Science Director
CGIAR – Challenge Program on Water and Food
Location: Colombo, Sri Lanka
Last Date: July 18, 2008


The CGIAR – Challenge Program on Water and Food (CPWF) is an international initiative focusing on the provision of water, food and environmental security. A vital step towards reaching this goal is to increase the productivity of water used for agriculture, leaving more water for other uses and the environment. The CPWF is creating research-based knowledge and methods for growing more food with less water ( The success of this initiative depends in large measure on the capacity of scientists in the target river basins to carry out the research needed to achieve these ambitions. To build this capacity, the CPWF is developing a strategy in broad collaboration with its partners and seeks offers to take this strategy forward.

The CPWF wishes to appoint a Science Director to provide leadership in the design and implementation of all scientific research conducted by the CPWF. This includes identifying directions in which the scientific research agenda must advance, given evolution in and progress along impact pathways and related planning and management tools. This position reports directly to the CPWF Program Director. The successful candidate will be based at the CPWF Secretariat, located at the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka.

General responsibilities:

• Research integrations across topics, basins and scales.
• Leading within-basin and cross-basin synthesis of research findings.
• Adherence of CPWF research activities to agreed priorities and identify and recommend to the Challenge Program Management Team adjustments in research directions and priorities needed to facilitate and accelerate impact in accord with Basin Strategic Plans and the Medium Term Plan.
• Completion and adjustment of work plans in projects at the basin scale (via Basin Science Leaders and the Basin Strategic Plans)
• Maintaining a high level of quality in CPWF research.
• With the Impact Director:
o Participate in the process of contracting CPWF projects.
o Identify adjustments in research directions and priorities needed to facilitate and accelerate impact in accord with Basin Strategic Plans and the Medium Term Plan.
o Identify new areas of expertise needed to implement the evolving research agenda.
o Provide leadership in the suitable integration of gender, institutions, and participation issues and approaches, and capacity building into project planning and implementation through Basin Strategic Plans.
o Oversee the development of the Medium Term Plan
• Serve as a member of the Challenge Program Management Team.
• Supervise Topic Leaders and Basin Science Leaders.
• Oversee, through Topic Leaders, the Topic Working Groups, and participate in Impact Working Group meetings.
Reporting: this position reports to the Program Director

• Reports regularly to the Director on the status of scientific research.
• Represents the Director and the CPWF through participation in international meetings and fora.
• Prepares reports on behalf of the Program Director for submission to the CPWF Board or other entities, regarding the status of scientific research.
• Responds to questions and/or concerns raised by the Board or other entities with regard to the focus and quality of science.
• With the Director, liaise with the CGIAR Science Council and Science Directors in Centers and CPs, and other partners, regarding research priorities, design and implementation, especially as these relate to the Medium Term Plan.

Selection Criteria: Qualifications and experience

• Advanced degree in a field related to agricultural science or water science.
• Demonstrated capacity to perform outstanding original research particularly in cross-disciplinary and cross-scale research in developing countries.
• Demonstrated understanding and ability to obtain impact through research.
• Substantial experience (10- 15 years) in research management in complex, multi location, international research program.
• Ability to motivate a large team of people who have diverse cultures, backgrounds and expertise, across the globe
• Outstanding communication skills, verbal and written, in English.
• Fluency in a second language relevant to CPWF is highly desirable.
• Willing to engage in extensive foreign travel (30-40% time).
• Previous residence in developing countries is desirable; professional experience in several developing countries is essential.
Salary and benefits:

This is an internationally recruited staff position and the salary and benefits are competitive with those of similar international institutions and include a housing allowance, transport, education, annual home leave, retirement and health package. CPWF staff appointments are made through the International Water Management Institute (IWMI) whose human resource policies apply to these positions.

Application Process:

Please forward an application, describing how your experience meets the qualifications, skills and abilities listed in this position description. Include a CV, list of publications, and the names and addresses of three referees to the Human Resources Office, IWMI, P.O. Box 2075, Colombo, Sri Lanka. Fax: (94-11) 2786854; Email: by COB 18 July 2008. This position will remain open until a successful candidate is appointed. All applicants will be acknowledged, however, only short listed candidates will be contacted. All correspondence will be held in confidence.

The application must address each of the Selection Criteria identified above, indicating how your qualifications and experience are suited to the general responsibilities of the position.

You may be requested to undergo a Belbin Team Role analysis as part of the selection process.

Deadline: 18 July 2008 or until the position is filled.

For information about CPWF visit and about IWMI visit


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