The Vallée de Mai Science Coordinator provides overall scientific supervision and management at the Vallée de Mai (VdM) for the Seychelles Islands Foundation. This role encompasses wide-ranging tasks, including ensuring that all monitoring and research projects run efficiently and produce high quality standardised data, coordinating and supervising research staff, supervising volunteers, advising on and developing projects, assisting and advising international research teams and always enforcing the rules and regulations of the Vallée de Mai and SIF. It should be noted that the responsibilities listed below are broad but not all-encompassing as there may also be unplanned duties that are not possible to predict or describe here and which may change over time.
Data collection and management
- Manage SIF’s scientific monitoring and conservation projects at the VdM, ensure that the research and conservation programmes, including all monitoring programmes, invasive alien species (IAS) work and relevant aspects of other projects, are carried out efficiently, are standardised and produce high quality data.
- Liaise closely with the CEO, Science and Projects Coordinator (SPC), Director of Research and Conservation (DRC) and VdM Site Manager (SM) regarding these duties.
- Cooperate with and report to the SM on all matters concerning work programme, research facilities, accommodation, logistics, working times, visiting scientists, and volunteers.
- Supervise the work of all research staff and oversee the fieldworkers when working on research tasks.
- Maintain and update all records and data (electronic and hard copies) and ensure that they are kept organised, easily accessible and regularly backed up
- Maintain updated versions of all monitoring protocols and ensure that the methods they describe are in applied in the monitoring. Write/update these when required in liaison with the SPC/DRC.
Research and project support and development
- Provide support, staff assistance and feedback for ongoing projects where needed, e.g. research and IAS projects or external collaborations.
- Support students (where applicable) in delivering agreed research projects and facilitate research support (logistical and staff) to ensure as far as possible that these projects are of a high standard.
- Provide feedback on internal and external research proposals concerning the VdM.
- Advise and support visiting research groups or individuals and ensure that such groups comply with the regulations at all times.
- Collect samples for approved research as requested.
- Where needed and in collaboration with CEO, DRC and SPC, develop project proposals based on priority research and conservation for the VdM and implement such projects if approved.
- Ensure that approved projects and suggestions on research/monitoring are implemented.
- Lead work on the VdM Stewardship Scheme Plot, supervise activities (IAS removal and control, native species planting, palm leaf laying) by staff, monitor progress and report on this.
Organisation, reporting and communication
- Communicate with SM on a daily basis regarding work plans and staff movements plus any changes of plan
- Communicate with Head Office regularly to update on progress and issues pertaining to research related issues and priorities, and ensure that the HO staff are briefed very regularly on queries, research and monitoring plans, team composition, and schedules, e.g. by submitting weekly workplans.
- Produce a weekly work schedule for the research team in advance and circulate this ahead of time to the SM and Head Office
- Develop and implement as closely as possible once approved an annual work plan for the VdM research based on the VdM management plan and in close liaison with Head Office and the SM.
- Prepare and submit information on projects and monitoring programmes as requested by Head Office.
- Submit a monthly report summarising details and progress of monitoring, research and conservation activities, data summaries and analysis, other activities carried out by research staff such as education and outreach, visits by external scientists, equipment and staff issues and training and any unusual sightings or occurrences.
- Produce a comprehensive annual report bringing together summaries and analysis of all data from monthly reports which puts the information into context on a larger time-scale, comparing data with previous years and adding more detailed interpretation.
- Produce contributions for SIF publicity and visibility materials and social media on request, including monthly newsletter articles, annual report text, regular facebook posts, presentations and newspaper/magazine articles.
Training, education, outreach and dissemination of information
- Assist wherever possible in the education and training of the field research assistants and rangers, and encourage self-improvement through further education of research staff.
- Design and give presentations about VdM research and work to staff, SIF Board members, and the public, as appropriate and requested.
- Contribute to and lead where appropriate education and outreach activities in the VdM education programme including presentations, supervision of school groups, guided tours and development of and participation in other activities to ensure high standards of education and correct information provision.
- Assist with the induction process of all new research staff and ensure that a presentation on outputs is given to VdM staff by students and volunteers working on research projects before they leave.
- Assist with preparation of manuscripts for submission to scientific journals as requested by DRC, SPC and CEO.
Equipment and specimen collections
- Be responsible for all VdM research equipment, including updating inventories, maintenance and checking of items, signing equipment to staff in and out, coordinating incident reports for lost/broken equipment, planning ahead for necessary equipment, sourcing equipment internationally where applicable, and communicating necessary research requisitions clearly to the SM and HO.
- Maintain and update the VdM library (books, research dissertations, reports and journal articles), and inform Head Office of library requirements and new publication requests.
- Maintain all VdM fauna and flora specimen collections in good order, including the herbarium collection and prepare new specimens as required.
Administration and staffing
- Hold weekly research meetings with all VdM research staff and ensure meeting minutes are taken and circulated.
- Attend VdM staff meetings and VdM Science and Project meetings with HO.
- Conduct mid-term and end-of-term staff performance appraisals for research staff, and provide Head Office with information and recommendations on staff recruitment, contract extensions or changes, promotions, terminations, disciplinary measures and bonus payments. Notify HO for follow up of exit interviews on Mahé.
- Ensure, as far as possible, integration of and good relations between all staff on the research team and promote a positive working environment at all times.
- Ensure that all research staff, volunteers and students adhere to SIF protocols, policies and regulations. Assist staff where necessary in understanding these documents, including the Code of Conduct, and policies on environmental management, internet usage and other regulations and memos which may be issued periodically.
- In liaison with the SM, the VSC is responsible for communications on disciplinary measures of VdM research staff and visiting scientists, including full and prompt reporting of all incidents and disciplinary actions to Head Office.
- In liaison with the SM provide timely recommendations for new recruits needed on the research team.
- Occasional guiding of VIP groups or assistance of researchers may be required outside normal working hours.
Education and experience
- BSc (essential) and post-graduate qualification (either MSc or PhD; preferred) in environmental subject or equivalent
- Additional experience working in the environmental sector in Seychelles is essential
- Minimum of 2 years of experience managing monitoring, research and conservation programmes (essential; preferably in in Seychelles)
- Excellent working knowledge of Seychelles native and introduced flora and fauna (essential)
- Minimum of 1 year of experience in managing a team of mixed international/local staff in environmental monitoring/conservation work (preferable)
Skills and Special Knowledge:
- Demonstrated experience managing, maintaining high quality of, and summarising long-term datasets (essential)
- Demonstrated experience of regular report-writing and meeting deadlines (essential)
- Demonstrated experience working with and interest in invasive species (animals and/or plants) is preferred
- Competency with IT, specifically with MS software (Excel, Access, Word, Powerpoint), GPS & GIS software (essential)
- Demonstrated experience at presenting to various audiences (essential)
- High level of fitness and able to work in the field in tropical conditions (essential)
- Proven determination and commitment to conservation and good knowledge of international conservation issues
- It is essential to have: a positive, problem-solving and resourceful attitude; strong and proven initiative; excellent and diplomatic communication skills; good time management, organisational, multi-tasking and prioritisation skills; a patient, flexible and adaptable character; and a high level of professionalism.
The position is open to applicants of any nationality.
Apply today, the position will be filled as soon as a suitable candidate is found.