Department Agricultural Development
Guided by the belief that every life has equal value, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation works to help all people lead healthy, productive lives. In developing countries, it focuses on improving people's health and giving them the chance to lift themselves out of hunger and extreme poverty. In the United States, it seeks to ensure that all people-especially those with the fewest resources-have access to the opportunities they need to succeed in school and life. Based in Seattle, the foundation is led by CEO Jeff Raikes and co-chair William H. Gates Sr., under the direction of Bill and Melinda Gates and Warren Buffett.
Nearly 2.5 billion people live on less than $2 a day. For one person in eight, hunger is a constant, potentially deadly, companion. The vast majority of the poor also lack access to the most basic financial services and only a tiny minority have access to the Internet. The foundation's Global Development Program is working with motivated partners to create opportunities for people to lift themselves out of poverty and hunger. Our strategy is focused. Because most of the world's poorest people rely directly on agriculture, we support efforts to help small farmers – especially women -- improve crop production and market access. Because loans, insurance, and savings can help people weather setbacks and build assets, we facilitate access to financial services for the poor. And because information can change lives, we support free public access to computers connected to the Internet. We also support a range of learning opportunities, including potential new areas of long-term giving, and we respond to emergencies through our Special Initiatives grantmaking.
Responsibilities The SPO for Agricultural Research & Development will be responsible for identifying and developing projects worthy of grant support. Such projects will involve research and development to improve the crops that are most important to the poor in Africa and South Asia. This R&D may involve conventional plant breeding, improved crop management, molecular markers, or other tools of modern biotechnology to make plants more productive, resilient, and nutritious. These projects may also involve improvements to seed production and delivery systems as well as applied and adaptive research (‘extension research'). The SPO also will manage existing grant relationships with partners engaged in these types of projects, supporting their efforts to meet specified milestones in their work plans.
The SPO will oversee activities worldwide, and will lead efforts to partner with key research and product development partners including private companies, public and academic research facilities, and local breeding initiatives, working closely with grantees, colleagues, and consultants. He/she will also engage governments and private entities in the co-funding of key project initiatives,
The SPO will be expected to:
- Identify, evaluate and seize new opportunities to reduce hunger and poverty through improvements to crop yields, seed systems, and crop management.
- Drive the establishment of partnerships between relevant institutions to define project objectives, work plans, budgets, and institutional arrangements.
- Develop (engage partners, structure deals, make funding decisions) and manage (serve on boards, provide intellectual and management counsel to key grantees, hold grantees accountable against rigorous performance standards) a portfolio of complex grants requiring high-level grant management skills, and monitoring and evaluation.
- Support and help manage co-chair and CEO learning in the area of agricultural development. Write and produce informative briefings and other materials on key issues for the team and co-chairs as appropriate. Accompany co-chairs on trips and to key meetings.
- Publicly represent the foundation with broad stakeholders including both public and private entities, grantee organizations, other funders, universities, think tanks, media, and other valued partners.
• Minimum of ten years experience in the development and management of projects involving crop improvement, crop management, extension research and/or seed systems of relevance to Africa or South Asia
- A PhD or other advanced degree in a discipline relevant to crop improvement, including plant breeding, molecular marker applications, agronomy or a closely related field
- The capacity to think through, evaluate, justify, and make major investments in agricultural research and development
- An outstanding record of achievement and leadership in the field
- Experience developing, managing, and implementing project strategies and the negotiation, execution, conduct and management of performance-based contracts
- Experience with grants or cooperative agreements
- Ability to think/work at scale as well as “work in white space,” create new ideas, strategize with passionate commitment to a successful outcome
- Demonstrated excellent written and oral communication skills in positions requiring communication with a broad and diverse audience
- Ability to prioritize, focus, and achieve results in a fast paced environment
- Track record of working well with others in teams; sense of humor
- Selfless dedication to the mission, flexibility, and willingness to learn
- Overseas experience and the ability to travel internationally
As part of our standard hiring process for new employees, employment with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation will be contingent upon successful completion of a comprehensive background check.
Requisition Number 2529BR
Nearest Major Market: Seattle
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