Strategic Program Director - Water, Climate Change and Resilience

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The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is offering an exciting opportunity for a highly motivated research professional to lead IWMI’s Strategic Program on Water, Climate Change and Resilience. The Strategic Program Director (SPD) will oversee IWMI’s strategy for development and application of water security solutions to the global challenge of adaptation to and mitigation of climate change and building resilience to disasters and disruption. The SPD provides scientific leadership and overall direction for the program, champions its vision and inspires and guides multi-disciplinary teams addressing climate change adaptation and mitigation particularly in IWMI critical areas such as resilience building, , climate-smart agriculture, or water risk management, or disaster risk reduction.

Strategic Program Directors at IWMI are members of the Management Team and lead the development and coordination of a programmatic portfolio of projects, knowledge services and strategic relationships to ensure programs are well resourced to deliver impact. They represent IWMI in international science fora and global development and policy platforms. Internally, they build and facilitate coordination with other IWMI Strategic Programs; contribute to the integration across the portfolio of IWMI’s work on governance, equality and women’s empowerment, economics and data technologies; and ensure close coordination with the management of IWMI’s country offices.

The position can be based at IWMI’s Headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, or one of its regional offices in Asia or Africa.


  • Be a recognized leader in the program’s domain and ensure high visibility and credibility in relevant scientific, development and policy networks and platforms.
  • Lead the Strategic Program’s research for development, ensuring that its portfolio is innovative, aligns with IWMI’s strategic goals, and generates new knowledge on development issues and on adaptation/mitigation solutions for water security in sustainable development. Collaborate with IWMI’s other Strategic Programs to build coherence across all IWMI research programs.
  • Build, facilitate and inspire multi-disciplinary collaborative teams of researchers, and supervise research quality and portfolio development for designated research groups; Directors towards achieving deliverables, outcomes and scaling up of water security solutions.
  • Lead development of a business plan for growth of the Strategic Program and manage collaboration on resource mobilization among Research Group Leaders, Project Leaders and IWMI Country Representatives. Develop and manage donor relationships, including with private investors and companies, and foundations, to ensure the program has the financial resources necessary to deliver on its goals.
  • Work closely with IWMI Country Representatives to ensure that the Strategic Program responds to the context and contemporary challenges in the regions and countries where IWMI works.
  • Oversee the programmatic design of project portfolios, research design and execution and delivery of knowledge services. Guide and oversee the development of proposals for projects and programs. Identify and manage portfolio risks.
  • Build scientific consortia to strengthen IWMI’s leadership in relevant scientific domains and partnerships needed for development impact. Lead and facilitate development of large-scale, multi-partner programmatic initiatives aligned to IWMI’s Strategy and integrating research, actionable policy outcomes, knowledge services and support for implementation of water security solutions leading to impacts at scale.
  • Lead IWMI’s engagement in design, negotiation and resource mobilization for CGIAR Initiatives or other CGIAR programmatic mechanisms that align to the Strategic Program.
  • Advocate and advance the Strategic Program’s agenda in international fora to achieve impact on policy and practice. Act as IWMI’s main focal point for the program, both internally and externally, representing the Institute globally and regionally, and serving as a spokesperson on related issues.
  • Lead high quality and high-profile scientific outputs, through collaboration within IWMI and with external scientific consortia. Ensure regular, high quality scientific, development and policy-relevant communications, based on effective knowledge management.
  • Ensure high standards are met for research quality and that internal learning drives continuous improvement in quality. Ensure that reports, publications, and knowledge products are fit for purpose, meeting IWMI’s quality standards as well as clients’ quality expectations. Be responsible for final approval under IWMI’s quality management system and for management of risks to the Institute’s scientific reputation.
  • Identify and plan strategic staffing needs for the program in coordination with Country Representatives to meet the needs of interdisciplinary research, strategy for impact and development of new knowledge services.
  • Foster a respectful work environment that promotes knowledge sharing, interdisciplinary teamwork, and mutual learning, evaluation, and innovation. Lead professional development for researchers, ensuring equality and supporting strengthening of quality, deepening of knowledge and experience and career advancement.



  • A PhD (or equivalent) related to the fields of water resources management, hydrology, climate science, social-ecological systems, resilience or other relevant disciplines.
  • A minimum 10 years of post-PhD experience in research for development in areas such as climate-smart agriculture, flood and drought forecasting and management, climate risk analysis, resilient infrastructure planning, or change management in complex systems.
  • Experience with interdisciplinary research and collaboration in developing countries
  • Experience in transforming research into products and services, and in catalyzing innovative financing options and funding streams to bring products to the knowledge market.
  • Experience of fund-raising from a diverse range of sources, including research councils, bilateral agencies, international financial institutions, and foundations.
  • Experience in developing and executing organizational growth strategies.
  • Ample work experience in Asia and Africa.
  • Strong interpersonal skills and the ability to establish and maintain effective working relationships with coworkers, managers and other stakeholders in a multicultural setting, with sensitivity and respect for diversity.
  • Administrative experience, including personnel recruitment, employee management, and budget preparation and management.


This is a globally recruited position with a competitive salary commensurate with experience, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international insurance coverage, and a transportation allowance. If the successful candidate requires an international relocation, the successful candidate may be eligible for additional allowances, which include housing, education, shipping assistance, and home leave transportation for employee and eligible dependents. The duration of the contract will initially be for a three-year period with possible extension.

To Apply

Your application must include your curriculum vitae, publications record, 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 former or current supervisors. Referees will only be contacted with the prior consent of the candidate. All applications will be acknowledged, however, only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

Applications will be accepted until 24:00 hours (IST) on 11 July, 2021.

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.


Apply for this job.

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