed business.
  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant experience in the seed business or related disciplines. Certification in project management or business process management, while not essential, would be viewed favorably.
  • Managerial experience in the commercial breeding sector is required; experience in a high functioning breeding organization is very desirable.
  • Understanding of the unique challenges of breeding program management as it relates to markets of many sizes and crop types for developing world markets is a plus.
  • Budget and time management skills.
  • Ability to work in a multidisciplinary and multi-cultural environment.
  • Excellent oral, written and presentation skills in English.
  • Effective partnership-building to lead groups of people and build commitment to making and adopting changes
  • Strategic thinking and ability to persuade.
  • The selected candidate must exhibit the following competencies: Problem Solving and Decision Making, Negotiation and Conflict Resolution, Client Orientation, Teamwork and Team leadership.


The position is for an initial fixed-term of three (3) years, after which further employment is subject to performance and continued funding of the Excellence in Breeding platform. CIMMYT’s internationally competitive salary and benefits include housing allowance, 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.


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.


Applications must include covering letter which should address how the candidate’s background/experience relates to the specific duties of the position applied for, curriculum vitae, names, and addresses of three professional referees (which must include either the Head of the applicant’s current or previous organization or applicant’s direct Supervisor/Superior at his/her present or former place of work).


The application should be addressed to Ms. Auree de Carbon by email at: no later than 18th of August at 18:00 CET. Please indicate in the ‘Subject’ of the email the title ‘application for the post of ‘Module Lead for Breeding Product Design and Management’.


Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.

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