Research Assistant (93 views)

New Quay, Wales
January 4, 2018

This position is responsible for assisting the Monitoring Officer in the running of the “Cardigan Bay Monitoring Project” and coordinating the project interns. The project is based in New Quay, Ceredigion, West Wales, and works towards delivering on the conservation management of the bottlenose dolphin, harbour porpoise and grey seal populations of Cardigan Bay, monitoring their abundance, distribution, reproductive success and population structure using a combination of line-transect, photo-identification, land-based and acoustic surveys.

Start Date: March 2018 End Date: 28th October 2018

Responsibilities will include, but are not limited to:
• Coordination between the Monitoring Officer, Sightings Officer and project interns – in charge of the intern shared house and the intern weekly office rota.
• Assisting the Monitoring Officer & Sightings Officer in training interns and other volunteers in land- and boat based surveys, photo ID studies, database entry, and more.
• Assisting the Monitoring Officer in all phases of the research.
• Assisting the Sightings Officer with maintenance of the national sightings network.
• Optional opportunity to undertake a personal research project supervised by the Monitoring Officer. Research topic will be chosen according to Sea Watch Foundation requirements and applicant’s interests.
The successful applicant is expected to have completed a BSc degree (or higher) in biology, marine biology, zoology, chemistry, or related field and able to demonstrate previous experience in marine mammal research. A strong interest and knowledge of British cetaceans and experience are beneficial.

The applicant should ideally have some experience using DSLR cameras. Practical experience of photo-identification (both photography and matching) is desirable. Experience with other equipment regularly used by Sea Watch Foundation such as hydrophone, theodolite, digiscope and aerial camera drone is advantageous.

The applicant must be proficient with database and word processing software and be willing to learn new software applications. Specific experience in use of Access and GIS would be advantageous. Knowledge of other relevant software such as PAMGuard or Raven is useful but not essential.

The preferred candidate should have a proven track record as a team player since the project will involve working closely with other researchers, but must also be able to supervise small groups of people given that they will be coordinating a team of at least 8 interns. The Research Assistant and interns live and work together on a daily basis which requires a high degree of diplomacy and interpersonal skills to maintain relationships and team morale. Previous experience working successfully in similar roles is essential.
Applicants should be aware that they will be assisting in running ongoing, established research projects that routinely inform government agencies on the status of cetaceans in the UK and accordingly are expected to take the internship seriously and prioritise it over extra-curricular activities. Working in a small NGO environment in a tight knit team can be a challenging experience and requires a high degree of flexibility, tolerance and a positive attitude.
Applicants must be self-motivated, with the drive and determination to work independently and responsibly without direct supervision. The work load is varied and therefore a high degree of organisation, attention to detail and ability to prioritise are essential.

If a personal research project is undertaken, this brings the opportunity to submit work for scientific publication, and for presentation at the European Cetacean Society Conference. However, this is a challenging position and it is up to the Research Assistant to pursue project work while not prioritising it over existing tasks.

The Research Assistant is expected to work 6 days a week with office hours running from 9AM to 6PM with an hour lunch break. Field work regularly falls outside of office hours, particularly land-based watches which take place throughout the day in two hours shifts from 7AM to 9PM. Line transect surveys are all day surveys and will typically start in the early morning hours and run for at least 8 hours. The Research Assistant is also entitled to one week’s holiday during the season, the dates of which should be agreed upon at the start of placement if at all possible.

This position is unpaid but (shared) accommodation will be provided in the intern house free of charge.

The Research Assistant will be asked to attend an initial training week in New Quay in March (preliminary dates 5th- 10th March) and work on some home based tasks from March until the start of the research season (9th April 2018) at which point the RA will join the team in New Quay. Accommodation during training week will be provided and travel within the UK subsidised by Sea Watch.
The Research Assistant will be responsible for their own travel expenses to New Quay for the 2018 field season. Due to the touristic background of New Quay, part-time paid evening work is generally easy to find if required by the applicant. There are a number of external organisations that may offer grants to partially cover living expenses (see below).

International applications are welcome but it is the applicant’s responsibility to ensure visa requirements are met and the chosen visa option should be highlighted in the application form.

Deadline January 14th 2018.