Research Assistant – Breeding Operations



The purpose of thi job is to provide support to the Scientists, by planting of trials and nurseries, collecting data and leaves tissues for AVISA Crops (sorghum, pearl millet, groundnut), supervising casual laborers and maintaining the assets used for the work (vehicles, tablets for data collections, etc, …). The recruited staff will also be in charge of Seed production, packaging and shipping.

He/She will conduct activities with specific tasks that include, but are not limited to:

Data collection and organization

  • Manage accurate and timely data collection at different stage of the trials in the field and the nurseries.
  • Ensure accuracy of data entry and consolidation for analysis by the Scientist.
  • Learn and operate the Breeding Management System (BMS) and/or the Enterprise Breeding System (EBS) in order to manage routine operations, data upload, data curation, cleaning and preliminary analysis.
  • Implement timely digital data capture using the relevant tools and software as identified by AVISA management
  • Coordinate genotyping sampling and shipment

Management of trials and nurseries

  • Ensure timely land preparation
  • Ensure timely planting and of trials and nurseries according to the experimental design.
  • Ensure application of the right amount of fertilizer and timely irrigation water application, weed and pest control
  • Ensure nurseries are planted and harvested according to instructions
  • Ensure shelling/treshing of inbred lines is carried out carefully to avoid seed mixture
  • Manage seed multiplication activities as guided by the breeder
  • Oversee harvest and processing of seed

Supervise casual labor

  • Allocating casual labor to different tasks.
  • Keeping track of daily attendance.
  • Maintaining of safety and hygiene standards.
  • Preparing muster roll and submit to supervisor and accounts for payment processing.

Office & Maintenance of assets

  • Manage seed inventory and storage
  • Ensure tablets for data collection are serviced
  • Timely irrigation pump checks and ensure stores are cleaned and air conditioners are serviced

Other Responsibilities

  • Assist partners based on their needs and in coordination with the supervisor
  • Develop and map out process flows for AVISA crop nursery operations
  • Manage seed counting accurately, packaging and labeling.
  • Print seed labels and field tags for trial and nursery identification
  • Seed shipment to various partners
  • establish and maintain contacts with collaborating organizations and partners
  • Assist in generating descriptor data


The successful candidate will:

  • MSc in Plant Breeding, Physiology, Agronomy or any other Agricultural Sciences or biotechnology
  • Minimum two (2) years’ experience in managing agricultural field activities or research projects with good knowledge of theories, practices, and procedures
  • Excellent communication and reporting skills to line manager and colleagues
  • Ability to communicate orally in both French and English on daily routine matters and to prepare brief reports or complete forms without assistance.
  • Sufficient competency to use the standard Windows-based software for word processing, spreadsheets, presentations, and email used at CIMMYT with occasional assistance.
  • Good writing records, computing software and other IT materials
  • Ability to provide supervision and training to field staff to manage breeding research activities
  • Ability to work independently with minimal day to day supervision and proactively solve problems
  • Familiarity with legumes and/or cereal crops and related research operations (pollination, data collection from trials and nurseries, running breeding and operational software, experience with genotyping sampling etc.) will be an advantage.
  • Ability to analyze data, situations or problems, evaluate possible courses of action and choose.
  • Take reasoned decisions, usually based on policy, established process, precedents, or common sense.
  • Decisions mostly about work processes – How to do rather than what to do.

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