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Earth Observation Specialist

Reference   (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Terrestrial / Aquatic Ecology & Conservation
Location Scotland (East) - UK, England (East Anglia) - UK
Salary Additional Information £28,958
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Mid Level
Deadline 16/04/2023
Company Name JNCC
Contact Name
Website Further Details / Applications
JNCC logo
Also Listing:

Post Title: Earth Observation Specialist

Team: Ecosystem Analysis

Ref No: 202331

Grade: H (HEO)

Type of appointment: 2 years Fixed-term

Location: Peterborough or Aberdeen

Salary: £28,958                                         

This post will have a base in either Peterborough or Aberdeen.

JNCC has adopted a hybrid working approach, allowing colleagues to benefit from time in the office, with the flexibility also to work from home. Employees are expected to work from our office base for 1 – 2 days a month as a minimum, this will vary by team and the exact balance will depend on the nature of your role. We can provide more details at the interview and offer stages.

Who are JNCC?

Established in 1991, we’re the UK’s statutory advisor on issues affecting the natural environment across the UK and internationally. Our primary role is advising all four Governments of the UK. We also work with private sector organisations to support decision making on the sustainable use of marine waters and natural resources around the UK. JNCC is led by the Joint Committee, which brings together members from the nature conservation bodies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and independent members appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under an independent Chair. Support is provided to the Committee by approx. 270 people who bring together scientific and technical expertise, extensive knowledge of policy at global, European and national levels, and skills in working with other organisations. Staff are based in two main offices in Peterborough and Aberdeen.


We’re small enough (c.270 staff) that your voice is heard by everyone including the CEO, but big enough that we have all the skills, resources and people you’ll need to get the job done. All our staff are passionate about conservation and making a difference to the world we live in. We have a very flexible, inclusive and welcoming organisational culture. Our Executive Management provides employees with the freedom and tools you will need, and our friendly team will assist you in your role. 

JNCC is committed to maintaining employee health and wellbeing, whether it is physically, emotionally, financially or socially, and offers a range of benefits to support employees in this. Such benefits include the option to join the Civil Service Pension Scheme, professional and personal development opportunities as well as an exciting job in a unique environment. 

Hours of work:                     Full-time

Normal minimum hours of attendance for the post are 36 hours per week over a 5-day period, Monday to Friday.

Flexi time is available. This post may also be suitable for job share.

Annual Leave:

The annual leave allowance is 25 days per year, rising to 30 days per year after 5 years service.  There are also 12 days public and privilege leave.  Part-time staff will receive this on a pro rata basis.The annual leave allowance is 25 days per year, rising to 30 days per year after 5 years’ service. There are also 12 days public and privilege leave. Part-time staff will receive this on a pro rata basis.                  

Short Summary: Post background

The Ecosystems Analysis Team helps JNCC’s stakeholders meet the challenges of managing our environment and the benefits it provides. Recent projects have included modelling and mapping ecosystem services in the UK and overseas (e.g. understanding the role of natural capital in providing resilience against disasters in the British Virgin Islands); creating ‘apps’ to help land managers consider the trade-offs for nature based solutions, developing an indicator to show the global environmental impact of UK consumption; working with partners to improve diversity and inclusion in citizen science monitoring, using machine learning and deep learning to identify potential areas of peat restoration from Earth observation (EO) imagery; and building an ‘app’ to aid remote habitat change detection for restoration, biodiversity net gain and other applications. 

An Earth Observation Specialist is needed to help JNCC deploy habitat and feature mapping methods, develop products to detect change in habitat condition or management, and provide biophysical parameters for environmental modelling. The post would contribute to projects across the work of the team, and to projects led by other teams in JNCC, bringing technical evidence skills and insight into integrating evidence on land use and land use change in the UK and overseas, mainstreaming biodiversity into Official Development Assistance, and contributing innovative solutions to country monitoring programmes

JNCC’s interdisciplinary Ecosystems Analysis Team brings together three elements:

  • A set of long-term partnerships with organisations undertaking species surveys in terrestrial, coastal and freshwater ecosystems using networks of volunteers.
  • An analysis and modelling capability producing rapidly deployable models. These include a range of models focussed on predicting outcomes from changing land uses and environmental pressures.
  • An Earth observation data processing and analytical capability with expertise in using EO to provide high-quality evidence on biodiversity and ecosystems to inform environmental decision making.

The post will focus on EO analyses but will also work collaboratively with other analytical, data science and data infrastructure skills across the Ecosystems Analysis and Digital and Data Solutions Teams.  The current team focus is on analysing EO data for mapping habitat extent, detecting habitat condition, management activities and change in both, and linking these to changes in ecosystem services, but stakeholder needs are diversifying.

The post will help build the team’s skills across scales and sensor types within EO but will have a focus on developing practical applications from optical data in the natural environment. Recent examples of EO applications developed by the team and our partners include habitat mapping and condition monitoring, illegal waste detection, upland fire risk and burn mapping, and monitoring intertidal habitats for wetland bird conservation.  Whilst much of the work of the team is terrestrial, some work on marine environments is likely.

Job Description: Post Duties

The post will be managed by a Senior Natural Capital Evidence Specialist and work with other EO specialists, as well as modellers, analysts and surveillance experts. The main duties of the post are to:

  • Carry out a variety of analyses where EO is needed as a significant input, working with JNCC colleagues with other technical or stakeholder-facing skills where appropriate.
    • Analysis will include developing new methods and adapting existing ones to analyse EO and other spatial data.
    • Extracting methods from EO research that can be deployed practically to help ensure EO data from a range of sensors can make a greater contribution to environmental applications
  • Provide expert advice on types of analyses and appropriate use of EO data to aid delivery of programmes led by key stakeholders and other teams within JNCC, notably the International teams, Marine teams and Digital and Data Solutions.
  • Contribute to the development and running of data management systems that will enable JNCC to provide EO based outputs over large geographic scales within the UK and elsewhere.
  • Maintain a current overview of relevant EO methods and research.
  • Summarise and communicate work underway via the JNCC website and other media channels.
  • Collate and analyse information from stakeholders to help identify their evidence needs and where EO approaches can provide effective solutions.
  • Manage work packages for the team or other teams in JNCC, focussing on projects that will require some EO analytical components, ensuring that staff resources are used effectively and that we work efficiently alongside external contractors.
  • Manage data effectively to JNCC standards and ensure effective quality control and quality assurance is carried out for analytical methods and products.
  • The post-holder may be required to attend meetings and other fora at various localities in the UK and potentially internationally, involving overnight stays away from home.


To be a successful candidate you will be/have:

  • A degree or equivalent experience in an appropriate subject from which you can demonstrate both aptitude and practical experience of applying earth observation data to meet environmentally related evidence requirements.

Experience (Responsibilities)

To be a successful candidate you will have:

  • Ability to understand, and apply, Earth observation data from new and different sensors whether satellite, aerial or drone and understand the physics behind it.
  • Ability to manipulate and analyse spatial data including experience of using scripting, particularly for automating processes.
  • Good understanding of the relationship between biodiversity, ecosystems, sustainable development, and benefits to society.
  • Making Effective Decisions
  • Managing a Quality Service
  • Seeing the Big Picture
  • Communicating and Influencing


In the event that we receive a large volume of applications we reserve the right to conduct the sift based on the Lead Behaviour of Making Effective Decisions

Please see the CS Behaviours framework for more details at this grade:


Nationality requirements 

This job is broadly open to the following groups: 

  • UK nationals 
  • nationals of Commonwealth countries who have the right to work in the UK 
  • nationals of the Republic of Ireland 
  • nationals from the EU, EEA or Switzerland with settled or pre-settled status or who apply for either status by the deadline of the?European Union Settlement Scheme (EUSS) 
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals working in the Civil Service 
  • relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals who have built up the right to work in the Civil Service 
  • certain family members of the relevant EU, EEA, Swiss or Turkish nationals 

Closing date and interview date

The closing date for this post is 23:55 on Sunday, 16 April 2023

The anticipated interview date is week commencing Monday, 24 April 2023

Apply Here


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