We have a fantastic opportunity for a talented conservation scientist to work at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science to develop methods for quantifying sustainable management of the UK uplands, to inform and support RSPB policy and advocacy.

Conservation Scientist (Fixed-Term)
Reference: AUG20210845
Location: Flexible
Salary: £27,574.00 – £30,590.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension, Life Assurance, 26 days Annual Leave (pro-rata)
Duration: 12 months

What is the role about?

The UK’s uplands are amongst our most iconic landscapes and support important and cherished wildlife. They also provide other essential services including carbon sequestration and water supply.

Unfortunately, the uplands are subject in many places to intensive land use such as driven grouse shooting and inappropriate livestock grazing densities. Some of the management used to underpin these land uses threatens the provision of these essential services and may also impede efforts to protect and restore the uplands.

Addressing the nature and climate emergency requires rapid progress on achieving better management of the uplands, whether that be through the restoration of blanket bogs or a more sympathetic approach to upland farming.

However, while there is much ambition for change from many who live and work in the uplands, we need a better understanding of how we can measure progress towards sustainability.

This one year fixed-term role will develop metrics that quantify whether the uplands are being managed in ways that are compatible with sustainable delivery of ecosystem services, to enable reporting on annual or multi-year cycles.

We anticipate that this desk-based role will include work on four main areas, with the post holder:

  1. Developing methods for automated mapping of land management
  2. Assessing overlap between land management and ecosystem services such as soil carbon and nature protection.
  3. Translating work from (1) and (2) into quantifiable metrics that allow periodic reporting on sustainable upland management
  4. Publication of outputs in the peer reviewed literature

What we need from you

Essential skills, knowledge and experience:

  • The ideal candidate for this role will have a proven scientific background (e.g. a PhD in a relevant subject or equivalent experience designing and conducting one or more research projects to a robust scientific standard).
  • Extensive experience in remote sensing, including software such as ArcGIS and Google Earth Engine and familiarity working with satellite and other imagery.
  • A track record of scientific writing and peer-reviewed publication.
  • Experience of collecting, collating, manipulating and analysing large and complex data sets, including knowledge of how to apply complex analytical procedures such as analysis of spatially-referenced data.
  • Familiar with Microsoft Office applications and proficient in the use of R or similar statistical software for complex statistical analysis, and ability to learn new techniques and programmes.
  • Experience of summarising and communicating complex scientific information both to colleagues/peers and external audiences.
  • Self-motivated and able to work efficiently to plan and organise their work within a defined work plan to meet deadlines.

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • The candidate will have working knowledge of the UK uplands, their ecology and the ecosystem services they provide, the main upland management practices and their potential to impact on ecosystem services.
  • Working knowledge of UK and European statutory site conservation designations and the UK protected areas network (SSSIs, nature reserves, SPAs, SACs, etc).
  • Experience of seeking and maintaining professional contacts both within and outside their organisation, and of working collaboratively with colleagues and individuals from a range of different external organisations and stakeholders.

This is a Contract, Full Time role for 12 months.

Closing date: 23:59, 03 October 2021
We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from October 2021.


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

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

No agencies please.