Research Scientist - Forest Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment

Forest Research

Farnham, Surrey, with blended working
£37,485 - £40,590 pa

Paid • Full Time • Fixed Term Contract

Sectors: ecology, conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Sunday, 11th August 2024  

Reference number: 358074
Location: Alice Holt Research Station, Farnham GU10 4LH with blended working

Who we are

Forest Research (FR) is a trusted and recognised provider of applied forest science, routinely leading ambitious and innovative applied science projects. We have a fantastic reputation for delivering world-class research that is regularly published in leading scientific journals. Delivering data, products and services that enable our clients to better manage forests, we adopt the boldest approaches in order to push the boundaries of scientific knowledge. We are now at an exciting point of research expansion in the field of forest biodiversity research. In one key area of rapid development, we have secured funding for the application of novel forest biodiversity monitoring methods using recent technological advances (i.e. DNA metabarcoding, bioacoustics) as part of the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (NCEA) Programme. These promise to revolutionise biomonitoring and support action to address the Biodiversity Crisis by allowing for more direct (as opposed to surrogate) measures of biodiversity. It is here that you could find a stimulating challenge and make a significant positive contribution.

The work you will be doing

As a member of the multidisciplinary NCEA team, you will have a chance to make a significant impact on England’s forest biodiversity by shaping the future of routine forest monitoring. You do not need to be a molecular ecologist by training, but should be willing in partnership with molecular ecologists to explore and apply novel applications of DNA metabarcoding in forest biodiversity monitoring and assessment. Gathering evidence and devising sampling protocols using DNA metabarcoding and other biomonitoring techniques, you will help us identify forest species and assess the shape of communities that are resident in forest soils, vegetation layers and the forest canopy. You will also contribute to projects that are exploring the benefits of forest diversification in commercial forests. Designing field studies, selecting study sites, planning studies and conducting fieldwork – plus publishing your scientific outputs – you will be keen to collaborate with external partners such as Natural England and Kew Gardens. Thanks to a combination of your own analysis of quantitative and qualitative ecological datasets and the full support of commercial labs who are equipped to process DNA samples at scale, this will enable us to assess forest biodiversity on a scale that has never before been attempted.

Your skills and expertise

You will be self-motivated, have excellent communication, writing and organisation skills and be capable of both working alone and as part of a team. With experience of conducting ecology research, we will expect you to have a postgraduate degree in a relevant field such as ecology, environmental science, or forest science. Crucially, you will also have well-developed skills in handling, analysing, modelling, and interpreting quantitative and qualitative data and a good understanding of experimental design.

What we can offer

Join us in this stimulating role, and you will have the chance to make a tangible impact on the future of the UK's forests and resident species - plus benefit from plenty of learning opportunities so that you can continue developing your expertise in this fascinating field. And while job satisfaction is an important part of what we can offer, you will also find a friendly and inclusive workplace in which you can find a great work-life balance thanks to hybrid working options. You will benefit from 35.5 days of annual leave inclusive of public holidays, and access to a desirable civil service pension scheme.

Closing date: 11 August 2024.
Interview Date: 19 August 2024.

Find out more & apply