Environmental Data Specialist

Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC)

Peterborough or Aberdeen
£28,390 pa

Paid • Full Time • Permanent

Sectors: conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Sunday, 12th June 2022  

Environmental Data Specialist

Type of appointment:Permanent

Location: Peterborough or Aberdeen

This post will have a base in either Peterborough or Aberdeen.

JNCC will be adopting a more flexible approach to working options and, once we are able to return to working in our office locations, our people will have more flexibility about where they choose to work. The expectation is that we will be expected to work from our office base for 1 – 2 days a month as a minimum. We can provide more details at the interview and offer stages.

Who are JNCC?

Established in 1991, we’re the UK’s statutory advisor on issues affecting the natural environment across the UK and internationally. Our primary role is advising all four Governments of the UK. We also work with private sector organisations to support decision making on the sustainable use of marine waters and natural resources around the UK. JNCC is led by the Joint Committee, which brings together members from the nature conservation bodies for England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland and independent members appointed by the Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs under an independent Chair. Support is provided to the Committee by almost 200 people who bring together scientific and technical expertise, extensive knowledge of policy at global, European and national levels, and skills in working with other organisations. Staff are based in two main offices in Peterborough and Aberdeen.


We’re small enough (c.270 staff) that your voice is heard by everyone including the CEO, but big enough that we have all the skills, resources and people you’ll need to get the job done. All our staff are passionate about conservation and making a difference to the world we live in. We have a very flexible, inclusive and welcoming organisational culture and our friendly team will assist you in your role. You will benefit from our supportive workplace culture, excellent holiday and pension benefits, as well as an exciting job in a unique environment.

Hours of work: Full-time

Normal minimum hours of attendance for the post are 36 hours per week over a 5-day period, Monday to Friday.

Flexi time is available. This post may also be suitable for job share.

Annual Leave:

 The annual leave allowance is 25 days per year, rising to 30 days per year after 5 years’ service. There are also 12 days public and privilege leave. Part-time staff will receive this on a pro rata basis.

Post Background

The Joint Nature Conservation Committee (JNCC) is the statutory adviser to Government on UK and international nature conservation. One of JNCC’s key roles is the provision of biodiversity related evidence.

Access to good evidence to underpin biodiversity and nature conservation advice has become increasingly important as the demands and pressures on the environment rise. Evidence activities relating to biodiversity and nature conservation, such as data collection, dissemination, analysis, and reporting, are all critical elements of JNCC’s core functions.

The Environmental Data Specialist will work in the Digital and Data Solutions team. This technical team provides support and creates innovative solutions to all digital, data and IT-related work as well as providing management advice and guidance to teams across JNCC. The Digital and Data Solutions team leads both internal and external projects across the full range of JNCC’s work. The post holder will join the data engineering section of the team working across an interesting and varied range of projects. Examples of the projects our team are involved in include processing earth observation data on remote super computers; using Python and R to extract and analyse marine noise data; developing databases, validation routines and tools to collate seabird data; processing and quality assuring LiDAR data; and managing the UK protected areas databases.

Within the teamlet there are lots of opportunities to work on projects of interest and collaborate with like-minded technicians. An interest in nature conservation and ecological knowledge would be helpful.

Post Duties

The main duties of the Environmental Data Specialist post are to:

  • Lead elements of the management of the UK protected areas databases including data ingestion, manipulation, reporting and publishing tasks as required.
  • Support the development and maintenance of online portals hosting remote sensing data.
  • Perform a variety of analyses, working with JNCC colleagues with specialist skills as appropriate e.g. to support delivery of UK Biodiversity Indicators.
  • Work with other teams requiring technical solutions or data analytics across JNCC, to define requirements and plan and deliver innovative solutions.
  • Provide advice or practical design or production assistance in technical implementation, scripting, data management or processing and automation to support programmes across JNCC.
  • Lead role in QA and advice on management of ‘production’-level analytical scripts and promoting good practice in script creation and versioning.
  • Project management within the team, focussing on projects that will require some analytical input.
  • As appropriate, line manage other staff within the team.


To be a successful candidate you will have:

  • Solid experience with R, Python, or a similar scripting language, which you use to manipulate and analyse data and automate processes. This includes the robust testing of outputs and quality control checks on code produced in the team and elsewhere in JNCC.
  • Ability to write SQL queries to manipulate and extract data from large and complex datasets (preferably with experience using PostgreSQL). Experience of designing relational databases would be an advantage.


To be a successful candidate you will have:

  • A relevant degree or equivalent qualification and/or ecological knowledge.
  • Relevant experience in management, manipulation and analysis of large or complex data for environmental applications including the creation of metadata, audit trails, version control and establish processes/rules for changing and archiving them (note that ecological knowledge would be helpful).
  • Experience of, or aptitude to manage small projects and upskill others.
  • Experience of preparing and publishing data online.
  • Experience of, or aptitude to use source-control, package management, multiple computers operating systems or working on remote cloud computing platforms.
  • Experience of applying analytical techniques to spatial problems (including automation of functions and establishing links to databases and webservices), modelling or machine learning methods would be useful.


  • Working Together
  • Changing and Improving
  • Communicating and Influencing
  • Managing a Quality Service

In the event that we receive a large volume of applications we reserve the right to conduct the sift based on the Lead Behaviour of Working Together

Please see the CS Behaviours framework for more details at this grade.

Closing date and interview date

The closing date for this post is 23:55 on Sunday, 12 June 2022

We expect the interviews for this role to occur in the week commencing Monday, 20 June 2022

Find out more & apply