Head of Phytopathology

KWS Group

View: 105

Update day: 30-07-2022

Location: Murcia Región de Murcia

Category: Other


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Job content

As part of our growth strategy and our plans to establish state-of-the-art Research Teams for our Vegetable Business Unit, we are looking for a hands-on Head of Phytopathology, based at a KWS Vegetables’ breeding station in Spain(Murcia). The Head of Phytopathology will co-develop the research strategy for KWS Vegetables and will lead the Phytopathology team. Areas of expertise include plant pathology (including virology, entomology and nematology), seed pathology, routine testing, diagnostics and disease monitoring, with a focus on development, implementation and routine application of methodologies to support the breeding process. She/He will report to the Global Head of Research Vegetables of KWS. The intended starting date for this position in August 1, 2022

Job purpose

Contribute to the competitiveness of the worldwide KWS vegetable breeding portfolio by continuous scouting for, developing and implementing technologies, methodologies and protocols. Develop a successful strategy for the globally operating Phytopathology team that contributes to overall R&D plans and the strategic plan of the Business Unit and results in commercially successful vegetable varieties. Establish and oversee facilities for plant pathology at the KWS breeding stations world-wide, organize routine disease testing and pathogen monitoring (including certification of seed lots) for the vegetable species in the KWS portfolio. Direct, approve and monitor innovative discovery programs that are performed in collaboration with the Global Research and Services Department of KWS worldwide.

Key Success Factors:
  • Establish an international Phytopathology team at the KWS Vegetable breeding stations;
  • Establish state-of-the-art plant pathology facilities at the KWS Vegetables breeding locations;
  • Develop and implement of protocols for pathogen monitoring and routine disease testing for the vegetable crops;
  • Co-develop with colleagues from the breeding teams and implement disease testing methodologies to support resistance breeding;
  • Efficiently collaborate with the Global Research & Service Department of KWS world-wide for the development of novel methodologies to create disease resistance in vegetable crops;
  • Secure strategic external partnerships with universities and service providers;
  • Professionalism of the Phytopathology team, alignment with the breeding and research teams within KWS Vegetables;
  • Operational excellence in logistics of seed lots and output in supporting the breeding teams;
  • Manage the Phytopathology budget within the KWS Vegetables R&D team.
Your Tasks:
  • Formulate, advise and facilitate the execution of the short and long term strategy for Phytopathology in line with the overall KWS Vegetables strategy;
  • Build and lead a world-wide Phytopathology team, including the attraction and retention of highly skilled scientists and research assistants;
  • Develop, in collaboration with breeding station managers, Plant Pathology facilities at the breeding stations world-wide;
  • Ensure the development and implementation of methods and protocols for routine pathogen monitoring and disease testing;
  • Facilitate breeding support using routine testing and disease monitoring for all crops in the KWS Vegetables portfolio;
  • Facilitate discovery for resistance breeding in these vegetable crops;
  • Participate in across crop strategic platforms and technology development projects within KWS’ Global Research and Service Departments;
  • Build alliances with external academic institutions and technology providers;
  • Prepare and control, in collaboration with the Global Head of Research, the Phytopathology research budgets, including facility needs and routine service costs;
  • Lead and direct, in cooperation with HR, the personnel flow within the Phytopathology team, including appraisals, training, development and career planning in order to ensure individual and team performance.
Your profile:
  • PhD/MSc in a relevant scientific discipline;
  • 5+ years of experience in the field of plant pathology;
  • Thorough practical and theoretical knowledge of disease resistance and pathogen monitoring;
  • Hands-on experience with service oriented disease testing, preferably in virology;
  • Proven record of effectively building and leading a team of R&D professionals;
  • Intercultural management experience;
  • People oriented leadership style;
  • Experience in Project Management and Finance & Accounting;
  • Language skills: English (fluent);
  • International orientation;
  • Willingness to travel internationally :25% of time.
Do you recognize yourself in this job description or would you like to know more about this role within KWS Vegetables, please contact our Global Head of Research, Martin De Vos (Martin.Vos@kws.com).
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