Regional Researcher (Water Risks and Data Sciences Specialist)

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Colombo, Sri Lanka
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
Junior (3-4 Years)
Degree Required: 


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The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) invites applications from highly motivated individuals to join the Institute and contribute to its research agenda on water risks and disasters. The successful candidate will provide scientific and technical support to the research activities related to water risks and disaster management, including planning and execution of research projects, dissemination of knowledge generated by IWMI and developing a research portfolio on disaster risk management and mitigation that aligns with national and regional priorities.

The position holder will be based at IWMI’s headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, and will report to the Research Group Leader - Water Risks and Disasters.


  • Develop innovative approaches and tools to monitor and assess drought and floods for out-scaling WRD solutions under changing climates.
  • Lead innovative research ideas on vulnerability and risk assessment, impacts for disaster risk reduction measures and enhance agricultural resilience across scales.
  • Provide technical support in developing risk-mapping products using geographic information systems (GIS) and remote sensing (RS) applications, and computer modeling for integrated water risk management.
  • Conduct and interpret risk analysis for preparedness planning, risk reduction, and response and recovery, taking into account both multi-hazard and multi-sectoral perspectives.
  • Assist in establishing regional flood and drought early warning systems through hydrologic and hydraulic modeling, using climate and weather information, to support stakeholders in applying the scientific data products for well-informed, decision-making processes.
  • Contribute to the Strategic Research Portfolio of the Water Risks and Disaster Research Group, the Building Resilience Strategic Program of IWMI, and CGIAR Research Programs on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS), and Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).
  • Lead capacity building of staff of IWMI and its partners on water risks and disaster management.
  • Assist in organizing workshops, meetings and policy dialogues, and carry out field visit activities.
  • Prepare research reports and journal articles for publication, in addition to conference/seminar papers.
  • Assist and contribute to fund-raising efforts.


  • A PhD (or equivalent) related to one of the fields of environmental sciences, earth sciences, remote sensing or any other discipline relevant to resilience building and disaster risk reduction, hydrology and water resources management, or climate change adaptation.
  • A minimum of 3-4 years of experience in research for development in areas such as water-related risk management, disaster risk reduction, climate change adaptation, and integrated approaches to water-related risk management.
  • Prior experience in vulnerability and risk assessment.
  • Prior experience of working on large spatial datasets, and writing and executing scripts in Google Earth Engine, Python/R or other similar programming languages.
  • Prior experience and evidence in using high-level numerical modeling and GIS/RS tools.
  • Experience with interdisciplinary research and collaboration in developing countries.
  • Experience in conducting research in multidisciplinary, multi-partner projects across several regions or countries.
  • Work and networking experience in Asia.
  • Experience with knowledge products, outreach and communications is beneficial.
  • Proven record of high-quality reporting, including peer-reviewed articles in international journals, ideally as first author.
  • Demonstrated experience in project management.


  • Knowledge and competency in the application of GIS and RS techniques to hydrological problems.
  • Strong analytical and numerical skills, and the ability to process large temporal and spatial datasets.
  • Strong experience in programming languages (Java, Python, R, Linux and Google Earth Engine) to transform existing products into operational services.
  • Independent and critical scientific thought.
  • Knowledge of risk analysis for preparedness planning, risk reduction, and response and recovery, taking into account both multi-hazard and multi-sectorial perspectives in reducing disaster risks and enhancing livelihoods.
  • Ability to effectively establish priorities, and plan, organize, implement and monitor work activities with limited supervision.
  • Good interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with people in a multicultural and multidisciplinary environment, with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • A distinguished record of peer-reviewed outputs on relevant subjects.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to explain complex issues clearly.
  • Willingness to live, work and travel in developing countries in Asia and Africa.
  • Project management experience, which includes managing complex, multi-partner projects.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and effectively within multidisciplinary teams, and with academic and non-academic stakeholders.
  • Interest in socioeconomic and poverty implications of disaster risk reduction and management.

This is a regionally recruited position with a competitive salary commensurate with experience, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international insurance coverage and a transportation allowance. If successful candidates require international relocation, they 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 period of 3 years with the possibility of extension.

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.