Water Risks and Data Science Specialist

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Pretoria, South Africa 🇿🇦


The Water Risks and Data Science Specialist will provide scientific and technical expertise for activities associated with water risk assessments, monitoring and early warning of floods and drought using earth observation data across a wide variety of exciting projects. You will plan and execute research projects, communicate findings and disseminate knowledge while supporting the development of a robust research portfolio focusing on disaster risk management and mitigation that aligns with national and regional priorities.

Duties and Responsibilities

  • Work with a team to develop innovative approaches and tools to monitor and assess drought and floods for scaling innovative water-related disaster solutions under a changing climate.
  • Lead innovative research ion assessing the suitability and associated impacts for disaster risk reduction measures designed to enhance agriculture resilience at scale.
  • Provide technical support in developing risk-mapping products using geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing 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 a multi-hazard and multi-sectoral perspective.
  • Assist in establishing regional flood and drought early warning systems through hydrological, hydraulic modeling and using climate and weather information to support stakeholders to apply the scientific data products for well-informed decision making.
  • Lead capacity building initiatives of both IWMI staff and partners on water risks and disaster management.
  • Organize workshops, meetings, 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 resource mobilisation efforts.


The successful candidate will posses the following:

  • 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, 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, integrated approaches to water-related risk management.
  • Prior experience in vulnerability and risk assessment.
  • Prior experience 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 and techniquess to address hydrological problems.
  • Experience in conducting research in multidisciplinary, multi-partner projects across several regions or countries, preferably in both Asia and Africa.
  • Proven record of high-quality reporting, including peer-reviewed articles in international journals.
  • Experience with the development of project related knowledge products, outreach and communications would be beneficial.
  • Strong analytical and numerical skills and the ability to process large temporal and spatial datasets.
  • Strong experience in programming language (Google Earth Engine, Java, Python, R and Linux) to transform existing products into operational services;
  • Knowledge of risk analysis for preparedness planning, risk reduction, response and recovery, taking into account both a multi-hazard and multi-sectorial perspective in reducing disaster risks and enhance 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 academic and non-academic stakeholders and with people in a multicultural and multi-disciplinary environment, with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Excellent English communication skills and the ability to explain complex issues clearly, working knowledge of French is an asset.
  • Willingness to live, work and travel in developing countries in Asia and Africa.
  • Project management experience, which includes managing complex, multi-partner projects.
  • Interest in socioeconomic and poverty implications of disaster risk reduction and management.


What we are offering:

This is a regionally recruited position with a competitive salary commensurate with experience, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international health insurance, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, long-term disability insurance coverage and a transportation allowance. Globally recruited staff who are employed at a duty station outside of their home base/country of nationality will also receive relocation assistance, a housing allowance, home-leave plane tickets for self and eligible dependents and education assistance for eligible dependents.

The duration of the contract will initially be for a three-year period with possible extension.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply for the position by following the application instructions at www.iwmi.org/jobs. We will be accepting applications through 24:00 (IST) June 26, 2022 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis). Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

IWMI believes that diversity powers our innovation, contributes to our excellence, and is critical for our mission. We offer a multi-cultural, multi-color, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary working environment. We are consciously creating an inclusive organization that reflects our global character and our commitment to gender equity. We, therefore, encourage applicants from all cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, and gender identities.