Senior Researcher / Researcher – Social Science

  • Full Time
  • Kathmandu
  • Applications have closed

Website International Water Management Institute (IWMI)


Senior Researcher / Researcher – Social Science

The International Water Management Institute (IWMI), a CGIAR Research Center is seeking a highly motivated Senior Researcher / Researcher – Social Science* to join its office in Kathmandu, Nepal.

This is an internationally recruited position; therefore, individuals with relevant abilities from diverse locations around the world are encouraged to apply.

The incumbent will lead and manage cutting-edge social science research on water, land, energy, and natural resources, as well as agrarian livelihoods in the Himalayan region, including Nepal, and South and Southeast Asia. The researcher is expected to apply a gender equality and social inclusion lens across IWMI Nepal’s research-for-development (R4D) portfolios to deliver science, innovation, and local capacity development that advance the transformation of food, land, and water systems in the face of a climate crisis. The person will provide scientific leadership and guidance, contribute to fundraising efforts, manage personnel, oversee research activities, ensure quality control, support partnership development, and lead social science research portfolios in Nepal. Additionally, the incumbent will disseminate research results to target audiences and collaborate with multidisciplinary researchers and partners of IWMI and One CGIAR at various scales.


  • Lead high-quality and innovative applied social science research and proposal development in key areas such as climate-resilient water management, irrigation development, and Water-Energy-Food-Ecosystem nexus solutions with the aim of improving equality, livelihoods, and natural resources.
  • Spearhead research on policies and institutional solutions, equity and intersectional dynamics of decision-making in planning, adoption and scaling innovations related to water, land, and food systems transformation.
  • Contribute to a growing portfolio addressing gender and social dynamics of migration, climate change and water access, landscape management and rural livelihoods, and natural resource governance to achieve national and regional development priorities.
  • Provide social science expertise in designing, testing, and evaluating contextually relevant innovative R4D solutions, particularly in climate change resilience, water management, and energizing water and food systems, integrating intersectionality lens, and other key areas.
  • Initiate, develop, and strengthen collaborations with research partners, governments, development partners, private sector, civil society organizations (CSOs), networks, and other CGIAR centers to advance a water solution-oriented R4D mission in Nepal, South Asia, and Southeast Asia.
  • Support fundraising and partnership efforts in South and Southeast Asia to ensure sustained support for research initiatives.
  • Facilitate evidence-informed local capacity building by engaging policy makers, water professionals, development professionals, CSOs, private sector actors, researchers, early career researchers, and farmers in research implementation and uptake.
  • Ensure project-specific deliverables and deadlines are met, manage project budgets, and collaborate closely with stakeholders including the Country Representative – Nepal, Strategic Program Directors, Research Group Leaders, Initiative and Project Leads, and internal and external research teams and partners for timely delivery of outputs.
  • Manage social science research projects and mentor early career researchers both within IWMI and partner organizations to enhance research capacity and impact.
  • Conduct technical trainings, workshops, and learning forums to transfer social science knowledge and build the capacity of policy makers and other stakeholders, including local water users and, organizations of rights-holders, including women.
  • Support the Nepal office in implementing country-specific strategic roadmaps aligned with the priorities and plans of the Government of Nepal, IWMI, and One CGIAR.
  • Represent IWMI in relevant strategic meetings with partners and stakeholders to foster collaboration and knowledge exchange.



  • At Senior Researcher level:
  • PhD in a social science discipline, including sociology, human geography, anthropology, gender studies, development studies, with experience in water and/or natural resources sector coupled with minimum of 10 years of relevant post-doctoral experience.
  • At Researcher level:
  • PhD in the aforementioned fields coupled with a minimum of 05 years of relevant post-doctoral experience OR;
  • Master’s degree in the aforementioned fields coupled with a minimum of 10 years of relevant experience.
  • Proven experience in social science research on water, land and natural resources management in a developing country context.
  • Demonstrated proficiency and innovation in integrating gender and social inclusion considerations into water and natural resources management and development.
  • Proven track record in project development and management, including successful experience in fundraising and partnership development, as well as managing people within the context of developing countries.
  • Excellent track record of relevant scientific publications and demonstrated experience in applied research, policy development, and capacity building in the fields of climate change, water management, livelihoods, gender and social inclusive development, and natural resource governance, preferably with a focus on Nepal, South Asia, or Southeast Asia.
  • Extensive experience in leading, managing, and/or contributing technically to complex donor-funded research projects, particularly in South Asia, specifically the Himalayan region, as well as in other regions.
  • Proficiency in leading the preparation of concept notes and proposals related to water security, agrarian livelihoods, socio-political transformation, and natural resources management, utilizing social science approaches and methods.
  • Experience in working with and leading interdisciplinary and multicultural research teams.
  • Experience working and living in Asia and a solid understanding of cultural sensitivity in the region.



  • Knowledge of social and institutional development issues concerning irrigation system development and management, water-energy-food-ecosystem nexus, conservation agriculture, and rural development in Nepal and/or other South Asian countries.
  • Familiarity with institutional arrangements for river basin management and integrated water resources management in developing countries, particularly in watershed, sub-basin, or basin contexts.
  • Ability to establish and maintain partnerships and working relationships with governments, development agencies, civil society organizations, the private sector, and research and like-minded institutions.
  • Proficiency in using qualitative and quantitative research methods an tools.
  • Knowledge of gender equality and social inclusion issues in Nepal and Asia, particularly in the water and natural resource management sectors, with the ability to conceptualize and implement research for development interventions innovatively.
  • Excellent oral and written language skills in English, including effective listening and strong verbal and written communication abilities.


  • Familiarity with CGIAR and its research centres across various regions.
  • Comprehensive understanding of transboundary water cooperation and inter- and intra-governmental relationships in water resource management, particularly in the federal context of South Asian countries.
  • Knowledge of research approaches and tools for scaling innovations in water and land management, as well as solar irrigation, considering climate and other influencing factors.
  • Demonstrated ability to engage with diverse stakeholders at multiple levels and collaborate effectively with key development partners to enhance IWMI’s research efforts and bolster its reputation for high-quality research for development in Nepal and the broader South Asia region.


This is an internationally recruited position with a competitive salary, an attractive retirement plan, comprehensive international health insurance, life insurance accidental death and dismemberment (AD&D) insurance, and long-term disability coverage. Internationally recruited staff who are employed at a duty station outside of their home base/country of nationality will also receive relocation assistance, a housing allowance, home-leave plane tickets for self and eligible dependents and education assistance for eligible dependents. The duration of the contract will initially be for a period of three years.

*Please note that should a qualified candidate at the Senior Researcher level not be identified, or if a suitable candidate at the Researcher level is found during the selection process, the position will be adjusted accordingly.

HOW TO APPLY: Apply for the position by following the application instructions at We will be accepting applications through 24:00 (IST) on May 16, 2024 (applications will be reviewed on a rolling basis). Your application must include a CV, cover letter, and three (3) references, which may be contacted if you are shortlisted. Receipt of all applications will be acknowledged, but only short-listed candidates will be contacted.

IWMI believes that diversity powers our innovation, contributes to our excellence, and is critical for our mission. We offer a multi-cultural, multi-color, multi-generational and multi-disciplinary working environment. We are consciously creating an inclusive organization that reflects our global character and our commitment to gender equity. We, therefore, encourage applicants from all cultures, races, ethnicities, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientations, and gender identities.

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