Wheat Breeding & Research Consultant

  • Senior-level, Short-term contract assignment
  • Posted on 10 July 2019
  • United States
  • Closing on 26 July 2019

Job Description




Wheat Breeding & Research Consultant

Position Summary:

The Grain Research and Innovation (GRAIN) project was conceived in response to Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan’s need to build the wheat research capacity of the Ministry and Directorates of Agriculture, Irrigation and Livestock (MAIL/DAILs) and the Agricultural Research Institute of Afghanistan (ARIA). This USAID-funded project is being implemented by Michigan State University’s (MSU) Global Center for Food Systems Innovation (GCFSI).

The principal objective of GRAIN is to enhance the performance of MAIL in filling its mandate to lead responsive research to identify and disseminate technologies and practices that promise the greatest benefits to wheat sector stakeholders in Afghanistan. Emphasis on a) building the capacity of and creating opportunities for women in agricultural research and b) improving the gender-responsiveness of research and subsequent extension messaging in the wheat sector is integrated throughout program activities. Specific goals are to improve capacity of MAIL/ARIA to:

1) Conduct wheat research (design, implementation, data collection and analysis) that identifies technologies and practices with the potential to improve productivity in the wheat sector;

2) Interpret and share research findings and translate research results into recommended best practices for wheat sector stakeholders, in different agroecological zones; and

3) Identify research priorities in response to key constraints in the wheat sector.

The purpose of this consultant assignment is to support the GRAIN technical team and its ARIA and MAIL partners in:

1. Planning Wheat Breeding Program for End-Use Quality: Integrating stronger consideration of breeding for quality in the currently drafted Roadmap for Wheat Improvement plan which aims to outline a long-term, comprehensive and locally-responsive plan for developing a wheat breeding program in Afghanistan.

2. Provide Scientifically Sound Interpretation of Wheat Quality Data: Wheat harvested from on-going wheat trials in Afghanistan and/or imported wheat will be tested for quality characteristics. The consultant will interpret the data, explain the implications of wheat quality testing results to GRAIN and its partners, and recommend next steps.

3. Supporting Small Grants Research Teams in Planning and Conducting End-Use Quality Related Research: With the absence of any in-country experts in the area, serve as lead technical advisor for the review of submitted research proposals related to end-use quality, and provide ongoing advice to researchers in refining methodology, interpreting results, and drawing recommendations and conclusions.

4. Identifying and Working Closely with a Regional Expert to Provide Training and Support In-Country:

This team approach will allow for GRAIN and partners to draw from the expertise of the Consultant while also working with a Specialist better able to travel to Afghanistan and/or organize training or study tours in a country in closer proximity to Afghanistan (e.g. India, Kazakhstan, Turkey, UAE).

*Travel to Afghanistan is not required.

Minimum Requirements:

Minimum 15 years of relevant work experience in wheat breeding, research, and analysis. Candidates should possess prior international work experience, preferably in Afghanistan. They should possess the ability to work independently and in a team in a fast-paced environment, meet conflicting deadlines with minimal supervision, and excellent critical thinking skills and sound judgement. Written and oral English fluency.

Desired Qualifications:

A PhD in relevant field or an MS in a relevant field plus extensive work experience. Also, prior international work experience, preferably in Afghanistan. Knowledge of wheat-specific issues in Afghanistan a plus.

Required Application Materials:

Please submit a resume and 3 references (names with contact information) to isp.grainmsu@msu.edu with the following in the subject line: Wheat Consultancy . Or click Apply Now below.

Applications due by Friday, 26 July 2019 by 17:00 EST

Michigan State University is an affirmative-action equal-opportunity employer. MSU is committed to achieving excellence through cultural diversity. The University actively encourages applications and/or nomination of women, persons of color, veterans and persons with disabilities.

About the Organization

MSU is one of the top research universities in the world. Founded in 1855, it was the first institution of higher learning in the United States to teach scientific agriculture.

The Global Center for Food Systems Innovation works on improving food systems in a world facing shrinking natural resources, changing climate, urbanization, and rapidly increasing demand. We focus on capacity building activities that increase the strengths of agricultural innovation systems and related actors in Malawi and Afghanistan.

Launched in 2012, GCFSI is one of eight development labs established through the Higher Education Solutions Network of the United States Agency for International Development. GCFSI is housed within MSU's International Studies and Programs unit, and works with researchers and faculty across campus and around the world.

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