RSPB • Haweswater

Conservation Scientist - Cumbria Connect

Employment type:  Contract
Salary:  £36,577 – £39,267 per annum

4 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly

Job Description

Does the opportunity of working in a stunning part of the Lake District on an inspiring landscape-scale restoration project while delivering a programme of ambitious research and monitoring appeal to you? If so, read on……

Cumbria Connect is a partnership initiative between RSPB, United Utilities, Lowther Estate, Natural England and the Orton Fells Farm Cluster, funded by the Endangered Landscapes Programme (ELP). It aims to restore natural habitats, biodiversity, and ecosystem function across a 33,000ha project area in Cumbria. Underpinning ELP-funded projects is a strong commitment to understanding responses of biodiversity and ecosystem services to restoration interventions. Thus, we are seeking a talented individual to be our Cumbria Connect Conservation Scientist to i) lead the delivery of our suite of biodiversity and ecosystem service monitoring indicators, documenting impacts of restoration; and ii) to co-ordinate an ongoing experimental restoration trial investigating effects of different upland management techniques.

Our vision is that the platform provided by the ELP project and the associated science facilities being developed at RSPB Haweswater will evolve into a hub for collaborative research to inform nature restoration of upland landscapes. The project already has close links with several academic institutions, and the Conservation Scientist would contribute to the development of ongoing and new collaborations.

The post holder will work across multiple teams. You will be part of the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science but embedded within the Cumbria Connect team, and with strong links to RSPB’s Haweswater reserve. The role will ideally be based partly from the Cumbria Connect project office in Lowther and partly from RSPB’s Haweswater office.

The post holder will be responsible for:

  • Co-ordinating a small team of staff and volunteers to collect biodiversity and ecosystem service data needed to deliver of the ELP project monitoring objectives and ongoing Mardale Common restoration trial.
  • Developing new monitoring protocols to investigate biodiversity and ecosystem service responses to interventions undertaken through the ELP project.
  • Ensuring high standards of data collection, collation, and safe storage.
  • Leading on the analysis and write-up of the monitoring and restoration trial data for reports to funders and peer-reviewed publications.
  • Contributing to the development of collaborative research with external partners and supervising student projects.
  • Working with other members of the Cumbria Connect team to increase the profile of the science programme through public engagement.

Essential skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Completed a PhD (or have equivalent research experience) in ecology or other environmental sciences relevant to the project objectives.
  • Knowledge of upland land uses, including agricultural systems, and their impacts on biodiversity and ecosystem services.
  • Have excellent organisational skills and a track record of delivering ambitious data collection programmes.
  • Excellent species identification skills for one or more of the following taxa: vascular plants, Lepidoptera, Coleoptera, Arachnida and birds.
  • Have experience of designing field projects, with a strong eye for experimental design.
  • Knowledge of current multivariate statistical methods and their application in R (or other appropriate statistical software).
  • Ability to curate, analyse and interpret complex ecological datasets and write these data up for reports and as publications in international peer-reviewed journals.
  • Be a strong team-player and have good interpersonal skills suited to working as an integral part of the Cumbria Connect team and a collaborative mindset crucial to the maintaining relationships with existing and new academic project partners.
  • Thrive working outdoors and be knowledgeable of how to operate safely in challenging upland environments.

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Have experience of managing small teams of research assistants and/or volunteers.
  • Familiarity with other modern analytical methods, including e.g. use of GIS software, remote-sensing approaches.
  • Willingness and capacity to supervise student projects.
  • Some knowledge and experience of conducting field and lab-based methods of ecosystem service assessment.
  • Have experience of increasing the profile of science and research through public engagement.

This is a Fixed-Term role for 4 years, Full-Time for 37.5 hours per week.

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.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from 9th October onwards. For further information please contact

As part of this application process you will be asked to provide a copy of your CV and complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience listed above.

We are committed to developing an inclusive and diverse RSPB, in which everyone feels supported, valued, and able to be their full selves. To achieve our vision of creating a world richer in nature, we need more people, and more diverse people, on nature’s side. People of colour and disabled people are currently underrepresented across the environment, climate, sustainability, and conservation sector. If you identify as a person of colour and/or disabled, we are particularly interested in receiving your application. Contact us to discuss any additional support you may need to complete your application.

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

The RSPB is a licenced sponsor. This role is eligible for UK Visa Sponsorship.

Before applying for this role, we recommend reading through the candidate guidance notes attached to the top of this advert.

Company benefits

Open to part-time employees
Open to compressed hours
Enhanced maternity leave
Enhanced paternity leave
Adoption leave
Shared parental leave
24 days annual leave + bank holidays
Enhanced sick pay

The FlexScore® is the result of a rigorous 2-step verification of a company’s flexibility

First we assess the flexibility options RSPB provides and then we anonymously survey a statistically significant proportion of their employees to make sure RSPB is as flexible as they say they are. Our assessment is based on the six key elements of flexibility: location, hours, autonomy, benefits, role modelling and work-life balance.

We ask the hard questions so you don’t have to.

Working at RSPB

Company employees


Gender diversity (male:female)


Office locations

Across all 4 UK Countries

Hiring Countries


United Kingdom

Awards & Achievements

Most flexible companies

Most flexible companies

Flexa100 2024
Charity & Tech For Good

Charity & Tech For Good

Industry awards 2023
Most flexible companies

Most flexible companies

Flexa100 2023
2nd – Charity & Tech For Good

2nd – Charity & Tech For Good

Industry awards 2022