Deputy Director General (Research for Development)

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)

Colombo, Sri Lanka 🇱🇰



The Deputy Director General (Research for Development) leads and drives the science agenda within IWMI to address global development challenges for water security and natural resources management. This includes leading the identification of innovative research areas, ensuring relevance of thematic content for the development agenda that contributes to the SDGs, global climate agenda, CGIAR’s Strategy and Results Framework and other regional and national imperatives, stimulating resource mobilization efforts and assuring the quality of outputs. The DDG is responsible and accountable for IWMI’s contributions to, and engagement in, the Research Programs of the CGIAR, including the Water, Land and Ecosystems Program that IWMI leads.

The DDG has a leading role in stimulating ideas and lines of investigation, synthesizing and communicating research findings to key stakeholders, identifying and leading the scaling up and scaling out of research based recommendations and guiding proposal development. Approximately 25% of the DDG’s time will directly contribute to specific projects and assignments in a management / advisory role as a lead or team member.


Research Direction and Strategic Leadership

  • Oversee the research strategy, science quality, and advisory services direction of IWMI.
  • Work closely with the Director General (DG) and the IWMI Board of Governors on the Institute’s strategic directions, including preparation and implementation of the IWMI strategic plan.
  • Provide leadership to ensure that IWMI’s work has relevance to emerging development challenges and project impact pathways are established and regularly evaluated. This will include commissioning foresight studies, strategy scenario setting, impact assessments and creating strategic partnerships to complement in-house capacity as required.
  • Promote, guide and oversee IWMI’s involvement in the CGIAR Research Programs to build IWMI’s research portfolio and ensure complementarity and synergistic approaches in the work program of IWMI across CRPs and other bilateral projects.
  • Represent IWMI at CGIAR Research Group meetings and regional meetings relevant to the Institute’s core agenda, including interactions with the CGIAR’s Independent Science and Partnership Council (ISPC) and Independent Evaluation Arrangement (IEA).
  • Ensure effective internal communications both within the Research for Development (R4D) team and across the Institute.

Research Program Management and Quality Management

  • Manage Strategic Program Leaders (SPLs) and links to Research Group Leaders, and work with Regional Directors and Country Representatives to encourage interdisciplinary and cross-program activities that are relevant to provide holistic solutions to global and regional development challenges.
  • Oversee the work of the Advisory Services Team and its resource needs to ensure synergy with the research team.
  • Work closely with the WLE Program Director, science leaders of other CGIAR Centers and key strategic partners.
  • Ensure adequate support to programs and research groups via oversight of the Program Management Office (PMO).
  • In consultation with SPLs, PMO, Country Representatives and 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;b) ensure coherence and integration across the R4D teams and clarity on responsibilities and accountabilities of individuals.
  • Guide the annual research planning process and prepare and manage IWMI’s research for development budget (with SPLs, Corporate Services Director, and Program Office).
  • Lead and facilitate IWMI’s Annual Research Meeting.
  • Oversee the Audit and Performance Indicator reports developed by the Program Office.

Resource Mobilization, Profiling and Communications

  • Represent IWMI in global research and development initiatives, conferences and networks.
  • Develop close cooperation with key development partners, take responsibility for major research proposals and provide general inputs and guidance and support across IWMI’s resource mobilization processes.
  • Work with the Director, PKM; Business Development Manager; Regional Directors and SPLs to develop proposal ideas, identify key people to develop proposals and partners, and ensure quality and relevance of proposals.
  • Participate actively in Funding Opportunities Review Team (FORT) meetings to screen calls for proposals and alignment with IWMI mandate, aspirations and capabilities.
  • Lead IWMI efforts to promote its water research for development outputs, products and solutions platforms through the publication of papers, presentations, and by encouraging and identifying such opportunities for IWMI researchers.
  • Promote the Institute and its research aims within the research and development communities.
  • Promote collaboration and knowledge sharing.
  • Provide inputs on successful research results to communications units of IWMI and the CRPs.

Staff Development

  • In consultation with SPLs, and Regional Directors oversee the capacity development of IWMI research staff including, for example, working with HR and others in the identification or development of training programs, articulation of job profiles and career pathways.
  • Provide mentoring to senior research managers.
  • Oversee the appraisal and performance review process for all research staff.

Other Management functions

  • Act as the main resource person and Secretary for the Board Program/Science Committee and provide advice and support as required.
  • Deputize for the Director General (DG) as required.
  • Work closely with the DG on a range of issues that may arise in the Institute.



  • A PhD in an area relevant to IWMI’s mandate and research program.
  • Minimum of 15 years’ extensive experience in related areas of research, research impact for development, research institutions, development organizations and key stakeholders.
  • Proven ability to deliver research for development of international excellence, and demonstrable capacity to guide programs to deliver impact.
  • Demonstrated experience of teamwork and team leadership in a scientific and development context; including experience of managing teams of people that have delivered high quality research outputs on time and to budget.
  • Proven ability to create and lead a strategic vision and represent an organization at senior level.
  • Proven ability to manage teams to secure significant funding and an ability to liaise effectively with funding agencies.
  • Proven ability to develop local and external collaborations with strategic partners.
  • Scientific creditability as evidenced by sustained research outputs, including: publications in scientific journals, presentations at conferences, and successful research-led knowledge transfer in related research disciplines.
  • Experience in managing finances and planning work from both scientific and financial/human resources perspectives.
  • Demonstrable capacity to successfully motivate, manage and lead teams of different disciplines and multiple cultures to deliver the IWMI research outputs and development outcomes.
  • Ability to analyze processes and to implement continuous improvements.
  • Strong communication skills, both written and oral.
  • Ability to work with stakeholders at different management levels in multiple countries, particularly developing and emerging economies.
  • Ability to work as a member of a team and work closely with researchers of other disciplines.
  • Evidence of strategic planning skills and conceptual thinking.
  • Ability to mentor colleagues and continuously build capacity within the organisation.


This is an internationally recruited position with a competitive salary and benefits package, which includes a housing allowance, transport, education, shipping assistance, annual home leave, and retirement and health insurance. The duration of the contract will initially be for a three-year period and is renewable.

Your application must include a copy of your curriculum vitae, cover letter which addresses IWMI’s requirements stated above, and contact information of three professional referees who may be contacted if you are short-listed for the position.

Applications must be submitted by 24:00 hours (Indian Standard Time) on September 25, 2017.