Yam Breeder

Location: Abuja, Nigeria

Yam Breeder (Ref No: DDG-R4D/YB/11/14)

Background: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for the internationally recruited position of Yam Breeder. IITA is an international non-profit agricultural research-for-development (R4D) organization established in 1967, governed by a Board of Trustees, and a member of the CGIAR Consortium. Our R4D approach is anchored on the development needs of the tropics. We work with partners to enhance crop quality and productivity, reduce producer and consumer risks, and generate wealth from agriculture. We have more than 100 internationally recruited scientists from about 35 countries and 900 nationally recruited staff based in various stations across Africa.

Please visit http://www.iita.org/ for more information on IITA.

IITA seeks a highly motivated and qualified individual to participate as a senior plant breeder in a new project on ‘Enhancing Yam Breeding for Increased Productivity and Improved Quality in West Africa (AfricaYam)’ supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation (BMGF). Project activities will be carried out through collaborative research between IITA and the national yam programs of Benin, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and Nigeria; the Japan International Research Center for Agricultural Sciences (JIRCAS), and the Iwate Biotechnology Research Center (IBRC) in Japan; the James Hutton Institute (JHI), UK; the Centre de Coopération Internationale en Recherche Agronomique pour le Développement (CIRAD), France; and the Boyce Thompson Institute for Plant Research (BTI), Cornell University, USA. This initiative is focused on breeding superior yam varieties for high yield, good quality and resistance to diseases (anthracnose and yam mosaic virus).

This project will also focus on regional testing of currently available promising breeding selections; phenotyping bi-parental populations, mapping and genome-wide association studies for key agronomic and quality traits; additional re-sequencing, sequence analysis for generation of genomic tools for genotyping populations, genome-wide association studies, and testing the feasibility of genomic selection; constructing and using a ‘open access’ database for curation and integration of yam research data; and capacity building. The successful candidate will report to the Regional Director for Western Africa and the Director in charge of Biotechnology and Crop Improvement.

The Yam Breeder will undertake the following activities:
> Plan, implement, and oversee yam breeding activities in the project to ensure that outputs are delivered according to the agreed results framework and results tracker.
> Backstop and strengthen the national yam breeding programs in the four project member countries.
> Guide and promote participatory breeding by partners and farmers.
> Supervise PhD and MSc research linked to yam breeding.
> Organize communication and dissemination of research results.
> Write project progress reports and publish research articles in international peer reviewed and open access journals.
> Organize the production and supply of planting materials of improved yam varieties to partners.
> Participate in resource mobilization for yam breeding.
> Any other duties as may be assigned by the supervisor. Educational Qualifications The candidate should have a PhD in plant breeding from a recognized university and more than seven (7) years of post-PhD experience.

Core Competencies:
> Strong knowledge and experience in classical plant breeding and successful variety development, preferably in a root or tuber crop.
> Ability to integrate high quality phenotyping with genotyping.
> Experience with project activity implementation and monitoring.
> Excellent communication and interpersonal skills.
> Excellent spoken and written English; knowledge of French would be an asset.
> Demonstrated ability to write and publish articles in peer reviewed international journals.
> Ability to work in a multi-disciplinary, multi-institutional, and multi-cultural environment.
> Willingness to travel extensively within the West Africa sub-region.
> Research experience in sub-Saharan Africa is an asset.

Duty station: Abuja, Nigeria

General information: The contract will be for an initial period of three years with possibility of renewal based on performance and availability of funding. IITA offers internationally competitive remuneration package paid in U.S. 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 women candidates. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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