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Senior Conservation Scientist for the Greater Gola Landscape (Flexible Lovation)

Reference MAY20219597  (Please mention Stopdodo/Environment Jobs in your application)
Sectors Nature Conservation, Ecology, GIS
Salary Additional Information Salary: £32,400.00 - £35,944.00 Per Annum Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance, 26 days Annual Leave
Salary (Minimum)
Salary (Maximum)
Type Fixed Term and Permanent Roles
Status Full Time
Level Senior Level
Deadline 06/07/2021
Company Name RSPB
Contact Name
RSPB logo
Directory Entry : Wildlife and Conservation Jobs with the RSPB. Our work is driven by a passionate belief that we all have a responsibility to protect birds and the environment.
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The RSPB Centre for Conservation Science provides high-quality ecological evidence to ensure the effectiveness of landscape-scale conservation in the Greater Gola Landscape in Sierra Leone and Liberia, a 350,000 ha global biodiversity hotspot comprising several tropical forest protected areas separated by community lands consisting of agroforestry (primarily cocoa), remnant forest and farmland. The collaborative Greater Gola Landscape conservation programme is designed to maximise the extent of forest, biodiversity and carbon retained whilst empowering forest-edge communities to develop diverse and sustainable livelihoods. We currently seek a Senior Conservation Scientist with expertise in tropical ecology to lead the ecological research required to support this conservation work, joining our dynamic and enthusiastic International Research team.

What’s the role about?

You will collaborate with your RSPB scientific and conservation management colleagues and local NGO partners to identify the highest priority evidence needs to inform the GGL conservation programme and to develop, seek internal and external funding for, and either manage or carry out multiple research projects to meet the evidence needs of conservation within that landscape.

The research programme is broad and diverse, but will include:

  • supporting and updating REDD+ biodiversity monitoring by working with collaborators to trial novel techniques such as eDNA and acoustic monitoring
  • developing a biodiversity monitoring plan for the GGL
  • advising conservation managers in a review of the protected area and transboundary management plans
  • analysing species-habitat relationships and carbon-biodiversity co-occurrence across the landscape
  • forecasting potential drivers of deforestation
  • analysing spatial patterns of bushmeat hunting
  • assessing and forecasting the impact of changes in land use patterns, particularly expansion of cocoa, on key biodiversity groups

You will work in interdisciplinary teams, e.g assessing the co-benefits of conservation interventions for biodiversity, carbon and human livelihoods, and with a wide range of partners from both the UK and West Africa, and from NGOs (including BirdLife International and national partners) and academia.

You also will line manage one or more Conservation Scientists and potentially other posts, and provide scientific advice, input and training to local partners and to the Technical Advisor for Research and Monitoring at Gola Rainforest Conservation LG. You will work closely with other internal science colleagues including social and carbon science colleagues, to develop relevant interdisciplinary research, and with local research and monitoring teams to develop and implement research projects. You will also be expected to manage and develop collaborations with relevant academic partners.

This is an exciting and challenging post with the opportunity for the successful candidate to use their ecological expertise and their enthusiasm for working across disciplines to increase the effectiveness of conservation interventions in one of the world’s most biodiverse and carbon-rich sites.

This role is UK based, but will require occasional travel to West Africa to visit partners and field sites, including trips to remote areas in the field with basic living conditions. Location within the UK is flexible, but with occasional travel to RSPB offices in Cambridge or Sandy.

Essential skills, knowledge and experience: 

  • A PhD or equivalent experience in ecology or a related subject with a substantial analytical component.
  • Post-doctoral experience of working as a scientist, eg leading one or more research projects; managing and training staff, volunteers and students; communicating with various audiences by writing reports, publishing peer reviewed papers. This should include a demonstrable track record of managing multiple scientific projects from study design to completion in a timely manner.
  • Demonstrable track record of scientific publication in internationally recognised journals.
  • Able to think broadly and innovatively about how to go about collecting or collating data to answer a particular conservation question, including identifying potential data sources, internal and external collaborators and both field and analytical techniques relevant to the question.
  • Broad knowledge of current terrestrial tropical conservation issues and practice and conservation science, gained though experience of taking lead responsibility for the management of a range of scientific projects in the tropics.
  • Able to plan and organise your own work and that of line reports, including under pressure.
  • A demonstrable methodical and rigorous approach to study design, data collection, data management and analysis of large and complex datasets, ensuring data and results pass international peer-reviewed standards of scrutiny and audit.
  • Expert in the use of data analysis software, eg R, in order to analyse large and complex datasets that vary over space and time.
  • Culturally adept, tactful and able to communicate effectively with a broad range of scientific and lay stakeholders with a very wide range of expertise.

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Experience working in Africa, particularly West Africa, in the field with local partner organisations in remote and basic field conditions.
  • Successful track record of acquiring funding for scientific research.
  • Understanding of the principles and monitoring underpinning REDD (Reducing Emissions from Deforestation and forest Degradation) schemes.

This is a full-time permanent position, but we also welcome applications seeking a part-time position. We are looking to conduct interview for this position from 6th July 2021. 



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