GSP-IWMI: Developing a Solar Suitability Framework for Irrigation Activities in Myanmar and Laos

GSP-IWMI: Developing a Solar Suitability Framework for Irrigation Activities in Myanmar and Laos


Solar photovoltaic technologies have been identified as high potential solutions for water abstraction in relation to multi-purpose use. In Myanmar and across the Greater Mekong subregion, there is a demand by both the governmental and private sectors on how to guide investments of solar powered irrigation systems (SPIS) to areas and for modalities that are suitable, economically viable and sustainable.

IWMI is a non-profit scientific research organization focusing on the sustainable use of water and land resources in developing countries. IWMI would like to engage two or potentially more students in a set of feasibility studies on SPIS potential in Myanmar and Lao PDR.

As it is impossible to travel overseas at this moment, students will conduct the research from Australia. However, they will be assisted by IWMI’s local staff in collecting data and organizing project activities.


In this project, students would undertake desktop research to evaluate available spatial data and solar irrigation needs in the country. They are expected to deliver the following outcomes:

No. Main Deliverable Description Estimated Timing
1 Project Plan Students discuss with IWMI and RMIT academic supervisors about ideas that would lead to detailed and implementable project plans. February 2021
2 Literature Review Current situation and practices in either of the two countries, particular to their specific topic of study. March – May 2021
3 Data Collection and Analysis – Topic 1 could focus on mapping the suitability of solar irrigation pumping systems for small-scale off-grid and for larger-scale on-grid applications. (2 students: 1 student/country)

– Topic 2 could carry out a rapid multicase-study analysis of the performance of existing SPSI schemes in place in Myanmar and potentially also in Laos. (2 students: 1 student/country)

Data collection will be assisted by local staff/students in Myanmar and Laos.

May – August 2021
4 Draft reports Drafting reports September 2021
5 Presentation Presentation on research findings October 2021
6 Final reports Final Research Theses* End October 2021

* ideally, the theses would provide scope for one or more peer-review publications


  • Students enroll in a relevant course and will be supervised and assessed by an academic at RMIT.
  • Students will work remotely to implement this project. IWMI staff will be remote co-supervisor during the project.
  • Students will have remote check-ins with RMIT and IWMI co-supervisors on a bi-weekly basis.
  • Data collection will be assisted by IWMI staff.



The project is fully funded by the New Colombo Plan, which will cover all project-related costs.

Only Australian undergraduate students are eligible for this project.


  • Students submit EOI together with their latest CVs and academic records to Dr. Nina Nguyen at
  • Students are selected subject to approval from IWMI.


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