UBC Institute for Resources, Environment & Sustainability

Vancouver, Canada

Job Type Permanent
Salary Details $75,000
Required Experience 2 - 6 years

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, connectivity science and conservation applications to develop and implement research projects, 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 more local 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 connectivity and 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 conservation, addressing issues such as wildlife connectivity in working lands across local, regional and global scales.
  • 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 reproducibility.
  • 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 NGOs.

Current examples of research projects that the Research Associate might contribute to include integrating GPS and camera data to monitor wildlife movement and connectivity, incorporating continuous time Markov chain models to evaluate connectivity, or developing global models to assess wildlife connectivity across different land-management scenarios and evaluate strategies for reconciling biodiversity conservation with agricultural production.


  • PhD in relevant field including but not limited to: Wildlife Biology, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science, Conservation Science, Geography, Statistics, Computer Science, etc.
  • > 2 years professional work experience (pre or post-PhD) in academia + > 1 year of professional work experience in conservation NGOs desirable
  • Experience in movement modeling and connectivity science, with a relevant background in mammal ecology, applied ecology, conservation or environmental science.
  • Strong quantitative background, including significant experience coding in R and Julia and in using Linux systems.
  • Demonstrated skills using Bayesian statistical models, geospatial modeling using ArcGIS and connectivity modeling using continuous time models and circuit theory.
  • Familiarity with multiple approaches to data curation, information management and data science.
  • Demonstrated experience managing, cleaning and analyzing large-scale heterogeneous datasets including GPS collar data and remotely sensed data.
  • Demonstrated experience using computing clusters and virtual machines within Google, Microsoft or other platform.
  • Experience in teaching and mentoring in data science and/or conservation science.
  • Excellent written and visual / graphic communication skills.
  • Works well in a collaborative, inter-disciplinary environment

The anticipated start date is December 1, 2020. This is a three-year term appointment.. Expected salary is 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.


Please submit a detailed cover letter to Professor Claire Kremen at ires.applications@ires.ubc.ca describing your interest in and fit to the position, along with a detailed CV by October 14th, 2020. 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. Please detail specific software that you use, statistical or other modeling techniques, et cetera. 

When you apply, please indicate that you are responding to the posting on Conservation Job Board.
Category Ecology
Tags GIS