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The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is a world renowned non-profit, research for development organisation focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources for food security, people’s livelihoods and the environment. Its headquarters are in Colombo, Sri Lanka, with regional offices across Asia and Africa. 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. IWMI is a member of CGIAR, a global research partnership for a food secure future.

IWMI is looking for a visionary Director General to assume responsibility for the leadership and further development of their impressive profile and track record in water and land management. S/he will provide vision and direction for the implementation of IWMI’s 2014-2018 strategy. The Director General will report to IWMI’s Board of Governors.

This is an exceptional opportunity, affording the right candidate the chance to lead at the cutting edge of the international development agenda, addressing arguably the most pressing global issues of this century – water and land use.


Approx. $210,000 USD (negotiable) includes a housing allowance, assignment of a vehicle for personal and business use, assistance with the education of children, family health insurance, a pension contribution and annual home leave.

Full description

Duties and Responsibilities:

  • Provide vision and leadership to drive implementation of IWMI strategy and research;
  • Oversee management of IWMI to ensure the Institute is appropriately structured, effectively administered, staffed and funded, to deliver scientific excellence in research and meet the goals and mission of the organisation, particularly in the context of multi-partner research and development programmes;
  • Be the principal communicator and ambassador for IWMI with strong representational skills, serving as IWMI spokesperson in international fora on the global grand water challenges and increasing the visibility of IWMI’s research-based solutions to these grand challenges;
  • Sustain and build excellent relationships established with national, regional and global research institutions;
  • Promote research excellence, including through partnerships and networking; encourage the transfer of research results into development and implementation for poverty alleviation, food and water security, to build resilience and sustain resources for growth; and
  • This position requires frequent international travel to represent IWMI in global events, meeting partners and IWMI staff.

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities Required

  • Senior management experience of multicultural and multidisciplinary research environments, with demonstrated capacity to work collaboratively and within a multidisciplinary, multicultural setting, and sensitivity to issues related to gender, diversity and inclusion;
  • Strong visionary and strategic leadership, with a proven record of managing a research for development institution;
  • Proven ability in client relationship management and successful resource mobilization;
  • In-depth knowledge of investments and trends of donors and the development sector;
  • Good understanding of land and water resources, their interaction with sustainable agricultural production and the global drivers of change affecting them;
  • Good understanding of managing water risks through cross-sectorial collaboration and innovation in order to achieve resilience and promote sustainable economic growth;
  • Strong communication and representational skills and diplomacy;
  • Effective and persuasive communication skills in English (skills in other languages desirable); and
  • Strong networks in relevant research and development organisations and demonstrated ability to build and sustain partnerships.

Educational Qualifications and Experience Required

  • Academic qualifications in relevant subjects and preferably a doctoral degree in the natural or social sciences related to land and water resources management;
  • An established reputation in research and/or development of water and natural resources management;
  • Extensive experience in water resources and/or natural resources management in developing countries;
  • Senior management experience in research, development or training institutions, preferably in a developing country other than the country of birth; and
  • Extensive fundraising experience and familiarity with the relevant donor community.

IWMI actively encourages applications from women, applicants from the developing South and previously disadvantaged groups.

Application Instructions

To apply for this post, please download and read the candidate pack, then complete our online application form. Please complete the form in sentence case – there is no need to use block capitals.

You will be asked to submit the following information:

  • An up-to-date curriculum vitae including a list of publications and at least three referees.
  • A detailed statement (of no more than 2-sides of A4) explaining why you are interested in this post and giving evidence of how you meet the Person Specification criteria. (Please look at Help for Candidates for hints on how to write a successful statement).

The documents should be saved in Word in the following format:

Your First Name, Your Last Name, Document Name, and Date (yymm) e.g.:

Applications will not be accepted without a completed application form.

Candidate Pack


Application form

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Contact information

About you

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Education – your language(s)


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Your CV and statement

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The documents should be saved in Word in the following format:

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If you are applying for a specific vacancy, please upload a Word document explaining why you are interested in this post and giving evidence of how you meet the Person Specification criteria.

Please ensure your documents are formatted as .doc, .docx, or .rtf

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In order to assist us in checking that this policy is carried out, and for that purpose only, it would help if you could complete this form. However, you are under no obligation to do so. This sheet will be separated from the application form on receipt, will remain confidential and will not be used as part of the selection process.


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The International Water Management Institute

A water-secure world

IWMI provides evidence-based solutions to sustainably manage water and land resources for food security, people’s livelihoods and the environment.