Bettina I.G. Haussmann (Apl.Prof.Dr.)

West Africa Liaison Scientist for the McKnight Foundation 

Global Collaboration for Resilient Food Systems (CRFS) Program

Email: b.haussmann(at)

Phone: +49 162 7080829

Training Bettina Haussmann studied Agricultural Biology at University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany.  In 1994, she obtained her PhD at Hohenheim University, with the research focusing on sorghum breeding for semi-arid areas of Kenya. The topic of her post-doctoral research was sorghum resistance to the parasitic weed Striga hermonthica in Mali and Kenya.This research led to the habilitation and venia legendi in plant breeding obtained at Hohenheim University in 2004.
Career Until now,Bettina Haussmann maintains her private lecturer/extraordinary professorship (Apl. Prof.) status at the Institute of Plant Breeding, Seed Science and Population Gene¬tics of Hohenheim University.After her habilitation, Bettina Haussmann worked for six years (2005-2011) as pearl millet breeder for West and Central Africa, based at the International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT) in Niger. Since 2011, she serves as West Africa Liaison Scientist for the McKnight Foundation Global Collaboration for Resilient Food Systems (CRFS) Program in 50% of her time, managing a project portfolio of about 20 projects in Niger, Burkina Faso and Mali.  Since 2013, she works also part-time (50%) as Development Cooperation Manager at the German Seed Company KWS SAAT SE & Co. KGaA, with a focus on Capacity Development projects in Ethiopia and Peru, and more recently, public-private partnership development in Kenya and Zambia. Due to her part-time work with the KWS, she brings a unique private sector experience and perspective to the table.B.Haussmann served on the External Advisory Board of the Sorghum and Millet Innovation Lab (SMIL) from 2013 to 2023, and is part of the CGIAR Consultant Roster since 2021, and is involved  (2023) in the external evaluation of the IAVAO (Innovation and plant breeding in West Africa/”Innovation et Amélioration variétale en Afrique de l’Ouest”) partnership. 


Research Haussmann’s main research interests are plant genetic resources conservation and use, crop improvement and seed systems targeting smallholder farmers in the tropics. Focus crops in her own research were sorghum and pearl millet, and to a lesser extent barley and quinoa.
In addition to plant breeding, due to her work with the McKnight Foundation, she is engaged in agroecological transition approaches, systems thinking, farm-and landscape approaches, farmer-centered research,Farmer Research Networks, Research-for-Development and “Development-for-Research” approaches.Her heart beats for African smallholder farmers and her professional aim has always been to contribute to improving their lives through joint research. Diversity, Equity and inclusion are core values in her research.
Experience abroad
Long-term: During her professional career, B. Haussmann lived in Zimbabwe (3 months), Kenya (2 years), Mali (4 years), and Niger (6 years).  
Short-term research stays happened in Nigeria, Niger, Burkina Faso, Mali, Senegal, Ethiopia, Peru, Kenya and Zambia
Current Research Projects • McKnight CRFS West Africa Community of Practice
• Seeds for Zambian Incomes and Livelihoods (SeZIL)
• Single-cross hybrid prediction using distinct mating designs for sorghum    product development in East Africa.


As Apl. Prof. at University of Hohenheim, B. Haussmann contributes lectures on plant genetic resources conservation and use, aspects of crop improvement in the tropics, and planning of breeding programs. She also supervises MSc and PhD students in the field of plant breeding for the tropics.