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International Water Management Institute

Asia Director

About IWMI

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI) is one of 15 international research centers supported by the network of 60 governments, private foundations and international and regional organizations collectively known as CGIAR. It is a non-profit organization with a staff of 350 and offices in over 10 countries across Asia and Africa and Headquarters in Colombo, Sri Lanka. IWMI has two Regional Directors, for the Asia and Africa regions. IWMI has exclusively tasked Mission Talent to search for the Director for Asia.

Purpose of the Role

  • The Director will be an experienced and motivated individual to lead IWMI’s work in the Asia Region, with offices in Lao PDR, India, Sri Lanka, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Nepal;
  • As the new Director, you will be responsible for strategically positioning IWMI in the Asia Region, with other key roles which include assisting science Theme Leaders with the development of IWMI’s program and representing the Institute with host governments, key stakeholders and partners; 
  • The Director will provide direction to the development and implementation of country-level and regional-level strategies and resource allocation to ensure that science informs and shapes debates and contributes to achievement of development impacts through development partners, including governments, donors, private sector entities, networks and local and international organizations. This requires tracking global, regional, and national trends; prioritizing and engaging development partners; understanding demand for research and coordinating innovative science communications to deliver value; strengthening collaboration across the research-to-development spectrum for greater efficiency and impact; and employing mechanisms for review and course correction; 
  • The Director will also oversee the management of the regional offices of the IWMI. Regional Directors report to the Director General (DG) and are encouraged to spend a small proportion of time (30% or so) contributing to research synthesis/review or on project work.

Major Duties and Responsibilities

  • Maintain knowledge of the region and political economy, representing the DG through relationship building with regional stakeholders, donors, nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) and regional alliances; 
  • Represent the DG and IWMI with host government agencies and institutions; act as the first point of contact in the region for a range of parties including donors, civil society, the private sector and senior government ministers; and respond to requests and questions from these parties; 
  • Represents IWMI at regional fora, meetings and conferences; 
  • Work with the Business Development Director/Theme Leaders to ensure the development and maintenance of a strong project pipeline; 
  • Seek opportunities for funding, and contribute to proposal writing and other scientific knowledge activities as appropriate; 
  • Support the implementation of the CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems (WLE), and integrate inputs and outputs between partners; 
  • Work with Theme and Project Leaders to ensure participation of IWMI in other CGIAR Research Programs (CRPs) that complement WLE; 
  • Be a member of IWMI’s Management Team and support the DG with planned/ad hoc reviews, submissions and other duties as required; 
  • Coordinate the work in IWMI offices in the region, and provide oversight and management to Office Heads and administrative staff within the region; 
  • Liaise, as appropriate, with headquarters corporate services, eg: Finance, Human Resources and the Information & Knowledge Group; 
  • Deal with everyday issues of staff located in the region, and provide guidance and mentoring as appropriate; 
  • Ensure IWMI Management Team is kept informed of issues and potential risks as they arise and mitigate risk in IWMI’s activities within the region.


Skills and Required Qualifications 

  • A PhD or equivalent experience in an area relevant to the theme (e.g., hydrology/hydrogeology, irrigation/agricultural science, environmental science, economics, development studies); 
  • Extensive experience of living and/or working in Asia and be comfortable interacting with the senior decision makers;
  • Experience in senior management positions, ideally with corporate management experience;
  • Previous intellectual leadership of key science areas relevant to IWMI’s agenda, having had an impact on development challenges;
  • Extensive knowledge of agriculture and natural resource concerns in most/all regions of Asia;
  • Individual recognition at international level for significant contribution to an area of research or development implementation as evidenced by publications and other acknowledgements;
  • Strong verbal communication skills so that international water management challenges can be explained to a range of players alongside the ability to explain complex, interdisciplinary water issues;
  • Strong strategic planning skills and the ability to develop and deliver strategic initiatives to advance the region;
  • Experience of managing teams of people that have delivered high quality outputs on time and within budgets;
  • Ability to form partnerships with other CGIAR Centers, Agricultural Research Institutes and National Agricultural Research and Extension Systems (NARES) to facilitate delivery of outcomes;
  • Evidence of strong advocate for the area of responsibility via written and oral presentations;
  • Demonstrated ability to manage finances of a large team and plan work from both scientific and financial/human resources perspectives;
  • Ability to liaise with key donor agencies.