Geospatial Water Risk Specialist

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Colombo, Sri Lanka 🇱🇰


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center is seeking an innovative & multi skilled researcher to join its office in Colombo, Sri Lanka, as a Geospatial Water Risk Specialist.

This is an internationally recruited position; therefore, individuals with relevant abilities from diverse locations around the world are encouraged to apply.

The Geospatial Water Risk Specialist will support the Water Risk and Climate Resilience program in delivering diverse projects and CGIAR research initiatives on Climate Resilience, Transformative Agrifood Systems in West and Central Africa, and Integrated flood and drought management. The role aims to deliver innovative solutions to tackle climate change impacts and natural hazards across Africa and Asia. The ideal candidate is expected to bring recent advances in remote sensing, geospatial modeling, and testing innovative flood and drought solutions applicable to developing countries. This expertise will enable them to support water resilience strategies for adapting to climate change.

A strong understanding of geospatial technologies, utilizing open-source remote sensing data for large-scale flood and drought monitoring and mapping, is essential. The successful candidate will contribute to water-risk assessment and produce innovative knowledge products, supporting the development of resilient and forward-looking programs and policies. This role is anticipated to contribute and collaborate across different Strategic Programs and Research Groups within IWMI, the CGIAR, and wider external partnerships.


  • Develop stakeholder-centric, demand-driven geospatial water-risk applications in near real-time across large spatial scales combining multiple remote sensing datasets and other sources.
  • Develop robust early warning indicators on floods and drought for early action strategies in close collaboration with CGIAR research initiatives in Africa and Asia.
  • Develop and implement innovative water risk solutions to floods and drought using a variety of data sources, machine learning approaches, including deep learning techniques to improve climate resilience solutions.
  • Conduct (and improve existing) water-risk application automation and outputs for stakeholders, including workflows for risk assessments and R/Python scripts.
  • Support the water risk research group team with general tool maintenance (e.g., data updates, data management, backend updates, documentations, debugging, task automations) and new tool developments (e.g., implementation of new functionalities) jointly with developers.
  • Conduct capacity building and training on geospatial water risk assessments.
  • Proactively support IWMI’s efforts to establish and strengthen partnerships with public, private and grassroots institutions at all levels – enabling transformations in the water risks program.
  • Prepare research reports, scientific publications, policy briefs, and extension materials to disseminate and uptake research outputs.
  • Identify new research trends and niches and develop multi-year multi-partner proposals for innovative research.


  • A PhD in Remote Sensing, Geospatial Analytics, Water-Risk Informatics, Water Resources, or a related field.
  • A minimum of five years of post-doctoral experience in utilizing earth observation data for flood and drought mapping and modeling, conducting water risk assessments, or implementing early warning systems within the context of developing countries.
  • Demonstrated proficiency in managing extensive spatial datasets through open-source tools and software, including the application of machine learning techniques.
  • Proficiency in utilizing advanced Google Earth Engine or other cloud-based platforms for processing earth observation data, specifically for the development of geospatial water risk tools.
  • Proven ability to design and implement methodologies tailored for data-scarce environments.
  • Experience in incorporating digital solutions to tailor user-specific applications that support diverse stakeholders.
  • Track record of translating research findings into impactful knowledge products, including effective communication through prominent outreach channels such as social media and major events.
  • Strong eagerness to engage in research for development projects and collaborate effectively with multiple partners to generate innovative knowledge products, influential policy tools, strategic investments, and lasting societal effects.
  • Proficiency in leading and collaborating within interdisciplinary and multicultural research teams.
  • A notable history of relevant publications, spanning scientific articles, instructional materials, or other extension resources.
  • Experience in spearheading the development of concept notes and proposals related to water risk and climate resilience, applying water management and climate science perspectives.


  • Documented experience in handling large-scale geospatial data using machine learning-related approaches.
  • Proficiency in Python, with experience in numeric and geospatial Python packages like NumPy, Scikit-learn, GDAL, or similar.
  • Excellent understanding of geospatial innovation to support water risks and climate resilience solutions for societal development.
  • Strong publication track record (preferably in internationally peer-reviewed journals).
  • Knowledge of proposal writing for innovative R4D projects.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and effectively with academic and non-academic stakeholders.
  • Excellent interpersonal skills and capacity to work in a multidisciplinary, multi-institutional, and multicultural environment.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to explain complex issues clearly and to diverse audiences, including at an international level.


  • Excellent oral and written language skills in English, including effective listening and strong verbal and written communication abilities.


This is an internationally recruited position with a competitive salary, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international health insurance, life insurance accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, and long-term disability coverage. Internationally 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 period of three years.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply for the position by following the application instructions at We will be accepting applications through 24:00 (IST) on September 18, 2023 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis). Your application must include a CV, cover letter, and three (3) references, which may be contacted if you are shortlisted. 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.






IHE Delft MSc in Water and Sustainable Development