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Senior Researcher - Agricultural Water Management
International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Posted 3 months ago
Job Description

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center is seeking a dynamic & multi skilled candidate to join its headquarters located in Colombo, Sri Lanka as a Senior Researcher - Agricultural Water Management.

Please note that this is a re-advertisement, and we kindly request that previous applicants refrain from reapplying. This is an internationally recruited position; therefore, individuals with relevant abilities from diverse locations around the world are encouraged to apply. Please disregard the preferred geographic location indicated above, as this is a technical limitation of the Workable software. The position will be based in Sri Lanka.

The Senior Researcher - Agricultural Water Management is responsible to Initiate, develop, lead and carry out research for development on agricultural water management and irrigated agriculture using approaches that combine methodologies for and technical knowledge of water management and farming systems. The incumbent will contribute to the International Water Management Institute’s (IWMI’s) Strategic Programs through scientific leadership on water management for sustainable and resilient food systems, and by building and managing partnerships needed to achieve outcomes and impacts from research for development.

The successful candidate will Lead project development, including donor engagement, apply good project management practices, and disseminate research results to key knowledge users and constituencies. Further to that the incumbent will play a leading role in research on agricultural water management in the One CGIAR Action Areas on Resilient Agri-food Systems and Systems Transformation. This position could be potentially offered to the successful candidate at IWMI offices across Asia and Africa.



  • Develop and manage a portfolio of research projects in co-designing, testing, and evaluating agricultural water management solutions within rain-fed and irrigated agricultural production systems (part of food, land, and water systems) in Africa, Asia, and the Middle East and North Africa (MENA).
  • Lead and participate in the assessment of irrigated agricultural production systems, and the design and scaling of irrigation interventions appropriate for small, medium, and large scale irrigation systems.
  • Develop approaches for the efficient and sustainable use of surface water and groundwater resources in agriculture, and approaches that enhance resilience at the farm and irrigation scheme levels by considering larger-scale (watershed, basin) interactions.
  • Identify new research trends and niches, and develop multi-year proposals for innovative research addressing themes under IWMI’s Research Group on Sustainable and Resilient Food Production Systems (SuRF), part of the Strategic Program on Water, Food, and Ecosystems, in Africa, Asia, and MENA.
  • Oversee the research of and mentor junior research staff and students, and support regular team renewal and funded growth through the development and advancement of junior researchers; identify learning needs that contribute to both skills enhancement and career progression and provide input on individual goals and support developmental feedback.
  • Disseminate findings via peer-reviewed publications; convene and attend workshops, conferences, and webinars in a range of international, regional, and national settings; and provide scientific leadership to ensure the quantity and quality of research publications with due attention to the quality of publication outlets, accessibility to their target group, citations, and bibliometric measures of impact.
  • Contribute to the overall direction of IWMI's research agenda under One CGIAR and provide support in, for example, project development and implementation, capacity building, and information dissemination activities to programs and partner organizations within the new One CGIAR structure.
  • Lead and contribute to proposal writing and other fundraising opportunities for bilateral and multilateral funding sources.
  • Provide scientific leadership in the implementation of strategies and processes to ensure research quality; Ensure high-quality project design, project implementation, and research outputs, and effective reporting.
  • Develop and manage partnerships with governments, development organizations, businesses, and other stakeholders to deliver IWMI’s research for development mission; Engage in relevant scientific, policy, and development practitioner networks and platforms to foster the application of research results and knowledge to achieve outcomes and impacts relevant to areas of research.
  • Collaborate with research colleagues to ensure that project outputs and engagement of partners are effectively coordinated to enhance impact. Provide information on relevant projects and research results and breakthroughs for communication to donors, research users, partners, networks, and policy platforms.
  • Support a work environment that promotes a culture of collaboration, learning, effective knowledge sharing and transfer, interdisciplinary teamwork, evaluation, and innovation.



  • A Ph.D. or equivalent qualification in agricultural engineering, agricultural sciences, soil and water engineering, irrigation engineering, or a closely related field.
  • A minimum of 10 years of relevant post-doctoral professional experience, preferably related to research experience in developing countries.
  • Successful track record of representing an organization at a senior level in a global context.
  • Evidence of scientific publishing, demonstrated by a strong publication record in peer-reviewed journals, research impact, and other acknowledgments.
  • Strong exposure to and a solid understanding of sustainable development challenges, especially in relation to agricultural water management in Africa, Asia, and MENA.
  • Strong policy engagement, along with a client-oriented approach and commitment to demand-driven research that supports decision-making and delivers outcomes.
  • Experience in engaging with regional and international professional networks and in building strong partnerships with various categories of stakeholders.
  • Experience in managing and coordinating multidisciplinary, multi-location, multicultural, and multi-partner project teams.


  • Demonstrated in-depth knowledge and research experience relevant to IWMI’s overall mission of water management in developing countries, and knowledge of the functioning of One CGIAR would be advantageous.
  • Advanced strategic communication skills with the ability to explain development challenges and complex interdisciplinary water and food issues in simple terms.
  • An in-depth understanding of challenges and opportunities in low-income countries and emerging economies related to sustainable water, land, and agricultural development in the face of a changing climate.
  • Proven ability to successfully manage complex research projects with multiple partners, in politically challenging environments, and under conditions of limited data access.
  • Strong abilities in producing high-quality written proposals, reports, and academic papers for scientific and non-scientific audiences, as evidenced by a strong publication record.
  • Proven ability to effectively communicate research results to stakeholders at different management levels in multiple countries.
  • Strong competency to lead and inspire a high-performing, multidisciplinary team.
  • Excellent 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.
  • Excellent oral and written language skills in English, including effective listening and strong verbal and written communication abilities.


What we are offering:

This is an internationally recruited position with a competitive salary, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international health insurance, life insurance accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, and long-term disability coverage. Internationally recruited staff who are employed at a duty station outside of their home base/country of nationality will also receive relocation assistance, a housing allowance, home-leave plane tickets for self and eligible dependents and education assistance for eligible dependents. The duration of the contract will initially be for a period of three years.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply for the position by following the application instructions at We will be accepting applications through 24:00 (IST) on December 12, 2023 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis). Your application must include a CV, cover letter, and three (3) references, which may be contacted if you are shortlisted. 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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