Strategic Partnerships Manager

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
5-7 Years
Degree Required: 
Advanced Degree (Master's or JD)


Please note: this job post has expired! To the best of our knowledge, this job is no longer available and this page remains here for archival purposes only.

Working in collaboration with the Director General (DG) and the Director, Partnerships and Knowledge Management (PKM), the Strategic Partnerships Manager will be responsible for developing, coordinating and monitoring strategic partnerships and external engagement processes for the organization. This will include development of comprehensive partnership processes and providing guidance and support to IWMI’s engagement with partners and participation in global processes. The Strategic Partnerships Manager will work closely with the Business Development Unit, Program Management Office, Communications and Knowledge Management unit and Human Resources Management unit. S/he will also engage with Project Leaders and Country Representatives to improve the quality and outcome orientation of IWMI’s engagement in stakeholder platforms and processes.

The Strategic Partnerships Manager will provide substantive support for the DG’s external engagements and ongoing efforts to identify, develop and implement new research and advisory services opportunities.


  • Partnership engagement
    • Coordinate, implement and support IWMI’s project partnership processes across the research programs in support of organizational objectives.
    • Develop, communicate and roll out a partnership framework, which includes a partnership engagement strategy, assessments and selection guidelines, risk management strategy, and partners’ database (including information on previous engagement, capacity, etc.).
    • Build capacity of IWMI research staff to manage partnerships by supporting research staff through guidance notes, checklists and short training sessions.
  • Institutional Partnerships
    • Expand and maintain IWMI’s partnerships with academic institutions and explore possibilities with non-academic partners.
    • Liaise with strategic institutions to expand opportunities for staff exchange, secondments, sabbaticals, joint PhD supervision, and Post Doc programs. Link with partnership staff in selected institutions. Establish linkages with relevant scholarship programs including Fulbright, AWARD, and others. Support IWMI research management to take strategic partnerships forward.
    • Strengthen IWMI’s internship program: design and provide oversight for research internship program. Collaborate with universities and other relevant organizations by providing a link with IWMI researcher’s requirements; develop IWMI Alumni network for interns and PhD students.
  • Engagement in global processes
    • Promote IWMI’s strategic agenda in the local, regional, national and international professional communities.
    • Coordinate and support IWMI staff and management participation in global processes:

- coordinate engagement of IWMI staff in conferences, including maintenance of a conference calendar;

- ensure communications support through CKM;

- ensure relevant support, including background materials for MT members participating in global committees.

- track relevant global processes, including relevant UN-led processes such as the SDGs, and IWMI participation in and contribution to these processes.

  • Support to the Director General
    • Support the Director General with the preparation of materials and inputs to conferences, scientific papers and communications.
    • Support the Director General in the identification and development of strategic initiatives
    • Assist the Director General in maintaining external and internal knowledge networks to explore emerging potential opportunities on a local, national and global scales.
    • Assist the Director General to facilitate different types of cross-functional cross-discipline multi-professional collaboration throughout IWMI.


  • Proven understanding of the research content across the scope of IWMI’s work
  • Excellent inter-personal, relationship building and communications skills
  • Experience liaising with research and multi-faceted development partners
  • Proven ability to work independently, be flexible and meet deadlines
  • Strong organizational skills and attention to detail and precision.
  • Strong self-motivation whilst being a team player
  • Entrepreneurial mindset with creative approaches to achieving goals,
  • Proven ability to work effectively across boundaries in a multi-disciplinary and multicultural setting.
  • Excellent analytical skills.



  • Master’s degree in subject area relevant to IWMI’s work.
  • Minimum seven years related experience, which includes managing partnership relationships and knowledge management.
  • Exceptional written, oral, interpersonal and presentation skills. Demonstrated ability to convey messages through clear and concise writing.
  • Extensive experience working at international level and with a variety of research and/or development organizations.


  • Experience working with multilateral processes.
  • Strong strategic, implementation and project management skills and experience
  • French or Arabic language skills.

This is an internationally recruited position with a competitive salary commensurate with experience, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international insurance coverage and a transportation allowance. If the successful candidate requires international relocation, s/he will be eligible for additional allowances, which include housing, education, shipping assistance, and annual home leave travel for employee and eligible dependents. The duration of the contract will initially be for a three-year period with possible extension.

Applications must include a copy of your curriculum vitae, a cover letter which addresses IWMI’s requirements stated above, and contact information of three professional referees who may be contacted if you are short-listed for the position.

IWMI is an equal opportunity employer and emphasizes the importance of regional and gender diversity and inclusiveness in identifying candidates for this position and its staff more generally.