Isotope Hydrologist

International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
Vienna, Austria
Position Type: 
Organization Type: 
International Organization
Experience Level: 
Mid-Level/Senior (8-9 Years)
Degree Required: 


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Organizational Setting

The Department of Nuclear Sciences and Applications implements the IAEA's Major Programme 2, "Nuclear Techniques for Development and Environmental Protection". This Major Programme comprises individual programmes on food and agriculture, human health, water resources, environment and radiation technologies. These programmes are supported by laboratories in Seibersdorf, Monaco and Vienna. The Major Programme's objective is to enhance the capacity of Member States to meet basic human needs and to assess and manage the marine and terrestrial environments through the use of nuclear and isotopic techniques in sustainable development programmes.

The Division of Physical and Chemical Sciences is responsible for assisting and advising Member States in research and development for the nuclear sciences, especially the physical and chemical sciences. Specifically, the Division provides support to Member States in the following fields: production of radioisotopes and radiolabelled products for applications in health care and industry; radiation source applications; research reactor utilization; applications of accelerators and nuclear instrumentation; nuclear and atomic data for applications; controlled nuclear fusion and isotope hydrology and geochemistry.

The Isotope Hydrology Section is responsible for planning and implementing the IAEA’s water resources programme. The programme assists Member States in the sustainable management of all aspects of their water resources, but with a particular focus on isotope hydrology. Major activities include internationally coordinated research, global isotope monitoring, capacity building, and technical assistance to Member States to help them with the assessment, development and use of water resources. The Section also operates a well-equipped laboratory for the analysis of stable and radioactive isotopes. The laboratory trains counterparts in using analytical techniques for high-quality measurements of isotopes in water samples.

Main Purpose

As a member of a team led by the Section Head, the Isotope Hydrologist contributes to a results-oriented programmatic response to Member States' priorities in the application of nuclear technologies to meet their development goals related to water resources.


The Isotope Hydrologist is a substantive expert, managing complex projects and a coordinator of project activities with other professionals in the Section, ensuring that tasks are implemented in the most efficient and effective manner in line with quality management standards and the results based approach.

Functions / Key Results Expected

  • Lead and conduct synthesis, evaluation, and geospatial analysis of isotope distributions in precipitation, surface water and groundwater to develop new or improved methods for understanding climate and hydrological systems.
  • Contribute to and lead the formulation and implementation of coordinated research projects (CRPs) and other IAEA initiatives to use isotope techniques for water resources assessment and management.
  • Contribute to and carry out a strategic and technical analysis of current issues in water resources management where isotope techniques can be integrated to provide effective solutions.
  • Identify and nurture programmatic partnerships with other UN agencies, particularly to develop co-funded projects.
  • Provide technical support and guidance for IAEA technical cooperation projects in the field of isotope hydrology.
  • Lead and coordinate training of Member State scientists in isotope hydrology, including the use of laser spectroscopy for isotope measurements in water, air and soil samples.
  • Plan, organize and participate in seminars, workshops, expert missions and training courses.

Competencies and Expertise

Core Competencies

  • Planning and Organizing. Plans and organizes his/her own work in support of achieving the team or Section’s priorities. Takes into account potential changes and proposes contingency plans.
  • Communication. Communicates orally and in writing in a clear, concise and impartial manner. Takes time to listen to and understand the perspectives of others and proposes solutions.
  • Achieving Results. Takes initiative in defining realistic outputs and clarifying roles, responsibilities and expected results in the context of the Department/Division’s programme. Evaluates his/her results realistically, drawing conclusions from lessons learned.
  • Teamwork. Actively contributes to achieving team results. Supports team decisions.

Functional Competencies

  • Analytical thinking. Analyses information to identify cause and effect relationships and correlations. Identifies critical elements and assesses consequences of different courses of action and proposes solutions.
  • Judgement/decision making. Consults with supervisor/manager and takes decisions in full compliance with the Agency’s regulations and rules. Makes decisions reflecting best practice and professional theories and standards.
  • Knowledge sharing and learning. Actively seeks learning opportunities and actively shares knowledge and information with others; shares specialized knowledge, skills and learning from experience across different situations and contexts effectively.

Required Expertise

  • Ground Water Hydrology. Solid knowledge and extensive experience in groundwater water characterization using isotopes and related applications for resource management.
  • Isotope Hydrology. Extensive experience and thorough knowledge of isotope techniques application for water resource management issues
  • Surface Water Hydrology. Solid knowledge and extensive experience in surface water characterization using isotopes and related applications for resource management.

Qualifications, Experience and Language skills

  • Doctorate Degree - Hydrogeology, geochemistry or related geosciences.
  • Minimum of seven years of practical experience in the application of isotope techniques for water resource management issues.
  • Substantial experience in conceiving, formulating and successfully implementing field or laboratory research projects, including proficiency in the use of geospatial and hydrological models.
  • Broad experience and knowledge of the principles of natural resource management, particularly water resource management. Experience in the use of geospatial and hydrological models highly desirable.
  • Excellent oral and written command of English. Knowledge of other official IAEA languages (Arabic, Chinese, English, French, Russian and Spanish) is an asset.


The IAEA offers an attractive remuneration package including a tax-free annual net base salary starting at US $71332 (subject to mandatory deductions for pension contributions and health insurance), a variable post adjustment which currently amounts to US $ 32456*, dependency benefits, rental subsidy, education grant, relocation and repatriation expenses; 6 weeks' annual vacation, home leave, pension plan and health insurance