Deputy Director General (Research for Development)

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
University/Academia/Research/Think tank
Experience Level: 
10+ Years
Degree Required: 


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Based out of headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka or at one of the institute’s major regional offices in Africa.Closing Date - December 29, 2020


The Deputy Director General, Research for Development (DDG) leads and drives the science agenda within IWMI on water security to address global development challenges related to food, land and water systems and to climate change. This DDG leads the identification of innovative research areas, ensuring thematic relevance for the development agenda that contributes to the SDGs, global climate agenda, other regional and national imperatives, and the One CGIAR Research Strategy and Results Framework. The DDG stimulates resource mobilization efforts and assures the quality of outputs. The DDG is responsible and accountable for efficient and effective research program management for IWMI’s project portfolio, and for IWMI’s contributions to, and engagement in, completion in 2021 of the CGIAR Research Programs, including the Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) Program that IWMI leads, and subsequently the investment plans and research programs of the CGIAR System Organization (“One CGIAR”).

The DDG has a leading role in catalyzing ideas and lines of investigation, synthesizing and communicating research findings to key stakeholders, guiding development of strategic initiatives and proposals, and identifying strategies for and leading the scaling up and scaling out of IWMI’s research-for-development and innovation.


Research Direction and Strategic Leadership

  • Oversee the research strategy and science quality of IWMI through coordination of the work of the Strategic Program Directors, ensuring that the Institute’s Strategic Programs align to the IWMI Strategy in an integrated way.
  • Work closely with the Director General and the IWMI Board of Governors on the Institute’s strategic directions, including preparation and implementation of the IWMI strategic plan. Act as focal point for the Program Committee of the IWMI Board of Governors, working closely with the Chair to support provision by the Committee of relevant and timely strategic guidance.
  • Provide leadership to ensure that IWMI’s work has relevance to critical development challenges and that strategies for achieving impacts through IWMI’s projects are developed, applied and regularly evaluated. This will include creating strategic partnerships to complement IWMI’s capacities and role in development as a knowledge institute.
  • Oversee IWMI’s involvement in completion in 2021 of the CGIAR Research Programs and in the development and implementation of One CGIAR research programs under One CGIAR Investment Plans.
  • Build IWMI’s research portfolio in close coordination with the Strategic Program Directors and Country Representatives, ensuring alignment to the IWMI Strategy and programmatic synergies among CGIAR research programs and bilateral projects.
  • Represent IWMI in CGIAR Science Leaders’ meetings and regional meetings relevant to the Institute’s core agenda, including interactions with the CGIAR’s Independent Science for Development Council (ISDC) and Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA).
  • Ensure effective internal communications both on Research for Development (R4D) and research program management across the Institute.

Research Program Management and Quality Management

  • Manage Strategic Program Directors (SPDs) and Country Representatives to ensure that research program management is coordinated across the management matrix and strategically focused.
  • Guide the annual research planning process and prepare and manage IWMI's research for development budget (with Corporate Services Director, Country Representatives, SPDs and Project Management Office).
  • In consultation with SPDs, Research Group Leaders, Country Representatives, PMO and the Human Resources Department (HR): a) establish and maintain appropriate staffing of the research groups and country/regional offices to ensure that quality projects are delivered on time and budget; and b) ensure coherence and integration across the R4D teams and clarity on responsibilities and accountabilities of individuals.
  • Oversee management and monitoring of research quality, including adherence to IWMI’s Research Ethics Policy and by providing necessary support to IWMI’s Institutional Review Board.
  • Work closely with the WLE Program Director, science leaders of other CGIAR Centers, the CGIAR System Management Office and key strategic partners to provide needed coordination of research program management.
  • Lead and facilitate IWMI’s Annual Research Meeting.

Resource Mobilization, Profiling and Communications

  • Develop close cooperation with key development partners, lead major research proposals and provide guidance and support across IWMI’s resource mobilization processes.
  • Work with research directors, the business development unit and country leadership to identify funding opportunities, develop strategic initiatives and project ideas, and to identify key people to develop initiatives and proposals and partners, and to ensure the quality and relevance of initiatives and proposals.
  • Lead IWMI efforts to promote its water research for development outputs, products and solutions platforms through the publication of papers and presentations, and by encouraging and identifying such opportunities for IWMI researcher
  • Promote communication of research results and collaboration and knowledge sharing within the Institute, One CGIAR and external partnerships and networks.

Organizational Leadership and Representation

  • In close coordination with the Director General, promote the Institute and work to advance its strategic goals and research aims within the One CGIAR and within the water-related research and development communities.
  • Lead in implementing organizational change initiatives and continuous improvement of organizational effectiveness under the direction and in close support of the Director General.
  • Represent IWMI in global research and development initiatives, conferences and networks.
  • Work closely with the Director General on issues that may arise in the Institute and deputize as required.

Staff Development

  • In consultation with the Country Representatives, Strategic Program Directors and Research Group Leaders, oversee the capacity development of IWMI research staff including by working with HR, line managers and others in the identification of developmental learning opportunities and training programs, and articulation of job profiles and career pathways.
  • Provide mentoring to senior research managers.
  • Oversee the appraisal and performance review process for all research staff in close coordination with HR, ensuring also that remedial actions to address shortfalls in performance are identified, prioritized and acted upon.
  • Demonstrates commitment to diversity and inclusion through staffing decisions and models behaviors that promote an inclusive organizational culture.


  • A PhD (or equivalent) in an area relevant to IWMI’s mandate and research program.
  • Minimum of 15 years’ relevant work experience holding positions of increasing responsibility.
  • Proven ability in research program management including managing finances, planning and portfolio implementation from both research-for-development and financial/human resources perspectives.
  • Demonstrated ability to create and lead a strategic vision and represent an organization at senior level.
  • Proven ability to deliver research for development of international excellence, and demonstrable capacity to guide programs to deliver impact.
  • Demonstrated experience of successfully leading, managing and motivating multi-disciplinary teams in a multi-cultural and scientific and development context.
  • Successful experience managing teams to secure funding and an ability to liaise effectively with funding agencies.
  • Demonstrated capacity to work in and facilitate collaborative relationships at senior leadership level, and to build and manage cooperative alliances and networks internally and externally. Proven ability to develop collaborations with strategic partners.
  • Scientific creditability as evidenced by publications in scientific journals, presentations at conferences, and/or successful research-led knowledge transfer in related research disciplines.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with stakeholders at different management levels in multiple countries, particularly developing and emerging economies, with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Ability to analyze processes and to implement continuous improvements.
  • Excellent communicator with written and oral fluency in English.
  • Evidence of strategic planning skills and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to mentor colleagues and continuously build capacity within the organisation.


The DDG is an internationally recruited position with competitive compensation with comprehensive employee benefits comprising extensive insurance coverage, a retirement plan, education allowance, and relocation support a the start of the appointment and upon conclusion for staff members and eligible dependents. All benefits are denominated and paid in USD. The duration of the contract will initially be for a three-year period with possible extension.

The CGIAR System Organization is an equal opportunity employer and offers competitive compensation with favorable taxation arrangements (as applicable in the location) and, subject to eligibility, comprehensive employee benefits comprising extensive insurance coverage, a retirement plan, an education grant, and relocation support at the start of the appointment and upon conclusion of appointment for staff members and eligible dependents. All benefits are denominated and paid in Euros

To Apply

Your application must include your curriculum vitae, a cover letter that addresses the above stated requirements, and contact information of a minimum of three professional referees. At least 2 of the provided referees must be a former or a current direct supervisor. Referees will only be contacted with the prior consent of the candidate and all reference checks are treated as strictly confidential.

Applications must be submitted by 24:00 hours (Indian Standard Time) on December 29, 2020.

IWMI is committed to fair, safe, and inclusive workplaces. We believe 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, collegial working environment, with a competitive salary, excellent benefits, and flexible working arrangements. 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.