Research Associate in Conservation Data Science – Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability, The University of British Columbia

RANK:                    Research Associate

FACULTY:             Faculty of Science

DEPARTMENT:   Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability



We seek to hire a Research Associate with strong quantitative skills to help build a new cross- disciplinary Conservation Science Initiative at the University of British Columbia (UBC) within the Biodiversity Research Centre located on the Vancouver campus. This position will also benefit from its proximity to and association with the Data Science Institute at UBC and the Institute for Resources, Environment and Sustainability. The position will support the Director of the new Conservation Science Initiative by supplying expertise in data sciences and conservation applications to develop and implement partnerships, collaborations and activities, both across campus and with external NGOs. The Conservation Data Scientist will contribute to research, project development, publications, communications, teaching and mentoring to advance the new Initiative. This initiative will contribute to solving grand challenges in conservation globally while serving as a central hub providing expertise on conservation issues in British Columbia.

The successful candidate will play a critical role in catalyzing research and teaching at the Conservation Science Initiative. The Research Associate will support the Director of the Conservation Initiative directly by helping to conceive and develop core projects involving data science for the initiative. Working collaboratively with faculty, students and external partners, the Research Associate will:

  • Design, develop and manage solutions to quantitative problems in
  • Establish, enhance, and support data- and knowledge-management practices and policies
  • Establish, support and enhance processes for data retrieval, translation, migration, curation, sharing and storage, as well as code-sharing and
  • Conduct remote and in-person trainings for researchers on a range of topics according to their expertise (such as data-science, informatics, meta-data, open data practices, knowledge management, geo-spatial tools/analysis, data visualization).
  • Provide technical support and instruction and mentoring to a conservation graduate seminar focused on team-based projects generating deliverable products for conservation

Current examples of research projects that the Research Associate might contribute to include development of a networked database of camera trapping of wildlife in British Columbia, or developing global models to assess different scenarios for reconciling biodiversity conservation with agricultural production.


  • PhD in relevant field including but not limited to: Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science, Conservation Science, Geography, Statistics, Computer Science,
  • > 2 years professional work experience (pre or post-PhD) in academia, NGO, government or industry
  • Relevant background and interest in applied ecology, conservation or environmental science
  • Strong quantitative background, including significant experience with one or more scripting languages such as Python, R, Javascript or C
  • Demonstrated skills in statistical modeling/quantitative synthesis and/or geospatial modeling/GIS
  • Familiarity with multiple approaches to data curation, information management and data science.
  • Demonstrated experience with large-scale heterogeneous datasets and distributed, complex computing
  • Interest and/or experience in teaching and mentoring in data science and/or conservation science
  • Excellent written and visual / graphic communication
  • Works well in a collaborative, inter-disciplinary environment

Please submit a detailed cover letter to Professor Claire Kremen at describing your interest in and fit to the position, along with a detailed CV and three letters of reference, by May 24th, 2019. Your cover letter should clearly demonstrate your experience in the above areas using examples. Describe how you have contributed to/supported research and/or conservation efforts through data collection, curation, management, and/or through map development, statistical analysis, data visualization, web-based geo-spatial applications, and/or writing/publishing. In your application, please also mention other relevant skills and experience in data and conservation science, including remote sensing, conservation planning, data privacy issues, or other relevant topics. Please detail specific software that you use, statistical or other modeling techniques, et cetera. We are also interested in scientists that have worked with both ecological and social data, and/or the integration of ecological and social data. The anticipated start date is August 1st, 2019. This is a one-year term appointment subject to annual renewal.

Expected salary is $65,000-$75,000, commensurate with qualifications and experience. UBC offers Research Associates a wide ranging benefits plan that includes extended health and dental coverage, and more. Research Associates are eligible to participate in the Faculty Pension Plan.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or status as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority.