Senior Extension Associate (Project Manager) at The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA)

The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) is a non-profit agricultural research-for-development (R4D) organization, and a member of the CGIAR Consortium. We thank you for your interest in IITA and invite you to explore many exciting and diverse career opportunities in a work environment that enables you to be the best you can, advancing your professional and personal growth in a multi-disciplinary and multi-cultural environment.

Join a vibrant team that is committed to facilitating agricultural solutions for hunger, poverty, and natural resource degradation throughout the tropics. IITA is an equal opportunity employer and consideration for employment is given to qualified applicants regardless of race, colour, religion, sex, national/ethnic origin or social status.


Senior Extension Associate (Project Manager) (Ref No: DDG-R4D/SEA/PM/11/15)


Background: The International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA) invites applications for the internationally recruited position of Senior Extension Associate (Project Manager).


IITA is one of the world’s leading research partners in finding solutions for hunger, malnutrition, and poverty. Its award-winning research-for-development (R4D) approach addresses the development needs of tropical countries. IITA works with partners to enhance crop quality and productivity, reduce producer and consumer risks, and generate wealth from agriculture. IITA is a non-profit organization founded in 1967 in Nigeria and governed by a Board of Trustees. IITA works on the following crops: cowpea, soybean, banana/plantain, yam, cassava, and maize. It is a member of CGIAR, a global agriculture research partnership for a food secure future. Please visit for more information on IITA.


Position Responsibilities:

This position provides programmatic coordination for the Next Generation Cassava Breeding (NEXTGEN Cassava) project led by Cornell University, an outcome-driven worldwide research project with the goal of accelerating gains in cassava breeding through genomic selection and international data sharing. With supervision of the IITA Director for West Africa the position will report to the Cornell University, Director of International Programs, it provides programmatic leadership for a multi-institutional and multi-disciplinary research team including researchers in Africa and South America. The position coordinates a global virtual community of cassava scientists, and facilitates linkages and synergies among existing cassava research efforts throughout the world.  Working with the Senior Associate Director in the Cornell University International Programs CALS and the Science Leader in Plant Breeding and Genetics, the position liaises with the Program Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, the donor for the Next Generation Cassava project. The position leads efforts to plan and develop follow-on proposals that extend the scope and impact of the NEXTGEN Cassava project. The position oversees the preparation of the annual reports to the funding agency. The position will contribute scholarly papers and represent the project at international meetings and congresses.


Anticipated Division of Time

Assigned responsibilities and estimated percentage of annual time spent on each responsibility are detailed below.


Management and coordination of Cornell-based team activities (20%):

  • Lead the implementation of the NEXTGEN Cassava project.
  • Coordinate the activities of the NEXTGEN Cassava IT contact and the NEXTGEN-Cornell communications contact.
  • Coordinate staff-wide communication.
  • Work with Cornell-based finance specialists to monitor and track project budgets and spending.
  • With the Cornell University Senior Associate Director and Science Leader for IP/CALS, liaise with the Program Officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation on project management and donor-relations.


Coordination of (non-Cornell-based) project global partners (25%):

  • Work with Science Leader and project leaders to develop, execute, and manage global partners working on each of the project’s scientific activities.
  • Coordinate cross-objective/project-wide communication among all project leaders on a regular basis.
  • Work with NEXTGEN communications contact to help facilitate data sharing, resource coordination and development of NEXTGEN Cassava communications initiatives such as the project-curated cassava database and website.
  • Troubleshoot implementation bottlenecks and facilitate project partner needs to ensure effective project implementation.


Direct management of NEXTGEN Cassava Activities (20%):

  • Coordinate regularly with NEXTGEN Cassava collaborators and activity leaders to ensure regular progress toward milestones and address bottlenecks to achieving project outputs.
  • Promote international data sharing and joint data analysis.
  • Oversee budget development and expenditures related to these activities.
  • Coordinate and lead regular meetings related to the activities to monitor progress.
  • Liaise with other organizations working in the area of gender and agricultural development.
  • Work with Cornell-based staff to organize project meetings.


Advocacy and mobilization of resources (10%):

  • Awareness-raising of donors and other organizations about gaps and ongoing initiatives in the NEXTGEN Cassava project and other areas of cassava research and development.
  • Represent the NEXTGEN Cassava project with invited talks and information sessions at international meetings and other events.
  • Develop concept notes and full-length proposals to mobilize additional scientific and financial resources to cassava research.


Annual reporting, proposal development, and project-related technical publications (20%):

  • Lead the organization, execution and writing of the annual technical report due annually to the donor.
  • Develop concept notes and proposals to recruit additional resources to the NEXTGEN Cassava project.
  • Regularly assess gaps to identify shortfalls in cassava research and investments.
  • Help develop special issues of scientific journals and develop peer-reviewed journal articles relevant to project activities and findings.
  • Oversee the development of other technical resources made available by NEXTGEN Cassava project.


Support academic initiatives in Cornell University IP/CALS and other CALS academic department (5%):

  • Contribute occasional guest lectures and seminars.
  • Assist in mentoring graduate and undergraduate students.
  • Contribute to team-taught courses and modules at Cornell and Cornell-affiliated institutions.



  • MSc or PhD in plant breeding, plant biology, molecular biology, agronomy, crop and soil science, or related fields. Knowledge of plant breeding desirable.
  • Experience working with the international agricultural research community
  • Proven project management skills
  • Proven leadership skills, particularly leading international groups
  • International experience and proven ability to work in developing country agricultural research circumstances, experience working in Africa preferred · Travel (up to 40%) to  USA, Uganda and other SSA countries as required · While in Nigeria, divide time between Ibadan and Umudike as needed.
  • Excellent inter-personal skills and flexibility
  • Strong team building and management skills
  • Superior communications, computing, organizational and facilitation skills
  • Knowledge of a foreign language desirable


Duty station: Ibadan, Nigeria


General information: IITA offers an 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:


Closing Date: 4th December 2015


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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