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Genetic Diversity and Improvement Program Leader – Upland Rice Breeder

The Africa Rice Center (AfricaRice) is seeking an inspiring and dynamic Upland Rice Breeder to lead its Genetic Diversity and Improvement Program (GDI). The position is based at AfricaRice’s 700ha experimental station at M’bé, near Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire. The incumbent will travel frequently to AfricaRice’s regional and country stations to provide scientific oversight to GDI program activities. 

About AfricaRice

AfricaRice is a CGIAR Research Center – part of a global research partnership for a food-secure future. It is also an intergovernmental association of African member countries. 

The Center was created in 1971 by 11 African countries. Today its membership comprises 26 countries, covering West, Central, East and North African regions, namely Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Central African Republic, Chad, Côte d’Ivoire, Democratic Republic of Congo, Egypt, Ethiopia, Gabon, the Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Liberia, Madagascar, Mali, Mauritania, Niger, Nigeria, Republic of Congo, Rwanda, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Togo and Uganda. 

Staff members are located in Côte d’Ivoire and also in AfricaRice Research Stations in Benin, Ghana, Liberia, Madagascar, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Tanzania. 


  1. Guide and mentor a multidisciplinary team of rice improvement scientists integrating the following aspects of breeding: novel genetic resource utilization, conventional breeding, marker-assisted selection, and bioinformatics. More specifically, s/he will manage the rapid generation advancement (RGA) facilities in Bouaké, Côte d’Ivoire and ensure that they serve all breeders of the Center; 
  2. Conduct breeding activities to develop improved high yielding genotypes adapted to the upland rice ecosystem in Savannah and Forest areas, and combine genetic gains for biotic and abiotic stresses (including crop protection) and grain quality; 
  3. Accelerate the production of advanced lines, promote precision phenotypic platforms, and catalyse international testing of breeding materials in close collaboration with National Agricultural Research Systems across Africa, through frequent interactions and integration with regional and country stations of AfricaRice. 
  4. Pro-actively seek interaction with other Research Programs and Units at AfricaRice in order to maintain breeding targets up-to-date with the farmer and consumer’s demand, accelerate the promotion of climate resilient varieties particularly through collaboration with seed systems development specialists and to strengthen rice breeding capacity in Africa. 
  5. Other related responsibilities include: 
  6. Assessing, monitoring and evaluating GDI Program activities including the AfricaRice Rice Breeding Task Force, for scientific excellence, resource use efficiency and impact of products (varieties and breeding tools); 
  7. Strengthening program interaction through leveraging research capacity from the scientific community at the national level with national agricultural research institutions, as well as the regional and international level with sister CGIAR Centers and advanced research institutions; special emphasis will be placed on the RICE CGIAR Research Program (CRP) led globally by the International Rice Research Institute; 
  8. Promoting interaction with development partners such as farmer organizations, NGOs, CSOs and the private sector, to enhance the impact of research activities conducted by AfricaRice and partners;
  9. Contributing to resource mobilization efforts of the Center, development of its annual workplan and budget and annual report; 
  10. Undertaking any other duties as required by the needs of the Center AfricaRice headquarters is based in Côte d’Ivoire. 

Qualifications/Selection Criteria 

The ideal incumbent will have the following qualifications, experience and key competencies: Education: A Doctorate degree in crop breeding or genetics. 

Work Experience: At least 10 years of field experience in crop improvement with knowledge of molecular techniques and management of breeding program with the private sector or in international research institutions. 

Key Competencies Required

Strong knowledge of challenges and opportunities in rice breeding, especially in Africa; ability to facilitate innovation; an excellent team player and ability to encourage teamwork in a multicultural environment; strong interest in public and private sector partnerships; aptitude in scientific project development; strong motivation and leadership skills to bring out the best from both individuals and teams; excellent communication and interpersonal skills and ability to build consensus and manage conflict; technical competency in interdisciplinary approaches relevant to the program. Knowledge of the CGIAR system is an additional asset. 


The incumbent should be able to communicate fluently (orally and in writing) in English or in French with a good working knowledge of the other language. 

Terms and Conditions 

  • This is an internationally recruited position. 
  •  AfricaRice provides an attractive international salary and benefits package and a collegial    and gender-sensitive working environment. 
  • The initial appointment is for three years with the possibility for renewal. 
  • The normal retirement age for internationally recruited staff at AfricaRice is 65.

Application procedure

Expressions of interest (full CV + supporting statement), including the names and addresses (telephone / fax / email) of three referees should be directed in confidence to with the vacancy reference in subject: IRS/15/RD/2015/11/2016. 

Applications will be considered until Monday, January 02, 2017.

AfricaRice is an equal opportunity employer. We believe that staff diversity promotes excellence in our operations and particularly welcome qualified applications from women, people living with disabilities and developing countries. AfricaRice thanks all applicants but only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

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