Conservation Scientist
Reference: MAY20227546
Location: Flexible in UK
Salary: £33,600 – £34,860 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance, 26 days Annual Leave
Duration: Fixed Term for 20 months
Hours: Full time for 37.5 hours per week

The RSPB Centre for Conservation Science is looking for a talented social scientist to join our People Conservation Science section. You will be providing social science research and evidence to inform a new behaviour change intervention investigating the impact of signs and visual cues on dog walker behaviour in inland coastal reserves to reduce disturbance on beach nesting birds.

The project will design, test and evaluate a behavioural intervention on sign development and visual cues on the behaviours of dog walkers, develop an organisational network of interested stakeholders on recreational disturbance, and establish guidance for developing behavioural interventions to mitigate recreational disturbance for reserve staff and other end users.

What’s the role about?

This is a new, exciting, 20-month fixed-term post, reporting directly to our Senior Conservation Scientist, Dr Natasha Constant. Using mixed methods (surveys, focus groups, observations) the post holder will design, test and evaluate a behaviour change intervention strategy on the use of signs and visual cues to influence dog walker behaviour across U.K inland coastal reserves. The location of the postholder will be flexible within the UK, however the successful candidate will be expected to travel regularly to Norfolk for fieldwork.

The research will thereby provide evidence about what works in terms of developing behavioural interventions to mitigate recreational disturbance among recreational user groups. The researcher will be working with RSPB colleagues including the RSPB reserves teams, and other external NGOs and public bodies.

Essential skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Proven scientific background (e.g., a PhD or equivalent experience managing a project) in a relevant subject (e.g., psychology, sociology, semiotics) or topic (e.g., interpretation, experience design, behaviour change, conservation marketing)
  • Knowledge of the appropriate data collection methods (e.g., observational studies, and face-to-face interview techniques such as key informant interviews or focus group discussions) and the ability to develop new ethically sound methods as and when necessary to answer novel questions
  • A methodical and rigorous approach to experimental design, data collection, data management and analysis ensuring data and results pass international peer-reviewed standards of scrutiny and audit
  • Able to effectively manage projects and staff (e.g., a small team of volunteers or field staff)
  • Self-motivated and able to work efficiently under pressure within a defined work plan to meet deadlines. This necessitates the ability to plan and organise own work and to manage the work of managed staff (e.g., coordinating a small team of volunteers or field staff)
  • Able to work in collaboration with external organisations and individuals

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Strong interpersonal skills and the empathy and adaptability to quickly understand different points of view and agree cooperative, mutually beneficial solutions.
  • Ability to train and coach others in data collection techniques
  • Ability to influence others through production of written material: for example, peer–reviewed papers in scientific journals, reports to funders, but also written material for any media change.
  • Ability to give talks and lectures on science to any audience, whether at an international academic conference or a local RSPB members groups
  • Capable of being a public face for RSPB science to the media and social media. Able to speak about science to varied audiences including industry stakeholders, academics, policy makers, the general public, and RSPB members’ groups.

The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

Closing Date: 23:59, Sun, 26th Jun 2022
We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from the week commencing the 4th July 2022, and we are very willing to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate specific needs.


If you would like to find out more, please click the apply button. You will be directed to our website to complete your application for this position.

This role will require standard pre-employment checks. The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

No agencies please.