Practice Lead (Research) - Water Witness International

Practice Lead (Research) - Water Witness International 

Location: Edinburgh based with international travel     Paid/Voluntary:    Full Time: £41,890 - £46,400

Salary: £41,890 - £46,400

About the Organisation:

Water Witness leads action, research and advocacy for a fair water future where all people can access the water needed to thrive, and are protected against floods, drought, pollution, ecosystem degradation and water conflict.

About the Role:

The practice lead in water stewardship will co-ordinate, deliver and lead Water Witness’s practice and programmes focused on ‘redefining corporate responsibility’ for water. The role will require high levels of competence in the design and delivery of interdisciplinary research, and thoughtful steering of research by a dispersed group of collaborating partners.

Specific responsibilities include:

  • Research programme management

  • Primary focus will be on delivery of the Accountability for Water Action Research Programme which targets improved

  • water resource governance & WASH services by addressing the priority questions facing those working for water sector
  • accountability, & by sharing knowledge generated widely in accessible ways to advance water security. Initial focus will be
  • on supporting Professional Research Fellows in Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Zambia, & at a Pan-African scale to undertake
  • inquiry into accountability initiatives (accountability monitoring, budget tracking & analysis, evidence-based advocacy) &
  • mechanisms (statutory grievance systems, public interest litigation, etc.) & their influence on water security for vulnerable
  • communities. There will also be opportunities to design & deliver cross-country research. Success will be contingent on
  • effective management of the research partnership & on ensuring stakeholder needs are met through their ongoing
  • engagement. The Practice Lead will ensure findings are translated into concrete action to improve water security.
  • Working with the Water Witness team and our co-lead, the Partnership for African Social and Governance Research

(PASGR), the postholder will ensure that:

  • Publications & outputs are high quality, accessible and valued by our target audiences 

  • Relevant stakeholders are engaged at all scales and that their needs are reflected in the research;

  • The needs of vulnerable people within communities are clearly heard and acted upon;
  • An efficient process for recruitment, training and provision of technical assistance to Professional Research Fellows is in place, including via national & regional events;
  •  Robust and ethical methods are used, effective documentation takes place & insightful lessons are packaged & targeted to maximise their uptake;
  • Opportunities are seized to undertake cross-country research, and to scale and add-value;
  • The work is communicated effectively, and risks managed pro-actively and efficiently. In order to deliver these duties, the post holder will:
  • Plan, deliver and report against programme budgets, activities, outputs and outcomes
  •  Manage, mentor and support UK and overseas staff, partners and Advisory Group members, providing direct line management to 1-2 FTEs.
  •  Assign & track tasks & resources through regular communication, meetings & visits to ensure impact within budget and timescales. • Commission and manage of external contracts and partnership agreements as required. • Author reports and publications,
  •  Ensure quality assurance, statutory compliance and alignment with internal policies.

 Strategic leadership, advocacy and influence

The post holder will take responsibility for aspects of our strategy with a strong research component relating to ‘accountable governance’, ‘re-defining corporate responsibility’ and ‘triggering political, social and economic change for water security’. Priorities will be determined via joint planning with the senior management team, and may include:

  • Advocacy based on the results of our research to stimulate reform and system strengthening for accountable water management, and to protect the freedoms, safety and civil rights of those working on accountability for water.

  • Tracking the performance of aid mechanisms and financial institutions in order to hold them to account and to advocate for positive change.
  • Test and demonstrate the contribution of accountability practice as strategy for climate resilience and adaptation. • Undertaking research on the ‘triggers’ for social, economic and political change for water security and the efficacy of communications and advocacy initiatives.
  • Design and delivery of research on tax justice and water; water ‘capture’ and public-good water allocation.
  • Communications to elevate water issues within global media & debate.

Partnership, fundraising and systems optimisation

As research practice lead, the postholder will:

  • Proactively input to & track global and national research and debates;

  • Evolve Water Witness’s research interests and portfolio, and our fundraising strategies for its delivery;

  • Identify and develop constructive partnerships to achieve the organisation’s strategic objectives; - Identify, develop and deliver fundraising activities and funding proposals;
  • Support team members with research advice and design where appropriate;
  • Represent the organisation at a senior level at local, regional and global levels to secure strategic research partnerships, funding and to advance our organisational objectives;
  • Ensure that the organisation’s systems, assets and capabilities are effectively used and appropriate for delivery of our strategic objectives, with a particular focus on research, knowledge management and evidence-into-use.
  • Comply with Water Witness’s internal policies

How to Apply 

More information, including the person specification, can be found on the Water Witness website. All correspondence should be sent to with ‘Practice Lead - Research’ in the subject line. Please provide a CV and cover letter in ONE single document. The cover letter should be no more than two pages long, must explain why you want to work in this position, and should clearly set out how your skills and experience make you a good fit.



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