Director - Plant Variety Development


4890 Victoria Avenue North, Vineland Station, Ontario

General Outline: 

Vineland Research and Innovation Centre (Vineland) is recruiting for Director, Plant Variety Development to work in an industry-driven research environment. Vineland is a world-class research centre dedicated to horticultural science and innovation. Located in Canada’s Niagara Region, Vineland’s mission is to deliver innovative products and production solutions that address the needs of the horticulture industry and advance Canada’s research and commercialization agenda. We are an independent, not-for-profit organization, funded in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership.

Our people are the most important asset in achieving our goals and are known in the world for excellence in science and entrepreneurship. Our staff enjoys an exciting and challenging work environment noted for collaboration and knowledge sharing.

Vineland welcomes and encourages applications from people with disabilities. Accommodations are available on request for candidates taking part in all aspects of the selection process.

Must be legally entitled to work in Canada.

Duties & Responsibilities: 

Reporting to the Vice President, Research and Development (VP, R&D), the Director, Plant Variety Development plays a key role in the organization to lead an integrated and cross-disciplinary team of scientists and technical staff focused on breeding, evaluation and introduction of new plant varieties for the Canadian horticulture sector. The role brings leadership, management, science and business together where people skills are the top priority for leading a high-functioning team that delivers results with commercial impact.

Key Duties & Responsibilities:

Client relations:

  • Support the VP, R&D to scout new R&D opportunities, develop relationships with industry and government and understand priority issues in the Canadian horticulture sector
  • Cultivate support and investment for research with seed companies, nurseries, growers, producer groups and other potential clients and partners
  • Build and maintain collaborative science and business relationships
  • Communicate results and represent Vineland at scientific, industry, government and public events

Program management:

  • Manage plant variety development programs with multi-disciplinary teams of scientists that may include plant breeding, molecular genetics, plant pathology, biochemistry, agronomy and consumer science
  • Manage finances and resources in the range of $2-6M per year including budgeting, staffing, purchasing, etc. as well as securing external investment to ensure programs are adequately resourced
  • Program/project design, planning and problem-solving in support of corporate objectives
  • Set annual targets, ensure risks are mitigated, team members are held accountable and milestones are met
  • Interface with the business office and senior management to develop commercialization strategies, negotiate agreements and manage intellectual property such as patents and plant breeders’ rights
  • Ensure due diligence is carried out and quality control is maintained on projects including competitive analysis, collaborative partnerships and scientific approach

Human resources:

  • Manage a cohort of direct reports including scientists and technical staff with HR responsibilities that include: hiring, performance management, training and professional development, succession planning, vacation and sick leave
  • Coach and develop future leaders within the group
  • Management and administration
  • Lead and coordinate implementation of the plant variety development objectives within Vineland’s Innovation strategy
  • Develop, maintain and administer organizational processes and initiate improvements as necessary
  • Assist with the development and maintenance of a management philosophy consistent with the corporate strategy to maximize employee engagement
  • Provide advice and participate in senior management strategy, decision making and planning processes
  • Prepare reports, proposals, plans and presentations for internal and external audiences
  • Maintain a safe and healthy work environment and ensure policies and procedures are followed


  • Minimum of ten years in plant breeding, variety management, seed companies, propagation industry or other relevant experience at a senior management level
  • PhD in a relevant discipline preferred but not required
  • Superior communication and interpersonal skills
  • Experience in leadership of cross-functional teams
  • Familiarity with intellectual property (IP) and plant variety management
  • Sound working knowledge of budgeting, business development and corporate planning
  • Self-assured, confident, self-motivated and goal-oriented
  • Strategic, insightful, creative and adaptable. Able to handle complex situations and a dynamic work environment.

Additional Info: 

This is a full-time permanent position.

How to Apply: 

This position is open until filled. Click on the Apply Now button.