RSPB • Flexible in UK

Conservation Scientist (Fixed Term)

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

4 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly

Job Description

We are seeking Conservation Scientists to join the RSPB’s UK Marine Science team in an exciting fixed-term role for a minimum of 6 months, work will be both field-based and analytical/desk-based. The role provides a great opportunity to work at the cutting edge of research to improve our understanding of seabird distribution, movements, and behaviour. The post-holder will lead programmes of seabird tracking, data analysis, and other research to inform the assessment of impacts of offshore renewable energy development on seabirds in the UK.

The RSPB provides a supportive and flexible working environment (including home or hybrid working), with commitment to the training and personal development of its staff and volunteers. There is, however, a requirement for extensive travel within the UK during the seabird breeding season (May – Sept), including long periods away from home.

What's the role about?

The post-holder should have demonstrable experience developing and delivering field-based and/or analytical-based research. Working under the guidance of a Senior or Principal Conservation Scientist, the post-holder will lead elements of a number of seabird research projects, in particular, the monitoring and tracking of Black-legged Kittiwakes at various sites on the east and north coast of Scotland, novel analyses of seabird tracking data, and a project involving field trials of a new type of tracking device. They will take responsibility for aspects of planning fieldwork logistics, procurement of equipment, field data collection, data analysis, and write up of results for funders and peer-reviewed publication. They should have an aptitude and enthusiasm for fieldwork, living away from home for extended periods of time, often under challenging conditions and prior experience of statistical analysis, ideally including the analysis of spatial data using R, and of taking a leading role in writing scientific papers for peer-reviewed journals.

Some previous experience of relevant work is essential however there will be the opportunity to develop skills in all areas of seabird research.

Essential skills, knowledge, and experience:

  • Recognised expertise in seabird ecology and conservation. Proven scientific research experience (e.g., from timely completion of a PhD or managing a similar project; communicating to various audiences by writing reports).
  • Knowledge of current conservation issues and practice, and conservation science, gained through experience of leading a scientific project.
  • An understanding of the ecology and conservation of seabirds, including experience in appropriate data collection methods, and their associated licensing and regulations.
  • Practical field skills in seabird research, including ability for outside work in exposed conditions, sometimes for prolonged periods at remote locations.
  • Willing and able to travel to remote fieldwork sites around the UK, often for periods of several weeks, and to liaise effectively with relevant field and site staff.
  • Collecting, curating, and analysing large and complex data sets.
  • Skilled use of Microsoft Office and some knowledge of how to use advanced scientific software for data analysis.
  • Self-motivated and able to work efficiently under pressure to meet deadlines.

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Specific expertise in one or more relevant technical field skills (e.g., seabird tagging, ringing licence, tissue sampling, or rope access skills for cliff work).
  • Specialist and up-to-date knowledge of how to apply complex analytical procedures to enable innovative, robust analysis and interpretation to data.
  • Line management experience, including the ability to train and coach others in data collection techniques in sometimes difficult conditions.
  • Knowledge of key legal and practical requirements for ensuring health and safety of staff and volunteers, sometimes in challenging field conditions, for instance cliff-nesting seabird colonies and lone working.
  • A full, manual driving licence that is valid in the UK.

Additional Information:

This is a fixed-term role for a minimum of 6 months, 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 as soon as suitable candidates present themselves, so please do not delay in applying. Please note that we are actively recruiting for this vacancy and reserve the right to close once sufficient applications have been received.

For further information please contact kirsty.franklin@rspb.org.uk and aly.mccluskie@rspb.org.uk.

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.

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

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