Corn Genetic Project Lead

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Syngenta Biotechnology, Inc. is seeking a Corn Genetic Project Lead to work in Changchun, China.

Title Corn Genetic Project Lead
Department Seeds
Location Changchun, China.
Only candidates willing to locate in Changchun, China will be considered.

Role Purpose

The purpose of the Corn Genetic Project Lead's role is to improve the performance of Syngenta's germplasm by developing competitive materials with superior performance, through the deployment of genetic technologies, the generation of readily applicable trait-specific information and the application of genetic information through innovative breeding approaches.


Lead or participate in germplasm development projects, together with product development scientists, as defined below:

  1. Develop, manage and drive the implementation of product strategy and value propositions for targeted segments.

  2. Participate in the definition of germplasm development strategies, within objectives given by the Breeding management team. In particular, propose germplasm development applications such as marker-based screening, backcrossing, or recurrent selection wherever appropriate. Also propose or support the evaluation of new approaches wherever appropriate.

  3. Define germplasm development projects, including breeder/scientist partner(s), objectives and outcomes, germplasm base, methods, resources, and timelines.

  4. Manage the implementation of germplasm development projects, including liaising with genotyping laboratories, phenotyping facilities and nurseries, and conducting data analysis. Ensure proper project advancement, within budget and timeframe. Maintain tight relationship with and ensure constant involvement of breeders/scientists during project advancement.

  5. Report progress and achievements, including consolidation of product performance throughout the Stage Plan.

  6. Ensure, with breeders/scientists, adequate characterization of relevant germplasm for germplasm management and IP protection, including maintaining a good understanding of available germplasm (internally and externally), performance and needs.

  7. Ensure, for all projects, appropriate technical and business project reviews, as well as portfolio consolidation (including budget and planning insights).

Lead or participate in trait development projects, together with the quantitative genetics, trait research, bioinformatics, molecular analytics, and any other relevant groups, as defined below:

  1. Lead or participate in the design and planning (preparation and submission of project proposals, choice of materials and methods, milestones and deliverable definition, resource requirements, scheduling) of trait development projects, including engaging into external collaborations where appropriate.

  2. Coordinate or contribute to the execution of trait development projects. In particular, ensure availability of appropriate germplasm (including reference materials) and adequate collection of phenotypic data (internally or externally), perform appropriate data analysis (association genetics, etc.), and report on project advancement and outcome with respect to the relevant (Native Trait) stage plan.

  3. Oversee the transfer of assays to an implementation (and maintenance) in application laboratories.

  4. Actively contribute to permanent process improvement for trait development, through awareness of internal and external scientific advances and experience/information sharing across crops and disciplines internally.

  5. Secure intellectual property as appropriate and maintain awareness of intellectual property landscape in relevant crop(s).

  6. 6. Ensure, for all projects, appropriate technical and business project reviews, as well as portfolio consolidation (including budget and planning insights).

Ensure, with other Corn Genetic Project Leads and similar functions across the company (other crops, other regions), availability and use of most useful and efficient information, tools, protocols and methodologies for molecular breeding.

  1. Maintain awareness of developments and achievements in the area of genetic information, germplasm, tools (discovery, assembly), and methodologies, through monitoring of internal and external activity in the field. In particular, maintain tight relationship with other Corn Genetic Project Leads and Quantitative Genetics team to ensure that same level of expertise and quality of implementation across all areas and projects.

  2. Propose and lead whenever appropriate, the development of new tools, protocols or methodologies.

  3. Ensure availability of most up-to-date genetic information on germplasm and traits. In particular, manage, with other Corn Genetic Project Leads the consolidation of project and discovery information (QTL's, alleles, etc.) generated through trait development or germplasm development projects.

  4. Consolidate and synthesize project implementation experience to provide feed-back allowing continuous improvement in quality and efficiency to genotyping laboratories, phenotyping facilities and nurseries or greenhouses.

  5. Participate in the review of trait or germplasm development projects across crops and functions.

Knowledge Skills & Experience

Critical Knowledge
  • A thorough knowledge of breeding theory and Mendelian genetics (experimental designs, descriptive and test statistics, genetic gain theory, genetic models, linkage disequilibrium, genetic diversity analysis, etc.).
  • Good knowledge of and experience with statistical tools and methods involved in genetic information applications (genetic mapping – Mapmaker, Joinmap – QTL mapping – maximum likelihood, CIM, QTLCartographer, PlabQTL – assembly – probability calculations and simulation)
  • Thorough understanding of genotyping systems, in particular SSR's and SNP's.
  • Good understanding of genomics tools and approaches, including expression profiling, genome sequencing, BACs, DNA chips, tilling arrays, etc.
  • Knowledge of one or several specific crop(s) and their breeding.
  • Good understanding of plant pathology principles.
  • Ph.D. or Masters with several years of experience in the area.
  • Good understanding of biochemical principles
  • Knowledge of the commercial needs of the seeds business

Critical Skills:
  • Excellent organization, communication and computer skills.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, especially those required to successfully function as part of / lead cross-functional, cross-cultural, multi-location teams.
  • Ability to understand and communicate complex instructions.
  • Capacity to innovate in a focused and product-oriented manner.
  • Interest in and awareness of the market context of the position (both regional and global for the relevant crops).

Critical Experience:
  • Demonstrated project leadership / project management experience (including resource and timeline management) and success in the area of molecular breeding or a related area.

Syngenta Competencies

Essential Syngenta Competencies:
Set Direction: Sets ambitious strategic goals
Communicates inspirationally
Drive Results: Manages performance to high standards
Recognizes and celebrates success
Create Edge Focuses energy on must-wins
Steps beyond comfort zone
Liberate Potential Coaches to release creativity and innovation
Develops self and others

Working Conditions / Physical Demands

Physical Demands of the Essential Functions:
  • Some travel by car and plane.
  • Periods of intense work at critical times of the projects.

Working conditions while Performing Essential Functions:
  • Indoor – Extensive work at a computer for long periods of time.

Syngenta is one of the world's leading companies with 26,000 employees in over 90 countries dedicated to one purpose: bringing plant potential to life. We contribute to addressing some of the planet's most critical issues such as the rising demand for food from a growing population.

Syngenta employees have a major impact on the health and wellbeing of communities all around the world. They work in a focused, highly collaborative culture and benefit from the training, development and inspirational colleagues that you'd expect to find in a fast growing, international company.