Head of Breeding at the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)


IITA is recruiting to fill the position below:

Job Title: Head of Breeding

Ref. No: DDGR4D/HB/01/23
Location: Ibadan, Oyo (IITA Headquarters)
Contract Duration: The contract will be for an initial period of three years.


  • We invite 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.
  • 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 be a central part of the Accelerating Breeding Initiative of the OneCGIAR and will involve close collaboration with other Initiatives within the Genetic Innovation Science Area and with bilateral projects.
  • The appointee will report to the Deputy Director General for Research-for-Development.

Position Responsibilities
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 the 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 a 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 the establishment of collaborative research with advanced research institutions.
  • Serve as the focal point of IITA’s interactions with the Genetic Innovation Science Area of OneCGIAR.
  • Connect IITA resources in design, engineering, and operations to develop highly effective product development teams.
  • Perform any other job-related duties as may be assigned by the supervisor.

Educational Qualifications

  • The candidate should have a finalised PhD in Plant Breeding, Genetics, or a related field.

Core Competencies:

  • 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.


  • IITA offers an internationally competitive remuneration package paid in US Dollars.

Application Closing Date
On-going (The position will remain open until a suitable candidate is found).

Method of Application
Interested and qualified candidates should:
Click here to apply online

Click here for more information (PDF)

Important Application Information

  • Please complete our online application form link above.
  • 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”.


  • IITA is an equal opportunity employer and particularly welcomes applications from women candidates.
  • Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.



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