Senior Conservation Scientist – Avian Influenza


We have a fantastic opportunity for an enthusiastic person to join the Monitoring Science team
at the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science. We are looking for an experienced conservation
scientist with a strong background in ecology, avian disease, epidemiology or virology, to play
a crucial role in developing our response to avian influenza and thus in guiding
decision-making and policy within the RSPB and more broadly to respond to the threat of bird

In addition, the post-holder will contribute to the Centre’s overall role in establishing the
scientific basis of RSPB policy and practice in nature conservation.

What’s the role about?

The successful candidate would collate and keep up to date our understanding of the broad
scientific evidence base in relation to avian influenza, focussing on epidemiology, viral
ecology, serology and related disciplines, to inform RSPB advocacy, policies and practice, and
to identify key knowledge gaps and scientific research needs. Forge contacts and relationships
with external scientists, institutions, in the UK and overseas, including our BirdLife
International partners, and join selected expert groups and fora of relevance to science
interests in this field.

Provide scientific support to RSPB’s governance groups relating to avian influenza and lead and
chair an internal science group. Provide scientific rigour, oversight and perspective, to the
development of RSPB’s avian disease-related policy and practice projects and lead the
development of related scientific proposals and collaborations.

In collaboration with RSPB colleagues, contribute to peer-reviewed publication of avian disease
research and monitoring studies, including data analysis and modelling, and wider sharing of
key data sets. Support and advise policy colleagues on their written responses by interpreting
the relevant scientific literature and challenging incorrect and misleading information. 

Support policy and science staff in contingency planning and rapid emergency response to avian
disease outbreaks.

The location of the role is flexible within the UK and the post holder would ideally be based
partly at an RSPB office. Periodic travel to meet team members or collaborators would be
expected. Additionally, we welcome requests for reduced or part-time hours or non-standard
working patterns.

What we need from you:


  • A PhD in a relevant subject, or equivalent experience, and substantial additional experience
    leading and conducting relevant research.
  • A broad knowledge of UK species ecology and conservation, and of current scientific issues
    that are relevant to nature conservation and recovery.
  • Specialist knowledge of disease, avian disease, epidemiology, virology or serology.
  • Up-to-date knowledge of how to use and apply ecological or epidemiological statistical models
    to enable robust analysis and interpretation of data.
  • Familiar with Microsoft Office, fluent in R or an equivalent statistical software and
    willingness to learn new programmes.
  • A methodical and rigorous approach to experimental design, data collection, data management
    and analysis, ensuring data and results pass international peer-reviewed standards.
  • Self-motivated and able to work efficiently under pressure to meet deadlines, with the
    autonomy to prioritise your own working schedule and to manage the work of managed staff and
    volunteers on several projects coincidentally.
  • Show initiative and scientific horizon scanning to propose innovative projects to answer
    important conservation questions relating to avian influenza and bird disease.
  • A skilled collaborative worker, with experience working with a range of stakeholders, for
    instance, external scientists, institutions and decision makers.
  • An effective communicator, tailoring high quality communications to a range of audiences with
    an ability to link science to policy.
  • Willing to travel to fieldwork sites around the UK and liaise with field and site staff. 
  • The ability to work energetically and cooperatively under pressure to meet deadlines.

Desirable skills:

  • You will have knowledge and track record of raising funding for research or other projects.
  • You will have experience of scientific publication in internationally recognised journals.
  • Confident and capable of being a public face for RSPB science to the media and social media.

Additional information

This is a Fixed Term 1-year contract, 37.5 hours per week. However, we welcome applications
from candidates seeking a part-time position. Interview dates will be arranged in due course. 

For further information please contact: [email protected].

As part of this application process, you will be asked to provide your CV and complete an
application form. Please describe in the application form how you meet each of the essential
and desirable criteria 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.

This role will require completion of standard pre-employment checks. 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.

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