Theme Leader: Water Availability, Risk and Resilience

Colombo, , LK


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) seeks applications from highly motivated, visionary research leaders with exceptional capacity to successfully motivate, manage and lead its research theme on Water Availability, Risk and Resilience (WR). The Theme Leader (TL) will direct the theme, and provide advanced research-for-development leadership of the theme and the overall research strategy of the Institute. In addition, TL will ensure that IWMI delivers on its strategic commitments, contributes to the relevant CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) as agreed and, where assigned, undertakes responsibilities for managing flagships and other components of these CRPs. TL will report to the Deputy Director General (Research for Development) (DDG), and will be based at IWMI’s headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, or at one of the Institute’s major regional offices in Africa and Asia. Water availability is a key constraint to poverty reduction and food security. The starting point for sustainable water resources management and all water-use activities in any basin is to know how much water is available for various uses, the source of this water (rivers, lakes, aquifers or soil moisture), its interactions with land and livelihoods, and its variability in time and space. Variability of water resources is a major natural impediment for sustainable agriculture, food production and development at large, and is the primary determinant of water scarcity and a significant factor in ensuring national water security. Extremes of variability – floods and droughts – are the primary agents of destruction, severe crop damage and loss of human life. Variability is increasing with climate change, and hence it has to be explicitly accounted for in climate change adaptation strategies. This research theme aims to advance data and knowledge on groundwater and surface water processes, availability and variability for various uses across scales, and on the drivers of change to provide solutions that minimize flood- and drought-related risks, improve preparedness and maximize the resilience of farmers and nations to such natural disasters; to enhance the adaptive capacity of communities, nations and economic sectors to progressing climate change and increasing water variability; and to guide environmentally sound and socially acceptable development and operation of various forms and scales of water storage. The theme is the key contributor to the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) Flagship on Managing Resource Variability, Risks and Competing Uses for Increased Resilience (VCR), and to the CGIAR Research Program on Climate Change, Agriculture and Food Security (CCAFS).

Job description

1. Strategic leadership 2. Leadership and management of research for development within the Water Availability, Risk and Resilience research theme, and relevant CGIAR Research Programs 3. Profiling IWMI’s work and mobilizing resources

Minimum Qualification & Experience

• A PhD or equivalent experience in an area relevant to the theme, with at least 15 years of relevant postdoctoral experience. • At least 5 years of program leadership and management experience relevant to IWMI’s research program.

Skills & abilities

• Skills in identifying and assessing policy issues, and the ability to play an active role in dialogues with international agencies, national governments and other stakeholders. • Strong communication and liaison skills that will mobilize rese arch funding to expand IWMI’s work, and influence water and land management in practical uptake, investment advice and policy formulation. • Strong strategic planning skills, and the ability to develop and deliver strategic initiatives to advance the research agenda of the theme.

Personal Qualities

An outgoing person who could think out of the box, Oversee the research strategy and science quality within IWMI.

Terms & Conditions

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, retirement and health insurance package. IWMI’s policy is to appoint staff initially on three-year contracts which are subject to renewal, depending on performance and the Institute’s needs.


Please submit your application online at: