LIFE Raft Project Scientist - Rathlin Island


Flexible in the UK, with travel to Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland
£38,389 - £41,212 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Sunday, 30th June 2024  

This is an exciting opportunity to join the ground-breaking LIFE Raft island restoration project taking place on Rathlin Island, Northern Ireland. 

We require a Project Scientist to support the management and analysis of data as an essential part of eradication operations and impact assessment. This post can be mostly desk based at home or an RSPB office but will require travel to Rathlin Island as and when necessary (estimated to at least once per month). This may be at short notice to help overcome data collection or data management issues. As such, we would prefer the role holder to be based in Northern Ireland but we welcome applications from across the UK for the right candidate. Once the operational phase is complete, the role holder will analyse relevant data, preparing reports and peer reviewed papers where possible within the timeframe of the contract duration.

The LIFE Raft project aims to remove invasive non-native ferrets and rats from Rathlin Island, home to Northern Ireland’s most important seabird colonies. The project aims to make Rathlin safer for seabirds and other ground nesting birds for years to come. You will play a pivotal role, informing operational decisions during the upcoming rat eradication. 

This project is only possible with the support and permission of the 160 people living on Rathlin, along with funding from EU LIFE; National Lottery Heritage Fund; and the Department of Agriculture, Environment and Rural Affairs; and the Garfield Weston Foundation. You can find out more about Rathlin Island and the LIFE Raft project at

Key Responsibilities:

  • Carry out and provide support to the LIFE Raft operational team on data collection, analysis, and interpretation - to enable evidenced decisions in a timely manner.
  • Support our Survey123 data collection systems.
  • Manage and troubleshoot GPS, GIS, and other relevant data to make decisions in fast-paced, field environment.
  • Summarise analysed data in reports, documents, presentations, or peer – reviewed papers.
  • Develop our approach to camera trap data collection plus analysis using AI tools such as MegaDetector. 
  • Produce compelling data visualizations and succinct data analysis summaries for fundraising, grant proposals, internal activities, and communications products.

Essential skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, Data Science, Natural Science, or similar technical field.
  • Demonstrable proficiency, at least one years experience of using GIS programs such as ArcGIS.
  • Demonstrable efficiency, at least one years experience of using R for scientific computing and analysis. 
  • Able to work harmoniously within a team and with the local community.
  • Experience managing and analysing complex data and of database management, including Survey123.
  • Written and verbal communication skills for successful collaboration with colleagues from diverse geographic and technical/non-technical backgrounds.
  • Excellent organisational skills, ability to work independently and as part of a team, and the ability to prioritise and meet deadlines.

Desirable skills, knowledge and experience:

  • Experience working as a scientist within a project team, or direct experience of managing data on a similar island restoration project.
  • Ability to integrate R and Arc GIS data, to interpret and visualise GIS spatial data using R. 
  • Proficient knowledge of R, Python and SQL programming for automating data analysis and database management.
  • Knowledge of using online versioned repositories for code (e.g., Github).
  • Applied experience in building and using machine learning and modelling pipelines (e,g, MegaDetector).
  • Familiarity with applied field work in conservation, invasive species management and biosecurity, wildlife management, or similar.
  • Experience operating drones for survey or conservation work and use of drone data.

This is a full-time, fixed term contract until August 2025 (with the possibility of extension) for 37.5 hours per week. The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from 10 July 2024. For further information please contact [email protected].

As part of this application process you will be asked to provide a copy of your CV and complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience 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.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

Find out more & apply