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Scientist - Biodiversity Monitoring & Assessment

Forestry Commission

Location: Farnham
Salary: £27,235 to £29,577
Hours: Full Time
Contract Type: Fixed-Term/Contract
Placed On: 24th November 2022
Closes: 21st December 2022
Job Ref: 250562

Location: Alice Holt Lodge, Farnham, Surrey GU10 4LH

3-year fixed-term contract 

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 one key area of rapid development, we have secured funding for the development of novel forest biodiversity monitoring methods using recent technological advances as part of the Natural Capital and Ecosystem Assessment (NCEA) Programme. These promise to revolutionise biomonitoring and support action to address the Biodiversity Crisis.  It is here that you could find a stimulating challenge and make a significant positive contribution. 

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 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. 

Skills and expertise

You will have excellent communication and organisation skills, and you will be capable of both working alone and as part of a team. With experience of conducting ecology field work, we will expect you to have an honours degree in a relevant field such as ecology, environmental science, forest science, physical science or biological sciences. Crucially, you will also have well-developed skills in interpreting quantitative and qualitative data. 

What we 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: 11.59pm, 21 December 2022. 

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