Careers | RSPB

We are excited you have visited our Careers page. We are seeking talented individuals that are excellent in their field of expertise and are posed with all potential and skills necessary to help us meet future business challenges.

This position is no longer available
If you would like to apply to other positions at RSPB, please return to our Careers Page.
Position not right for you?
Share it with someone you know.

Cumbria Connect Research Assistant

Reference: JAN20240953
Expiry date: 2024-02-09 23:59:00.000
Location: Haweswater
Salary: £23,489.00 - £25,216.00 Per Annum
Benefits: Pension Scheme, Life Assurance Scheme, 26 days' Annual Leave
Duration:6 month
Attachments: CandidateGuidanceNotes2023.pdf

What’s the Role About?

Are you passionate about landscape-scale habitat restoration and helping to understand the environmental benefits that stem from such restoration? 

Cumbria Connect is a partnership initiative between RSPB, United Utilities, Lowther Estate, Natural England, and the Orton Fells Farm Cluster, funded by the Endangered Landscapes and Seascapes Programme (ELSP).  It aims to restore natural habitats, biodiversity, and ecosystem function across a 33,000ha project area in Cumbria. 

Underpinning all ELP-funded projects is a strong commitment to understanding responses of biodiversity and ecosystem services to restoration interventions.  Thus, we are looking to recruit a six-month contract Research Assistant to work within the Cumbria Connect science team to help with the delivery of our ambitious monitoring plan.  The post will contribute to the collection of data on a suite of indicators that monitor biodiversity and ecosystem service responses to habitat restoration.  This role would suit a talented field ecologist, who thrives working outdoors alone or in small teams in challenging conditions and is committed to the collection of excellent monitoring data to understand the impacts of restoration.

The successful post holder will be part of the RSPB Centre for Conservation Science but embedded within the Cumbria Connect team, and with strong links to RSPB’s Haweswater reserve.  The role will based either from the Cumbria Connect project office in Lowther or from RSPB’s Haweswater reserve office at Naddle Farm.

This post would be responsible for:

  • Mapping, identifying, and measuring tree saplings to monitor woodland regeneration.
  • Quadrat sampling of grassland and upland vegetation in monitoring plots.
  • Sampling moths using Heath traps and identifying to species.
  • Conducting bird point counts across different habitat types.
  • Collecting soil samples to monitor soil biological and physical responses to restoration.
  • Supporting any other data collection required by the project.
  • Accurate recording of data in the field and transcription to computer databases.

Essential skills, knowledge, & experience:

  • A degree in Ecology (or other relevant subject) or equivalent experience.
  • A strong understanding of upland ecology in the UK and key conservation issues.
  • Experience of working in UK upland landscapes and of using sampling techniques relevant to the project, including tree monitoring, plant quadrat sampling, moth trapping, bird surveying. 
  • An ability to be self-motivated, working alone or in small teams in challenging environments.
  • Practical scientific skills of a standard that provides the highest quality data.
  • Verbal communications skills to develop and maintain good relations with landowners and members of the public.
  • Experience of accurate recording of data and collating datasets.
  • A full, manual driving licence that is valid in the UK.

Desirable skills, knowledge, & experience:

  • Specialist identification skills in one or more of the following species groups: plants, trees, beetles, spiders, moths, or birds.


Additional Information:

This is a 6 month fixed-term, full-time role for 37.5 hours per week. The RSPB reserves the right to extend or make this role permanent without further advertising dependent on business needs at the end of the contract term.

Whilst the role will mainly be conducted on site, some homeworking is possible.

We are looking to conduct interviews for this position from 19/02/24. For further information please contact

As part of this application process you will be asked to provide a copy of your CV and complete an application form including evidence on how you meet the skills, knowledge, and experience listed above.

We are committed to developing an inclusive and diverse RSPB, in which everyone feels supported, valued, and able to be their full selves. To achieve our vision of creating a world richer in nature, we need more people, and more diverse people, on nature’s side. People of colour and disabled people are currently underrepresented across the environment, climate, sustainability, and conservation sector. If you identify as a person of colour and/or disabled, we are particularly interested in receiving your application. Contact us to discuss any additional support you may need to complete your application.

The RSPB is an equal opportunities employer. This role is covered by the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974.

This role is not eligible for UK Visa Sponsorship - the successful applicant will need to have a pre-existing Right to Work in the UK in order to be offered an employment contract.

Before applying for this role, we recommend reading through the candidate guidance notes attached to the top of this advert.