Head of Breeding (Ref. No: DDG-R4D/HB/12/19)
Background: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for
the internationally recruited position of Head of Breeding.
The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a not-for-profit institution that
generates agricultural innovations to meet Africa’s most pressing challenges of hunger,
malnutrition, poverty, and natural resource degradation. Working with various partners across
sub-Saharan Africa, we improve livelihoods, enhance food and nutrition security, increase
employment, and preserve natural resource integrity. IITA is a member of CGIAR, a global
agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Please visit http://www.iita.org/ for
more information on IITA.
IITA has successful breeding programs on six very important crops in sub-Saharan Africa:
cassava, yam, banana/plantain, maize, soybean and cowpea. In recent years, these have been
reviewed based on the Breeding Program Assessment Tool (BPAT)
(https://plantbreedingassessment.org/). The programs have also had extensive interaction with
the CGIAR Excellence in Breeding (EiB) platform during which crop specific and cross cutting
(institutional) improvement plans have been developed along with product profiles and market
segmentation analyses. Implementing these plans will require a strong focus on step changes to
improve efficiency of breeding and delivery of increased rates of variety turnover and genetic
gain. This has been identified as a high priority by IITA and the appointee will play an important
role in prioritizing future investments at the Institute within the Crops to End Hunger initiative.
IITA seeks a senior plant breeder with commercial plant breeding and people management
experience to lead modernisation of all IITA breeding programs and to facilitate the institutional
changes that will allow this to occur in an effective and efficient manner. The appointee will
report to the Deputy Director General for Research-for-Development.
The Head of Breeding will:
• Align breeding focus and operational resources to validated breeding targets.
• Establish a crop advancement agenda in partnership with breeders of the IITA mandate crops
and the product manager.
- Establish specific metrics for variety and trait advancements for each crop.
- Establish metrics for population improvements within the breeding program.
• Modify breeding structure of each crop to deliver demand driven products at the lowest cost.
• Establish a culture of continuous improvement.
• Improve breeding strategy for all six mandate crops.
• Lead breeding teams to design and implement breeding strategies.
• Work closely with the product manager and cross-functional product teams to define targets
for the breeding programs to develop breeding strategy.
• Work with breeders to strengthen collaboration with national breeding programs and other
relevant stakeholders (e.g. seed companies, input suppliers, etc.)
• Define investment plans and mobilize increased resources for crop breeding.
• Facilitate establishment of collaborative research with advanced research institutions.
• Serve as the focal point of IITA’s interactions with the Excellence in Breeding platform.
• Connect IITA resources in design, engineering and operations to develop highly effective
product development teams.
The candidate should have a finalised PhD in plant breeding, genetics or related field.
• At least 15 years of experience in plant breeding programs (with at least 10 years in the
private sector) at progressively higher levels of responsibility.
• Evidence of significant management skills including change management and management
of successful breeding teams.
• Ability to work well in a diverse multicultural environment.
• Excellent interpersonal and organizational skills.
• Evidence of experience in resource mobilization.
• Excellent written and oral communication skills.
• Ability to build consensus/function as part of a team.
Duty Station: IITA Headquarters, Ibadan, Nigeria
General information: The contract will be for an initial period of three years. IITA offers an
internationally competitive remuneration package paid in US Dollars.
Applications: 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 the Head, Human Resources Service. Please complete our online application form
using this link: http://www.iita.org/careers
Closing Date: The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found.
IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from
Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted