Programme Director, International Wheat Yield Partnership

Posted by | 02.18.2014

The International Wheat Yield Partnership is seeking a unique Programme Director to lead one of the most important plant breeding and agronomic challenges of the coming decades. Consequently a consortium of funders, led by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC), United States Agency for International Development (USAID), United Kingdom’s Department for International Development (DFID), International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT), Grains Research & Development Corporation (GRDC), and Syngenta Foundation for Sustainable Agriculture (SFSA), with support from other international organisations, is launching a new initiative to bring together new ideas from leading laboratories around the world to tackle the challenge for all regions.

The goal of this new, multi-partnered Programme, focused on wheat yield improvement, is to raise the genetic wheat yield potential by 50% over the next 20 years. The aim is to make leading discoveries associated with processes limiting yield-potential, and incorporate them into elite germplasm to ensure that enhanced proto-type products, fit for deployment in the major wheat growing areas of the world, are generated. The Programme will provide new research funding and will seek synergies with existing Programmes in many countries, including the CIMMYT ‘WHEAT’ collaborative research Programme. The goals of the Programme are closely aligned with the vision of the Wheat Initiative (, to harness and stimulate advances in science in order to engineer higher yield potential for wheat and thereby contribute to food security.

This new Programme, focused on raising genetic wheat yield potential, will be led by a Programme Director who will co-ordinate and direct the Programme to ensure delivery of the milestones and final outputs. The Programme’s funding partners are therefore seeking a dynamic leader, who is also an experienced scientist to lead this ambitious Programme globally.

CIMMYT will host the Programme; however the Programme will operate as an entity separate from CIMMYT, with its own governance. The Programme Director will therefore report to the Programme’s Science and Impact Executive Board. The preferred location for this position is Mexico; however, it is open to negotiation. Additionally, the successful candidate will be required to travel internationally on a regular basis.

The main responsibility of this position will be to serve as the senior executive leader of the Programme; manage a portfolio of commissioned and competitive projects, with the support of the Programme’s Secretariat. He/she will act as the primary spokesperson for the Programme and ensure that the Programme’s strategic objectives are achieved. The Programme Director will oversee and manage the budget and coordinate advocacy that generates additional financial resources for the Programme.

The Programme seeks candidates with the following qualifications, skills and attitudes:

∙Exceptional leadership in the management, implementation, monitoring, and evaluation of similar sized/ funded Programmes and skills in strategic planning, supervision, budgeting and delivery of scientific milestones

∙Ability to develop and communicate a common vision among diverse partners across public and private sectors and to lead multi-disciplinary teams

∙Experience in managing complex activities involving coordination with multiple Programmes, international implementing partners and local partner institutions

∙A minimum of 10 years of experience coordinating and managing large, international, multidisciplinary research Programmes in private or public sector

∙PhD in a field related to agriculture sciences is highly desirable

∙Previous experience dealing with intellectual property issues would be advantageous

∙Excellent English and strong written and verbal communications skills

∙Ability to work in, and maintain strong inter-personal relations in, multi-cultural circumstances

To apply for this position, email a cover letter and CV (MS Word) no later than 21st March, 2014 by 5pm GMT to Ms Serena Teng. E-mail: or call +353 1647 9207.

This is an equal opportunity position. The board values gender equality, teamwork, and respect for diversity. Women are encouraged to apply. Please note that only short-listed candidates will be contacted.