By continuing to browse this site, you agree to our use of cookies. Read our privacy policy

Strategic Program Leader for Building Resilience

Colombo (Sri Lanka)


Strategic Program Leader for Building Resilience


The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a non-profit, research-for-development organization focused on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries. IWMI research is coordinated in three Strategic Programs, which are vehicles to focus, disseminate and market IWMI research and the lens for reporting our research capabilities and impacts. The programs are:

  • Building Resilience: Water solutions to manage risk and variability
  • Promoting Sustainable Growth: Inclusive and innovative water management in rapidly changing economies
  • Managing Rural-Urban Linkages: Water, food and waste innovations in urbanizing landscapes

IWMI seeks a Strategic Program Leader (SPL) who is a thought leader and an innovative researcher to head our Building Resilience strategic program.

Water security is fundamental for building resilience in agroecologies and farming communities, and for contributing to food security, human well-being, and sustainable development in low- and middle-income countries. Under increasing pressure, agricultural systems have to produce more food and other products on less land, with less water and fertilizer, while also ensuring lower greenhouse gas emissions. Moreover, this needs to happen at a large scale, with lower costs, and must be sustainable. Making agriculture more resilient to multiple drivers will depend on good science, technology and innovations.

The aim of the IWMI Strategic Program on Building Resilience is to help rural communities establish and maintain improved and more resilient livelihoods, with higher incomes and better food and nutrition security. The program achieves this by delivering practical, research-based solutions and decision-support tools for farmers, resource managers and policy makers.

The ideal candidate for this position has a proven track record of strategic research leadership in a development context, and a demonstrated capability to lead the transformation of research into products and services. Extensive experience working in collaboration with international agencies, governments and the private sector is highly desirable. The candidate will bring expertise and experience in the development of technical, social and institutional solutions to agriculture water management (including irrigation) in the context of developing economies.

The Strategic Program Leader for Building Resilience (SPL-BR) will guide the development of new knowledge and solutions that enhance resilience of agricultural production systems with a focus on the sustainable management of surface water and groundwater resources, and integrated approaches to water-related risk and disaster management. Specifically, the SPL-BR will provide intellectual leadership to multi‑disciplinary project teams and direct supervision of three research groups:

  • Agricultural Water Management
  • Resilient and Sustainable Groundwater
  • Water Risks and Disasters

The SPL-BR will collaborate with IWMI’s Sustainable Growth and Rural-Urban Linkages Strategic Programs to ensure coherence across all IWMI research program. The SPLs also collaborate with the multi-partner, IWMI-led, CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE) and with other CGIAR Research Programs in which IWMI participates. The successful candidate will collaborate with IWMI Regional Directors (Africa and Asia) to develop regional and country strategies for implementation of the research programs. Our program leaders also have an active role in business development with responsibilities for resource mobilization and overseeing the program’s overall financial performance. The SPL-BR will have a recognized track record in research for development and fund-raising from a diverse range of sources, including research councils, international bilateral agencies, international financial institutions, and foundations.

The SPL-BR will be the focal point to represent the Institute globally and regionally, and will serve as the key spokesperson on resilience related issues. A strong international profile evidenced by partnerships with universities, research organizations, the private sector and intergovernmental bodies is expected. The leader will cultivate relationships with strategic partners and donors, oversee proposal development and quality control, guide the creation of knowledge products, help shape key messages, and work closely with communications to deliver research messages and stories through multiple channels.

Our new SPL-BR will be a renowned researcher with a PhD (or equivalent) related to the field/s of agricultural water management, irrigation engineering and/or operations, precision agriculture/smart farming, hydrology and/or water resources management (surface water and groundwater). The candidate should have at least 10 years of post-PhD experience in research for development in areas such as resilient agricultural water management, including surface and groundwater management; and integrated approaches to water-related risk management and climate-smart/precision agriculture.

The SPL-BR may be based at IWMI’s headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka, or at one of the Institute’s regional hubs in Africa (Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, or Accra, Ghana). The Strategic Program leaders report to Deputy Director General, Research for Development.

For a detailed job description and to apply for this position, visit

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. 

Please note that this is an extension of closing date and previous applicants need not apply again.

Applications will be accepted until September 10, 2017 or until this position is filled.

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.

IWMI works in partnership with governments, civil society and the private sector to develop scalable agricultural water management solutions that have a real impact on poverty reduction, food security and ecosystem health. Headquartered in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with regional offices across Asia and Africa, IWMI is a CGIAR Research Center and leads the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE).

IWMI is an equal opportunity employer and emphasizes the importance of regional and gender diversity in identifying the candidates for this position and its staff more generally.

Before applying, please make sure that you have read the requirements for the position and that you qualify.
Applications from non-qualifying applicants will most likely be discarded by the recruiting manager.

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

  • Organization: IWMI - International Water Management Institute
  • Location: Colombo (Sri Lanka)
  • Grade: Mid/Senior
  • Occupational Groups:
    • Environment
    • Agriculture and Forestry
    • Architecture, Building and Property Management
  • Closing Date: 2017-09-10

What does it mean?

Click "SAVE JOB" to save this job description for later.

Sign up for free to be able to save this job for later.

Similar Jobs

Deputy Chief of Party-Mekong Environment Program

Pact World
Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position
Beijing (China)

Professor, Marine Environmental Protection (Canadian Chair)

WMU - World Maritime University
Malmö (Sweden)

Researcher-Economist: Impact Evaluation & Impact Assessment

IWMI - International Water Management Institute
Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position
Colombo (Sri Lanka)

Senior Scientist, Value Chains, Finance and Investments

CIFOR - Center for International Forestry Research
Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position
Bogor (Indonesia)

Senior Manager: Strategic Programmes

Plan - UK
Mid/Senior - Internationally recruited position
London | Nepalgunj (United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland)