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Applicants must be legally eligible to work in the country where the position is located.
Assistant Breeding Project Lead

Location: Woodland, California, USA

About Syngenta

Syngenta is a global leader in agriculture; rooted in science and dedicated to bringing plant potential to life. Each of our 30,000 employees in more than 90 countries work together to solve one of humanity’s most pressing challenges: growing more food with fewer resources. A diverse workforce and an inclusive workplace environment are enablers of our ambition to be the most collaborative and trusted team in agriculture. Our employees reflect the diversity of our customers, the markets where we operate and the communities which we serve. No matter what your position, you will have a vital role in safely feeding the world and taking care of our planet. Join us and help shape the future of agriculture.

About Us

Through leading innovations, we help farmers around the world meet the challenge of feeding a growing population and taking care of our planet. We are currently seeking an Assistant Breeding Project Lead for the Germplasm Development team in Woodland California.   

Job Description

Role Purpose

The Assistant Breeding Project Lead (APL)/Assistant Breeder for melon will collaborate closely with the Lead Breeder to manage the melon breeding activities spanning from the initiation of breeding to advanced stage trialing. This role is pivotal in delivering a robust product pipeline for key market segments. The key responsibilities encompass nursery management, conducting hybrid trials, and providing high quality data to facilitate data-driven product advancement. Additionally, the individual will assist the Lead Breeder in integrating the latest tools and technologies into the breeding program. The responsibilities of the individual include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Efficiently conducting trials, including nurseries and hybrid trials, from sowing through to harvest.
  • Managing Syngenta proprietary breeding databases, which involves the prompt collection, curation, and storage of data. The Assistant Breeder is also tasked with data analysis.
  • Overseeing the management of parental lines to ensure their stability and purity.
  • Assisting with marker-assisted inbred conversion projects to incorporate key traits.
  • Collaborating closely with Biological Operations (BO), Breeding Trial Specialists (BTS), and genotyping labs for meticulous trial/project planning, forecasting, and completion. The individual will serve as a point of contact and coordinator for key team members.
  • Supporting the Lead Breeder for melon in adopting the latest tools and technologies within the breeding program, which includes the utilization of high-throughput phenotyping, the application of predictive breeding approaches, and the adoption of innovative data visualization and analysis tools.


  • People: The assistant breeding project lead will interface between the Melon R&D Crop Lead, Cucurbit Germplasm Development Lead, Applied Genetic Scientists, and Operations Leads to ensure timely and successful project execution.
  • Geographic Scope: Woodland, California


  • Develop knowledge of key market segments and respective breeding targets.
  • Manage breeding activities which includes pollination, material, plot and trial management. Secure successful melon crop from sowing to harvest for both nurseries and field trials.
  • Establish good working relationships with third party and external trial cooperators.
  • Effective communication with biological operations and genotyping labs for resources required for melon breading program.
  • Management of genotyping activities which includes: tissue sampling, proper labelling, communication with labs and plant selection.
  • High quality data collection and analysis for data driven decision making.
  • Organize prototype testing with operations and breeding trial specialists
  • Support seed logistic and seed transfer according to internal rules in collaboration with operations.
  • Explore supporting technologies for the breeding program
  • Maintain frequent communication with the lead melon breeder.

Reporting / Communication

  • Collaboration and communication: create a collaborative way of working with the operations team, trait team, applied genetic scientists and P&S team.
  • Ensure transparency and cross-site communications regarding site operational efficiencies and best practices
  • Responsible for reporting KPIs for breeding projects


Critical knowledge

  • MS or BS degree (3-5 years experience) in Genetics/Plant Breeding or related disciplines. MS candidates preferred.
  • Good knowledge on experiment designs, data management and statistical analysis.
  • Good understanding of R&D processes to identify the critical issues as well as engage with team members to solve problems.
  • Sound knowledge of agronomy, physiology, pathology, plant nutrition and digital tools.
  • Knowledge of automation and high throughput phenotyping tools is a plus.

Critical experience

  • All applicants must be eligible to work in the US without visa support
  • Candidate must be proactive and have good communication skills.
  • Experience in database management and analysis.

Critical technical, professional and personal capabilities

  • Ability to plan and manage organizational change
  • Ability to think and plan proactively and strategically
  • Ability to communicate clearly at all organizational levels
  • Excellent interpersonal skills
  • Ability to develop dashboards to report progress against metrics and KPIs
  • Ability to prioritize and manage multiple projects in a timely manner.

Critical success factors & key challenges

  • Result and team oriented, capable of interfacing with individuals in a matrix organization
  • Demonstrated ability to network across functions
  • Excellent organization and computer skills
  • Excellent interpersonal skills, especially those required to successfully function as part of a cross-functional team
  • Demonstrated ability to develop and manage complex projects and effectively work in a interdisciplinary teams to accomplish project goals
  • Ability to use data to drive decision making process
  • Work Ethic that strives for excellence in productivity, accuracy, timeliness, and innovativeness

Additional Information

10% travel (domestic and international)

Physical Demands of the Essential Functions

  • Physically fit to work long days in the field and to stay focused under pressure
  • Capable of working in high or low temperature conditions in a field or greenhouse.  
  • Capable of lifting up to 50 pounds. 
  • Repeated bending and twisting of torso and wrist.

Working Conditions While Performing Essential Functions:

  • Field, greenhouse and office.
  • Domestic and international travel possible with overnight stays.  
  • Exposure to potential allergens (pollen and fungal spores) and chemical pesticides in the field or greenhouse.

What We Offer:

  • Full Benefit Package (Medical, Dental & Vision) that starts the same day you do
  • Annual Salary: $66,000- $83,000.
  • 401k plan with company match, Profit Sharing & Retirement Savings Contribution
  • Open Vacation Policy with a minimum of 15 days of vacation and up to 30 days with manager approval, 9 Paid Holidays
  • Maternity and Paternity Leave, Education Assistance, Wellness Programs, Corporate Discounts among others
  • A culture that promotes work/life balance, celebrates diversity, and offers numerous family-oriented events throughout the year


Please click HERE to learn more and to apply online.

Syngenta is an Equal Opportunity Employer and does not discriminate in recruitment, hiring, training, promotion or any other employment practices for reasons of race, color, religion, gender, national origin, age, sexual orientation, marital or veteran status, disability, or any other legally protected status.



More positions from: Syngenta Vegetable Seeds

Posted from March 25, 2024 until September 25, 2024
SeedQuest reference number: 153339

Applicants must be legally eligible to work in the country where the position is located.
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