Senior Research Scientist (SRS) 

Brief Overview of Wildlife Works 

Wildlife Works is a world-leading REDD+ program development and management company, with an effective approach to applying innovative market-based solutions to the conservation of biodiversity. Over its 20-year history, Wildlife Works has established a successful model that uses emerging marketplace for REDD+ Carbon Offsets to protect threatened forests, wildlife and communities. Wildlife protection, community governance and forest protection thus form the three pillars of Wildlife Works’ holistic approach to conservation, while the development and sales of nature-based carbon credits provides forest communities economic pathways to transition from extraction-based to conservation-based livelihoods. 

In 2011, the Wildlife Works’ Kasigau Corridor REDD+ Project (KCRP) was successfully validated and verified under the Verified Carbon Standard (VCS) and the Climate, Community and Biodiversity Standard (CCB). This was the world’s first REDD+ project to receive issuance of carbon credits and was the world’s first VCS REDD+ mega-project, in that it would result in the avoidance of over 1.5 million tonnes of CO2-e emissions per year for the next 30 years. The KCRP protects over 500,000 acres of highly threatened dryland forest, securing a critical wildlife migration corridor between Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks, whilst bringing the benefits of direct carbon financing to more than 100,000 people in the surrounding communities. 

Senior Research Scientist, Biodiversity & Social Monitoring (1 position) 

Overall Role 

Wildlife Works seeks to recruit a Senior Research Scientist (SRS) who will work with other research staff under the guidance of the Director, Environment, Social and Governance (ESG), on issues related to biodiversity and social research for Wildlife Works’ growing REDD+ portfolio in Kenya, and elsewhere in Africa. The SRS will primarily spearhead, provide guidance and support to biodiversity and social monitoring teams in the KCRP. S/he will also support the Director, ESG in activities related to research, documentation, dissemination and outreach, and policy development on these matters. The successful applicant will be responsible for designing and overseeing the implementation of Wildlife Works’ Biodiversity and Social monitoring strategies for the KCRP, but also supporting other REDD+ projects across Africa. 

This role requires a dynamic team player with good project management skills, the ability to run and  manage multiple initiatives simultaneously as well as experience working globally across cultural, geographic and time zone boundaries. S/he shall be expected to be flexible and work within the existing structures, professionally and ethically with competence, accountability and integrity. 

Major duties and responsibilities 

The role of the SRS will include the following activities: 

  1. Define, design and execute Wildlife Works’ Biodiversity and Social monitoring strategies for the KCRP. This involves evaluating various methods and monitoring protocols to determine the most appropriate ones for each project setting or objective, whilst balancing scientific rigour, cost, ease-of-execution, and replicability 

  2. Support Wildlife Works’ REDD+ projects’ validation and verification audits, particularly ensuring delivery of accurate and complete information for reporting requirements, both for validation or verification bodies and financial partners, plus resolving biodiversity and social impact-related questions from clients or auditors under guidance from the Director ESG

  3. Write, and/or support writing of, concise and informative internal reports plus scientific, peer-reviewed publications, including dissemination of lessons learned and contributions to best practices from the KCRP and other Wildlife Works’ projects for research, knowledge and learning purposes 

  4. Link with relevant REDD+ policy processes nationally, especially on REDD+ nesting and safeguards, to ensure Wildlife Works’ interests, opinions and positions on private sector engagement and MRV are articulated in the best way 

  5. Develop and maintain professional networks, including research and Government, build research partnerships and propel research and monitoring excellence at Wildlife Works 

  6. For Wildlife Works’ REDD+ projects in Africa, support the Director, ESG as needed in working with or training partners on the ground to develop and implement Biodiversity and Social monitoring plans that are adequate for compliance with key standards such as CCBA, and reflect company’s ethos 

  7. Conducting desk research or rapid reconnaissance field visits to prospective REDD+ projects in Kenya and elsewhere across Africa whenever needed, describing their biodiversity and community (social) profiles including key drivers of forest loss and potential impacts 

  8. Provide in-house expert guidance and support for the screening of prospective Wildlife Works’ projects for potential environmental and social impacts and risks, plus identification of risk management opportunities or mitigation strategies 

  9. While Wildlife Works commits to fund core monitoring budgets fully, solicit co-funding and grants for undertaking offshoot or student biodiversity or social research that augments core research work 

  10. Represent Wildlife Works in various local and international meetings and forums. 

(NB: While the description above covers the main tasks and conveys the spirit of the tasks anticipated for this position, other tasks may be assigned as necessary in line with organisational needs.) 

Job Requirements 

Required Qualifications 

  • Master’s or higher degree (PhD a strong advantage) in environmental- or social-related field including environmental planning and policy, sustainable or community development, wildlife management, environmental science and management, or other relevant fields 

  • A minimum of ten years’ work experience post-MSc (preferably international and/or with clear application) in academia, the private sector, a development research organisation or other institution undertaking research, monitoring and/or impact assessment. 

 

Required Skills and Competencies (obligatory) 

  • Experience with managing research projects and interfacing with external partners, such as multi-laterals or other bilateral development or public agencies in Kenya (experience elsewhere in Africa an added advantage) 

  • Demonstrated familiarity with the environmental and social impacts of climate change and forest loss, including adaptation and mitigation options like Payment for Ecosystem Services 

  • Good understanding of monitoring and evaluation principles, conducting impact assessments and risk-based approaches to managing projects and programmes 

  • High level of proficiency with MS Office Suite (including Access) and other core research programs like mapping (ArcMap or QGIS), statistics (SPSS, R or similar), project management tools and other specialised tools (like SMART, Distance, Wrike, MIRADI etc) 

  • Experience with undertaking systematic reviews, meta-analysis or similar evidence synthesis 

  • Excellent research, analytical and writing skills, both popular and scientific, with high levels of attention to detail 

  • Fluency in English and Swahili is required; French is an added advantage. 

  • Other Skills and Competencies (preferred) 

  • Strong organisational skills, with a high degree of cultural sensitivity and creative ability to navigate unforeseen complexities 

  • Excellent interpersonal skills, able to communicate with interdisciplinary colleagues and external stakeholders and partners, across a multicultural professional environment 

  • Good leadership skills, assertiveness, ability to take initiative and work within deadlines 

  • Ability to work effectively on both independent research assignments and as part of a team 

  • Sound judgement and decision-making skills, including proactive problem-solving 

  • Flexibility to work long hours, including weekends and public holidays, especially when working with colleagues and partners across different time zones 

  • Willingness to travel. 

  • Terms of Employment 

  • Successful applicant will be employed as the Senior Research Scientist, leading Biodiversity and Social Monitoring teams primarily at the KCRP in Kenya, and occasionally supporting other REDD+ projects across Africa 

  • This is considered a full-time position according to the Wildlife Works’ scheme of service and after a three-month probation period 

  • Unless on mission to another site/project, the position will be based at Wildlife Works’ African HQs at the Rukinga Wildlife Sanctuary, Voi, and will report to the Director, ESG 

  • Remuneration: A competitive salary and benefits package will be offered, commensurate with the successful applicant’s experience.

How to apply 

Applicants should send a Cover Letter and CV expressing their interest in the position, what they can bring to the job and the names and addresses (including telephone and email) of two referees who are knowledgeable about the candidate’s professional qualifications and work experience to the Human Resource Manager, Wildlife Works, on or before 15 July 2021. The position title and reference number REF: 003/2021 should be clearly marked on the subject line of the Cover Letter. 

  • Applications can be made via email to hrkenya at wildlifeworks com  and in copy to mwangi at wildlifeworks com

  • Applications by post may be made to: Wildlife Works, PO Box 310, Voi, 80300, Kenya. 

 

Applicants will also require the following if shortlisted for interview: 

  • Copies of key academic and professional certificates 

  • Copy of Certificate of Good Conduct 

  • KRA Certificate of Tax compliance. 

 

We thank all applicants for their interest in working for Wildlife Works. Due to the likely volume of applications, only shortlisted candidates will be contacted. 

Wildlife Works does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing or training). 

Wildlife Works is an equal opportunity employer, values diversity and inclusion and thereby welcomes diverse candidates to apply.