Senior Program Officer, Crops Research & Development, Agricultural Development

Senior Program Officer, Crops Research & Development, Agricultural Development

Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Seattle, United States

Position Summary & Core Responsibilities

As a key advisor on strategy initiatives, the Senior Program Officer (SPO), Crops Research & Development, will contribute to the continued development of the research & development strategic vision to accelerate agricultural innovation; while partnering closely with colleagues to set and advance the team’s operational goals. This will include actively tracking advances in science and technology to discover solutions and translate them into deliverables that address constraints facing small-scale agricultural producers in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.

Additionally, you will also be expected to:

  • Identify, evaluate and fund discovery and development of new and emerging innovations to address constraints faced by small-scale producers and thereby improve crop productivity, farmer income and nutritional outcomes. Prepare and write briefs and synthesize existing literature. Provide written analysis of key topics for foundation management;
  • Strategically develop and lead one or more portfolios of investments requiring high-level program management skills, oversight and evaluation. This includes:
    • Negotiate, execute, and lead all aspects of a complex portfolio of grants or performance-based contracts.
    • Monitor and report on portfolio progress while ensuring appropriate documentation, delivery against milestones, budgeting and reporting.
    • Improve operational efficiency and effectiveness.
    • Review letters of inquiry and grant proposals and provide clear, concise and insightful written analyses and recommendations for funding.
  • Consult with grantees and other partners to ensure that strategic goals will be met and that innovations will be developed and deployed for impact. This may include supporting grant development, conducting site visits, providing operational guidance, organizing convening meetings of key partners, and evaluating milestone-based performance objectives;
  • Develop, run, resource, and implement a program aligned with Foundation strategy and ensure operational integration with other Foundation portfolios. Contribute to the design of new strategies, collaborations and implementation plans to ensure long-term sustainability and impact;
  • Represent the Foundation to key program-related external constituencies, as appropriate, at meetings or on committees related to area of expertise and responsibilities of the position.

Position reports to: Deputy Director, Crops Research & Development, Agricultural Development Group

Core Knowledge & Skills

You are a creative, thoughtful and curious professional who has a strong track record of achievement in roles of increasing responsibility. You should enjoy solving complex problems, are a natural collaborator and communicator and are prepared to work across a diverse set of disciplines, bridging a wide range of expertise, with a capability to work with agility, efficiency and diplomacy in a dynamic environment. Additionally, we seek:

  • Recognized internally and externally by the global professional community as a leader within a relevant area of expertise;
  • Knowledge and experience to serve as a technical resource to teams, particularly related to the use of innovations in molecular genetics to enhance crop adaptation to biotic and abiotic challenges;
  • Ability to lead and influence others in a constructive manner on innovation, product development, public-private partnerships, and sustainable scaling of technology, and to build and sustain collaborative relationships to advance objectives;
  • Proven capacity to think through, evaluate, rationalize, and make major investments in agricultural research and development;
  • Experience developing, managing, and implementing project strategies and the negotiation, execution and management of performance-based agreements;
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills, able to effectively synthesize information to reach diverse audiences and build consensus;
  • Strong quantitative analytic skills, along with broad knowledge of agriculture and the constraints limiting productivity for small-scale farmers in resource-limited environments;
  • Comfortable in a wide range of cultural, geographic and operational situations, demonstrating culturally sensitive behavior with a diverse range of people;
  • Ability to prioritize, focus, and achieve results in a fast-paced and sometimes ambiguous environment while maintaining perspective;
  • Commitment to continuous learning and improvement;
  • The ability to travel internationally 20-30% of the time.

Education & Experience

  • A PhD or other advanced degree in a field relevant to crop science, including molecular biology, plant physiology, microbiology, pathology or a closely related field;
  • Minimum of seven years’ experience in product discovery and development and/or leading a research program within the agricultural industry, seed or input producers, ag tech, and/or academic or public-sector researchers with an applied focus, government research institutions, etc. Proven experience in independently designing and executing projects. International work experience is desirable;
  • An outstanding record of achievement, creativity and initiative in the field as indicated by publications, patents, and/or products;
  • Demonstrated excellent written and oral communication skills in positions requiring communication with a broad and diverse audience.

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© EuroJobsites 2021

EuroJobsites is a registered company number: 4694396 VAT number: GB 880 9055 04

Registered address: EuroJobsites Ltd, Unit 8, Kingsmill Business Park, Kingston Upon Thames, London, KT1 3GZ, United Kingdom

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