Researcher - Freshwater Ecologist

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The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is looking for a highly competent researcher to lead and manage research projects that contribute to a better understanding of the role of aquatic ecosystems in the management of freshwater systems, with outcomes being adopted in the planning and management of rivers and wetlands in Southeast and South Asia, and Africa. The person is expected to drive and undertake research for development (R4D) initiatives, provide scientific leadership and guidance, contribute to research oversight and quality control, support partnership development, and lead biophysical research portfolios, as well as disseminate research results to target audiences.

The position holder will be based in Colombo, Sri Lanka and work with multi-disciplinary researchers and partners of IWMI, including WorldFish and other One CGIAR institutes, at various scales.


The position holder will be responsible for the following:

  • Incorporate an advanced ecological understanding of freshwater systems, adapting and/or developing original concepts and ideas for existing and future R4D projects.
  • Conduct high-quality and innovative applied research and contribute to proposal development on key research areas, including freshwater ecosystem integrity, environmental flow assessment, hydro-ecology (process and modeling), water quality monitoring, targets and standards, and intersectoral water allocation that balances human and environmental needs.
  • Contribute to a portfolio of R4D projects related to nature-based solutions in the context of integrated water resources management and sustainable/resilient infrastructure, which address national and regional development priorities.
  • Contribute to IWMIs research portfolio on the water-energy-food-environment nexus as well as other One CGIAR initiatives and related donor-supported research projects.
  • Provide aquatic-ecological and water quality expertise in the design, testing and evaluation of contextually relevant innovative R4D solutions that address climate change, biodiversity and other challenges.
  • Initiate, develop and strengthen collaboration with research partners, governments, development partners, the private sector, investors, civil society, networks, and other CGIAR centers.
  • Ensure that project-specific deliverables and deadlines are met.
  • Manage project budgets and work closely with the Country Manager – Sri Lanka, Strategic Program Directors, Director of Digital Innovation, relevant Research Group Leaders, Initiative and Project Leads, internal and external research teams, and partners to ensure timely delivery of research outputs.
  • Contribute to advice to policy makers and inform and transfer knowledge to non-scientific audiences.
  • Manage projects and help mentor early career researchers at IWMI and partner organizations on freshwater ecology and water quality.
  • Support IWMI’s office in Sri Lanka in implementing its country-specific strategic road map in alignment with the priorities and plans of the Government of Sri Lanka and One CGIAR.
  • Represent IWMI in relevant strategic meetings with partners and stakeholders.


Qualifications, experience and skills:

  • PhD in freshwater ecology or a closely related discipline, with knowledge of other disciplines, particularly water quality, environmental science, and climate change adaptation and mitigation.
  • At least 3 years of postdoctoral experience in freshwater ecology with a specialization in environment flows, river health assessment, and water quality monitoring and evaluation in a developing country context.
  • A good track record of relevant scientific publications, and experience in working on applied research, policy and capacity development in the field of freshwater ecology/water quality.
  • Experience in leading, managing and/or providing technical contributions to complex donor-funded research projects preferably in South and Southeast Asia, and/or Africa.
  • Ability to undertake and direct field-based research programs.
  • A good understanding of nature-based solutions in the context of integrated water resources management and climate change adaptation.
  • Experience in leading concept note and proposal development, where freshwater ecology is a key component of research to be undertaken.
  • Ability to work collaboratively as part of multidisciplinary, often regionally dispersed, research teams to carry out tasks in support of IWMI’s scientific objectives.
  • Ability to establish and maintain partnerships and working relationships with governments, development agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, and research and similar institutions.
  • Excellent oral and written communication skills in English with the ability to produce high-quality client reports and scientific papers that are suitable for publication in high-impact journals and for presentation at national and international conferences.


What we are offering:

This is a globally recruited position with a competitive salary commensurate with experience, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international health insurance, life insurance, accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, long-term disability insurance coverage and a transportation allowance. The duration of the contract will initially be for a three-year period with possible extension.

How to apply:

Apply for the position by following the application instructions at We will be accepting applications through 24:00 (Sri Lanka time) November 30, 2021 (Tuesday). 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.


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