Strategic Program Leader for Building Resilience

Colombo, Western Province, Sri Lanka · Closing date - 10 September 2017 expand job description ↓


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


The Strategic Program Leader (SPL) leads the International Water Management Institute’s (IWMI’s) Strategic Program on Building Resilience, provide guidance in the development of new knowledge and solutions that enhance resilience in agriculture, contribute to the sustainable management of surface water and groundwater resources, and promote integrated approaches to water risk and disaster management. The SPL also provides thought leadership and overall direction for the program, championing its thematic vision. In addition, the person guides and motivates a multi-disciplinary team, including direct supervision of the leaders of three Research Groups – Agricultural Water Management, Resilient and Sustainable Groundwater, and Water Risks and Disasters.


IWMI’s Strategic Program on Building Resilience aims to help make rural communities more resilient, with improved livelihoods, including higher incomes as well as stronger food and nutrition security. The program aims to achieve this by delivering reliable, research-based solutions and decision-support tools for farmers, resource managers and policy makers.


  • Lead the Strategic Program’s research for development, ensuring that its portfolio is innovative, aligns with IWMI’s strategic goals, and generates new insights and perspectives on development issues.
  • Guide and motivate a team of researchers, and directly supervise designated research group leaders towards achieving deliverables and outcomes.
  • Advocate and advance the program’s research agenda in international fora to achieve impact on policy and practice among key stakeholders. 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.
  • Provide overall leadership and oversight of resource mobilization and donor relations to ensure the program has the financial resources necessary to deliver on its goals. Guide and oversee the development of research proposals, and initiate and contribute to donor visits and donor engagement, including with private companies and foundations.
  • Work closely with regional directors and country representatives to ensure that the program responds to contemporary challenges in the regions where IWMI works.
  • Be a recognized international leader in the program’s domain, and play an active part in relevant networks to develop new contacts, identify opportunities and forge strategic relationships that will enhance and diversify funding streams.
  • Foster a work environment that promotes knowledge sharing, interdisciplinary teamwork, and mutual learning, evaluation and innovation.
  • 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/sign-off on IWMI’s quality management system, and for management of risks to the Institute’s scientific reputation.
  • Lead the program’s development of research-based products and services that are relevant to users’ needs, and contribute to maximizing the desired outcomes and impacts.



  • An in-depth knowledge of donor investments and trends in the development sector.
  • Demonstrated success in building strong external partnerships and alliances in complex institutional environments.
  • A strong history of, and skills in, fund-raising and proposal development.
  • Excellent communication skills and the ability to explain complex issues clearly.
  • Proven ability to work collaboratively and effectively with academic and non-academic stakeholders.
  • Evidence of intellectual rigor and an appreciation of the role of natural sciences in informing water policy.
  • A distinguished record of peer-reviewed outputs on these subjects.


  • A PhD (or equivalent) related to the field of agricultural water management, irrigation engineering, precision agriculture/smart farming, hydrology and water resources management (surface water and groundwater), and geographic information system (GIS) and remote sensing applications for integrated water resources management and/or water risk management.
  • A minimum 10 years of post-PhD experience in research for development in areas such as agricultural water resilience, integrated approaches to water-related risk management and climate-smart/precision agriculture.
  • 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 in developing and executing organizational growth strategies.
  • Ample work experience in Asia and Africa.
  • Administrative experience, including personnel recruitment, employee management, and budget preparation and management.


  • Involves frequent travel to Asia and Africa, and to global events.

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.


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.

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

Do you have a LinkedIn account? Import your resume and save time!

Personal information
Your Profile
Application Details