Senior Research Assistant (Bats)

African Bat Conservation

Lilongwe, Malawi

Volunteer • Full Time [email protected] Angelena Efstathiou

Reference: ABC SRA

Sectors: conservation & wildlife

Closing date: Not specified, apply soon!

African Bat Conservation (ABC) is a non-profit conservation research project based in Malawi, operating under UK Charity Conservation Research Africa (CRA) and in partnership with the University of the West of England, UK. ABC works in collaboration with and the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Malawi (DNPW) to conduct three core activities:

1. Applied research for wildlife conservation management: to determine and monitor bat population trends, assess species threats and provide conservation recommendations; as well as a number of smaller student projects to facilitate and inform long-term conservation management of bat populations and their habitats. Project results are used to update IUCN species status reports and assist DNPW in long-term population monitoring and protected area management.

2. Education and awareness of bats and biodiversity and related issues through comprehensive community based education programmes, human-wildlife conflict surveys and teacher training workshops in collaboration with LWT and their Eco-schools programme.

3Capacity building: to increase project effectiveness and long-term success by building capacity in ecological research, biodiversity monitoring and management for DNPW through training courses, attachment programmes and postgraduate research projects at MSc and PhD level.


African Bat Conservation conducts research on bats across Malawi both at field sites and in urban areas of Lilongwe as part of our long term applied conservation research project. We conduct bat monitoring and research (mist netting, roost surveys and bat box programmes, and at certain times of year radio tracking bats in the urban environment) in Lilongwe and community outreach visits to respond to calls for assistance with human-bat conflict, providing advice and practical human-bat conflict mitigation. We are currently recruiting for a Senior Research Assistant to assist our programme across sites in Malawi.

Person Specification Summary

We are looking for someone with:

Inspirational Leadership skills: You will need to be a great leader, able to inspire and motivate others.

Organisational skills: We are looking for someone who is highly organised and practical, with an eye for detail.

Management skills: You must have excellent interpersonal and management skills and experience of dealing with students and volunteers in a professional manner.

Maturity and Professionalism is a must, as well as the ability to work maintain the motivation and research output despite the many daily challenges of working in Malawi.

The position requires that you work at any of our sites as per project needs. This includes in Lilongwe and Kuti Wildlife Reserve. Work is on demand, with long hours, working a 6 day week. Being a conservation organisation we do not have regular office hours, so you will be required to conduct work as required by the project demand, including night work. Therefore you will need to be willing to work in the field at night, out of hours according to the programme need and have a positive can do attitude. This post offers an excellent opportunity for career development for a researcher who is interested in applied conservation biology, bats and human-wildlife conflict.

The post-holder will:

Work under the supervision of our Research Manager and alongside our ABC Community Outreach team and manage the second ABC Team as required. Conduct fieldwork at night and in the day including: 

  1. Leading on bat surveys: including harp trapping, mist netting and acoustic surveys
  2. Conducting roost surveys (internal, external and emergence counts)
  3. Radio tracking bats (at certain times of year)
  4. Coordinating and organising work schedules for the Team
  5. Arranging staff workloads and managing deadlines
  6. Organising site access for surveys
  7. and any other field work as required
  8. Community site visits and outreach, to educate communities regarding bat conservation and management and install/advise regarding conflict mitigation
  9. Maintain, summarise and store data in a specifically designed databases
  10. Conduct acoustic analysis of bat calls and manage acoustic data
  11. Create and edit habitat and roost maps in ArcGIS
  12. Manage staff, interns, work schedules and conduct one to ones
  13. Manage volunteers, volunteer schedules and conduct one to ones
  14. Lead Team meetings each week and report back to the Research Manager
  15. Work closely and co-operatively with other team members and partner organisations
  16. Manage administrative and budget requirements and deliver on time and accurately
  17. Maintain accurate records of work activities and data entry
  18. Collate and contribute to project reports, newsletters, bulletins etc as required


- Essential

  • Positive can do attitude with mature approach
  • BSc in conservation biology, zoology, biology or related field
  • Experience of working and living in field based environments, preferably in Africa (minimum 1 year)
  • Experience of bat field research, with mist netting and harp trapping experience (minimum 1 year)
  • Experience of bat roost visits and mitigation requirements
  • Experience of successfully planning and managing projects
  • A confident communicator who is able to relate well to people from diverse backgrounds and cultures
  • Experience of working with volunteers from diverse backgrounds
  • Experience of working co-operatively as part of a team
  • Driving licence and 4x4 experience
  • Ability to use initiative, creativity and judgement to respond appropriately to project needs and problems
  • Ability to stay calm in difficult situations
  • Experience of data collection and management under minimal supervision
  • Hard work ethic, flexible and conscientious approach
  • Enthusiasm and self motivation for working on applied conservation research

- Desirable

  • MSc or PhD in ecology, zoology, biology
  • Experienced in radio tracking and tagging bats
  • Experience in dealing with human wildlife conflict
  • Experience of ArcGIS mapping, digitising and home range analysis

Contract Conditions

Timing: This is a 1 year position commencing in March / .April 2021

Hours: Full time flexible working hours, on average 6 days per week, with night work.

Location: The location is flexible according to our project needs so you will be based at either our research camp in Lilongwe, Kuti Wildlife Reserve or any other site as required.

Accommodation: In Lilongwe the post holder will be based at the ABC research offices and staff house in a shared room. There is a living area, kitchen, showers and compost toilets. In the field you will be sharing a walk in safari tent with beds with another staff member.

Conditions: ABC will provide 3 basic meals a day, accommodation and bills, work related travel, airport transfers and limited personal use of a project vehicle. You will be required to cover your own flights, food, visas, insurance and vaccinations.

Application process

To apply please download an application form from and send a completed Senior Research Assistant Application Form with a Covering Letter (outlining why you think you would be suitable for the post) and a CV (if you wish) to Angelena at [email protected]

Further project information





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