Isotope Hydrologist

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)

Vienna, , AT

Organizational Setting

The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications implements the IAEA’s Major Programme 2, “Nuclear Techniques for Development and Environmental Protection”. This Major Programme comprises individual programmes on food and agriculture, human health, water resources, environment and radiation technologies. These programmes are supported by laboratories in Seibersdorf, Monaco and Vienna. The Major Programme’s objective is to enhance the capacity of Member States to meet basic human needs and to assess and manage the marine and terrestrial environments through the use of nuclear and isotopic techniques in sustainable development programmes.

The Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences is responsible for assisting and advising Member States in research and development for the nuclear sciences, especially the physical and chemical sciences. Specifically, the Division provides support to Member States in the following fields: production of radioisotopes and radiolabelled products for applications in health care and industry; radiation source applications; research reactor utilization; applications of accelerators and nuclear instrumentation; nuclear and atomic data for applications; controlled nuclear fusion and isotope hydrology and geochemistry.

The Isotope Hydrology Section is responsible for planning and implementing the IAEA’s water resources programme. The programme assists Member States in the sustainable management of all aspects of their water resources, but with a particular focus on isotope hydrology. Major activities include internationally coordinated research, global isotope monitoring, capacity building, and technical assistance to Member States to help them with the assessment, development and use of water resources. The Section also operates a well-equipped laboratory for the analysis of stable and radioactive isotopes. The laboratory trains counterparts in using analytical techniques for high-quality measurements of isotopes in water samples.

Main Purpose

As a member of the project management team, led by the Head of the Section, the Isotope Hydrologist, with guidance from more senior Isotope Hydrologists, formulates and implements research and development activities and technical cooperation projects for isotope applications in water resource management.


The Isotope Hydrologist is: (1) a contributor to research and development in support of technical cooperation projects related to various aspects of water resource management; (2) a planner and trainer for technical training related to the water resources programme.

Functions / Key Results Expected

  • Review and analyse internal and external research publications related to isotope applications in hydrology; identify research gaps and formulate ideas for future research.
  • With guidance from more senior Isotope Hydrologists, formulate and implement technical cooperation projects.
  • Plan, organize and participate in seminars, workshops, missions and training courses.
  • Prepare materials for publication in relevant scientific publications. Suggest or recommend, in conjunction with activities at the Isotope Hydrology Section’s laboratories, research and development approaches.

Competencies and Expertise

Core Competencies

Planning and OrganizingPlans and organizes his/her own work in support of achieving the team or Section’s priorities. Takes into account potential changes and proposes contingency plans.
CommunicationCommunicates orally and in writing in a clear, concise and impartial manner. Takes time to listen to and understand the perspectives of others and proposes solutions.
Achieving ResultsTakes initiative in defining realistic outputs and clarifying roles, responsibilities and expected results in the context of the Department/Division’s programme. Evaluates his/her results realistically, drawing conclusions from lessons learned.
TeamworkActively contributes to achieving team results. Supports team decisions.

Functional Competencies

Analytical thinkingGathers and analyses information, identifying critical relationships and patterns among data and proposes workable solutions.
Judgement/decision makingConsults with supervisor/manager and makes decisions in full compliance with the Agency’s regulations and rules.
Knowledge sharing and learningActively seeks opportunities to learn by formal and informal means; learns from others, adopting and sharing best practice.

Qualifications, Experience and Language skills

  • A first level university degree in hydrology, geosciences, natural resources management or related disciplines with proven background in the application of isotope techniques for water resources development and management. An advanced degree is an asset.
  • Two years of relevant experience at the national or international level in water resources management and the use of isotope techniques.
  • Experience in water resources management research is required. 
  • Excellent oral and written command of English. Knowledge of other official IAEA languages (Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian and Spanish) is an asset.