Savanna Institute Seeks a Germplasm Specialist

Posted on December 13, 2021
Savanna Institute Seeks a Germplasm Specialist
Position Title                                                                                                                                     506017_1639177650516_SIlogoTEXT
Germplasm Specialist
Position Summary 
 The Savanna Institute invites applications for a Germplasm Specialist. We seek applicants who share our passion for ecological and equitable agriculture as a nature based climate solution and who are motivated to widen the circle of who has the opportunity to inform, support, and benefit from its development. To that end, we are seeking a diversity of voices at the table and strongly encourage women, people of color, LGBTQIA+ individuals, people with disabilities, members of ethnic minorities, foreign-born residents, and veterans to apply.
Savanna Institute is seeking to assemble large seedling populations at SI-managed research stations for several key agroforestry crops that currently lack phenotypically and genotypically diverse germplasm repositories in the Upper Midwest. Establishing and evaluating these repositories will be integral to building our capacity to develop improved tree crop varieties, and to realize our vision for multifunctional agriculture based on agroforestry systems of integrated trees, crops, and livestock. This position will work closely with the other members of the Tree Crop Improvement Team at SI, as well as public and private collaborators across the US.
The Savanna Institute is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization based in Madison, Wisconsin and
Urbana, Illinois. Established in 2013, we work in collaboration with farmers, scientists, and other stakeholders to develop perennial food and fodder crops within multifunctional systems grounded in ecology and inspired by the savanna biome. Our work aims to lay the groundwork for widespread agroforestry in the Midwest US via strategic research and education. For more information, please visit
Key activities of this position include:
Research, identify, and map potential and known locations of germplasm sources for target crops
Plant material entered into repositories should be drawn across a wide geographic range, and span native populations, arboreta, existing land-grant and USDA collections, historical varieties, and current on-farm plantings of high performing cultivars. Developing a tenable logistical plan to repeatedly visit and evaluate this plant material will be a critical step to carrying out the screening and collection missions.
Develop and implement scalable phenotyping protocols based on target breeding objectives
Evaluation of germplasm across multiple locations and multiple time points will require efficient methods for accurately screening large numbers of plants. A key aspect of this position will be coordinating and leading a crew of field technicians in assessing germplasm for key breeding target traits across multiple sites, in multiple states.
Obtain propagules and deliver sufficient quantities to germplasm repositories and/or nursery partners
Relatively large numbers of genotypes for each crop will be required to establish repositories that will be effective as breeding populations. Attaining this population size will require sourcing a variety of plant material from target plants (scions, budwood, root cuttings, seed). This may include performing and/or overseeing controlled crosses.
If you're excited about this job, we're excited to learn about your experience! Please be sure to address each of the following qualifications in your cover letter — paint us a picture of how your unique skills, experiences, and/or education meet or exceed the qualifications.

● Minimum 3 years of professional experience in agriculture or applied plant biology (experience in plant breeding and/or seed sectors preferred)
● Experience in sourcing and procurement of plant and/or crop varieties required (experience in woody perennial species preferred)
● Skill in crop propagation methods (experience in woody perennial species preferred)
● Proficiency in field-based evaluation of plant traits
● Relevant bachelor’s or graduate degree (exceptional professional experience can substitute for a degree)
● Willingness and ability to travel frequently during certain peak months of the year required. (Access to a personal vehicle will be necessary for travel; mileage reimbursement will be provided.)
How To Apply
Submit a resume/CV, cover letter, and 3 references to
Deadline Review of applications will begin December 28, 2021; position will be open until filled.

Questions? Email Brandi Brandes, Administrative Director,

Diversity Commitment
The Savanna Institute affirms the value of diversity of staff and stakeholders, and aims to foster inclusive environments and equitable outcomes of our work. We seek individuals who are committed to these goals.

Equal Employment Opportunity
Equal Opportunity is and shall be provided for all employees and applicants for employment on the basis of their demonstrated ability and competence without unlawful discrimination on the basis of their race, color, national origin, ancestry, religion, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, veteran status, or any other status protected by applicable state or federal law.