RSPB • Flexible in UK

Senior Conservation Scientist - Flexible in UK

Employment type:  Full time
Salary:  £38000 - £42156 per annum

3–4 days/week at home

Fully flexible hours

Dog friendly

Job Description

The RSPB Centre for Conservation Science is responsible for delivering science that supports and informs the RSPB’s global conservation programme. Our work extends beyond the UK, and we work as part of BirdLife International, and with partners in the UK Overseas Territories (UKOTs), to protect biodiversity across the globe by conserving species, ecosystems and landscapes and working in partnership with people.

We are seeking a Senior Conservation Scientist to join our International Science team. The post will involve developing and leading scientific projects to inform and support conservation of our priority international species. In particular, this will include working on island restoration and invasive species management and eradication in the UKOTs.

What’s the Role About?

You will be supported by the Principal Conservation Scientist for our international species science and the Head of International Conservation Science. You will also work closely with other members of the International Science team and with other RSPB Global Conservation colleagues, in particular from the International Species Recovery and UKOTs teams. You will line manage people, including volunteers, up to Conservation Scientist level.

Working with these colleagues, and external partners, you will provide reliable evidence to inform evidence based potential solutions to urgent conservation problems, and monitor the efficacy of interventions. The initial focus will be on invasive species on islands. To deliver these outcomes you will manage projects through their lifetime - conceive, design, plan, and fundraise for multiple innovative and complex scientific projects that withstand external academic peer-review. Experience of working on and managing scientific projects in relevant field conditions is, therefore, desirable. Once a project is underway you will use skills in data curation, processing and analyses to draw robust conclusions from complex ecological and environmental data sets. You will then communicate these conclusions, verbally and in writing, to specialist and non-specialist audiences to ensure our science informs conservation action and policy.

Relationships with external partners are crucial in RSPB’s international work. Therefore, an important part of your role will be identifying, building and maintaining effective relationships with external parties including universities, partners, decision-makers and funders, so that collaboration is facilitated and our science informs funding, policy and practice decisions. You will also be responsible for providing training and mentoring to colleagues and external partners, potentially in challenging field conditions, e.g. training in specialist data collection and analysis to ensure the robust, ethical and safe collection of high quality data.

The post will be based in the UK. The location is flexible but you will be expected to travel occasionally to RSPB offices in Cambridge/Sandy or Edinburgh. The role will also involve international travel, potentially to remote and/or challenging field sites.


  • A PhD in relevant subject, or equivalent experience.
  • Broad knowledge of conservation issues and practice, and conservation science, gained through experience of taking lead responsibility for the management of a range of scientific projects.
  • Broad and deep knowledge of species ecology and ecological principles, particularly island ecology and restoration, such that correct methods can be chosen or devised from scratch to answer novel questions at both practical and analytical levels.
  • Project design, to a robust scientific standard forecasting the necessary time scales, which could range from weeks to several years.
  • Practical scientific skills of a standard that ensures the safe and ethical collection of high quality data and the ability to respond appropriately to changing circumstances in the field.
  • Collecting, curating and analysing large and complex data sets that can pass international peer-reviewed standards of scrutiny and audit.
  • Specialist and up-to-date knowledge of how to apply complex analytical procedures to enable innovative, robust analysis and interpretation to data.
  • Able to work in collaboration with external organisations and individuals on sometimes challenging and confrontational issues.
  • Demonstrable track record of scientific publication in internationally recognised journals


  • Initiative and scientific horizon scanning to conceptualise and propose innovative projects to answer novel and important conservation questions using science.
  • Nationally or internationally recognised expert in a relevant subject area.
  • Knowledge of key legal and practical requirements for ensuring health and safety of staff and volunteers, sometimes in challenging field conditions, for instance remote field sites, cliff-nesting seabird colonies, tropical rainforests, working with the public, lone working.
  • Knowledge of how to provide practical and scientific leadership and guidance in a particular scientific area.
  • Ability to work in extreme conditions, sometimes for prolonged periods in the field, either in the UK or abroad
  • Ability to train and coach others in complex data collection techniques in sometimes difficult to conditions in the UK or abroad.
  • Ability to influence others to win funding through external competition.
  • Experience managing people one-to-one and/or in small teams.

Additional Information

For all application/role enquiries please contact - harry.marshall@rspb.org.uk

Please note that you will be required to upload a CV and complete an application form where you will have the opportunity to tell us how you meet the criteria set out above.

Before applying for this role we encourage you to read through the candidate guidance notes attached to the top of the advert.

Interviews will take place on the 6th and 8th of March 2023.

The RSPB is a licensed sponsor - This role is eligible for visa sponsorship.

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

Flexa100 2024

Most flexible companies

Industry awards 2023

Charity & Tech For Good

Flexa100 2023

Most flexible companies

Industry awards 2022

2nd – Charity & Tech For Good