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Gola Conservation Scientist

Reference number: A0220720

Location: Bedfordshire

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 global biodiversity hotspot comprising several tropical forest protected areas separated by community lands. We currently seek a Conservation Scientist to join our dynamic and enthusiastic research team to help us understand how to maximise the extent of forest and biodiversity retained whilst ensuring that local communities are simultaneously able to develop more diverse and sustainable livelihoods.

The successful applicant's role will be to support a new, European Commission funded project collaborating with partner organisations in Sierra Leone and Liberia, and with local communities, to protect high conservation value forest. They will use remotely sensed and groundtruthed data to refine land cover maps following methods already developed. These will be integrated with existing data in order to model species distribution and potential drivers of land use change to identify areas to be prioritised for protection. This process will inform the development of landscape-scale land use plans.

The post holder will, with RSPB colleagues, help advise partner organisations on the experimental design, data collection and analysis of landscape-wide monitoring data to effectively assess the impact of land use changes and interventions to protect forest. They will also advise our data management team on the design of a spatially explicit database of biodiversity and land use data for the Greater Gola Landscape to ensure that its value can be maximised for future research and conservation.

In addition, they will have the opportunity to develop collaborations with academic partners to develop new work to improve our monitoring of the distribution, trends and drivers of change in a range of taxa, by testing novel monitoring techniques, eg eDNA.

The successful candidate will have a PhD or equivalent experience in ecology or a related subject, preferably with a substantial analytical component. They will be familiar with conservation issues and drivers of land use change in tropical forest and agriculture landscapes. They will have experience in classifiying high resolution satellite data for land cover mapping and in spatial analysis using ArcGIS or R, and be confident in using a variety of statistical techniques and in managing, integrating and analysing large, multi-source datasets. They will have a track record of driving scientific projects from study design to completion, publishing the results efficiently in peer-reviewed journals and communicating results to diverse audiences. Experience of data collected using the SMART platform would be advantageous.

The post is primarily based in the UK. However, the post holder will need to be both culturally adept and willing to travel to remote areas of Sierra Leone and Liberia and work under basic conditions for short periods of time.

Salary starting at

£26,212 to £29,321 per annum

Hours & contract information

Hours: Full time
Contract: Fixed Term for 12 months

Closing date: 17 August 2020
Interview date: 3 September 2020, 4 September 2020

How to apply

Our role profile describes the key result areas and skills and experience needed for the role. Please make sure you include reference number A0220720 on your application.

Role Profile (Word 128Kb, requires Microsoft Word)

Application details (Word 33Kb, requires Microsoft Word)

This role is exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act. You will be asked to declare both spent and unspent convictions and cautions at offer of employment stage.

Who to contact

For questions about this post
Fiona Sanderson

Send application details to