European Head of Research & Development

Join the European Leadership Team of Germains Seed Technology, an ABF plc business, as European Head of Research and Development to provide technical leadership for the European Business and work together with the North American R&D team to drive global growth and innovation.

Germains Seed Technology is an ABF (Associated British Foods plc) company with a global footprint and long-established reputation in the seed technology market.  Germains’ ambition is to ‘maximise nature’s potential’.  It does this by using its technological know-how and operational expertise to unlock the genetic potential of seeds for food production.

Over the next 10 years demand for the technologies Germains provides will continue to grow, driven by an increasing demand for more sustainable food systems. Germains is focused on new product development to ensure it can meet the changing needs of this dynamic marketplace, and on raising the bar around service levels and operational expertise.

About the role – EU Head of Research and Development

As EU Head of R&D, your role is to provide technical leadership for the European Business to achieve EU business goals, collaborating with the North America R&D team to drive global growth. The successful role holder will be responsible for stimulating innovation within the team to develop new products, using both inhouse and external resources and will work to identify collaborations from across the seed industry to identify and pursue potential patent/licence opportunities. Working with the other business functions and Leadership team, they will prioritise and drive relevant, profitable product development and will provide technical input to key business decisions. They will be the technical face of the European business, promoting Germains and increasing our visibility across the industry, at conferences, within industry bodies, and with key customers.

The ideal candidate

  • Leads and directs the research and development programme to meet business goals
  • Works with senior leadership to identify short- and longer-term R&D priorities for the business
  • Develops and implements research and development procedures and techniques to ensure delivery of key goals and to improve performance.
  • Oversees complex research projects, analyses results and provides recommendations based on findings.
  • Manages specific projects within specified timescales following the PMO process with rigour.
  • Ensure proper scientific rigour is applied to work carried out within the R&D group, in accordance with our culture of being science-led.
  • Assesses the scope of the research projects and ensures they are prioritised and resourced effectively and delivered on time and within budget.
  • Provides leadership for the research and development of new seed treatments and enabling technologies for the improvement of germination and vigour of seeds, in line with business needs.
  • Assesses, both proactively and reactively, new technologies in the marketplace which may lead to improved seed treatments; developing strong relationships with universities, industry bodies, R&D centres and other groups to ensure we are at the forefront of technical innovation in this space
  • Implement and oversee regulatory compliance to meet local and national standards
  • Lead understanding of regulatory landscape within Europe to effectively capture opportunities and/or risks for the business
  • Ensures communication and transfer of technical knowledge to manufacturing team to allow large scale application of new technologies is carried out in a timely and rigorous manner.
  • Identify opportunities for Process Development and improvement to reduce labour, reduce cost and improve quality and productivity at the plant.
  • Provides technical support for new and existing product introductions, either personally, or through the team, where appropriate
  • Champions the role of R&D within the business and externally to customers and the wider industry; represents Germains at conferences and industry working groups
  • Establishes an accurate budget for European R&D, identifying opportunities for improved efficiency and effectiveness, and adhering to the budget once set
  • Builds effective internal and external relationships to ensure a clear understanding of customer needs and business priorities and to identify potential product development opportunities Builds and reviews project proposals to support the need for investment within R&D, or in external relationships to develop technologies with sound potential business returns.

What will you need?

The job holder will ideally have a minimum of 5 years of direct leadership of an R&D team, with a M.S degree in Biology, Chemistry, Earth Science or equivalent. Experience of seed physiology, plant pathology and agronomy is also highly desired.

About Germains

Germains Seed Technology is a business within the AB Sugar division of ABF (Associated British Foods plc).   Germains currently operates through two business units:  North America and Europe.

The European Germains business unit has sites in the UK, Netherlands and Spain with the Netherlands sites being the critical supply hub for the European Seed Industry.  With its team working across Europe, working from home is a well-established practice, as are flexible working hours to accommodate the different time-zones.

Germains is a relatively small business with leadership teams spread across various countries. This requires a close working culture – where openness, transparency and trust are paramount.  The team operates in an environment where decisions need to be made rapidly, where clear communication and empowerment is key to the business remaining agile and responsive to its market.  Germains is committed to ensuring the health and safety of all its employees and the Leadership Team members play an integral role in ensuring that H&S policy and practices are always adhered to, and that they role-model these behaviours.

Location King's Lynn (UK) or Enkhuizen (Netherlands)
Salary Competitive

Job Application

To apply for this job, please fill out the below form and upload your CV.

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