Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund

Scientist - biodiversity research program

The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is seeking a talented scientist to join our biodiversity research program. The position is based out of the Karisoke Research Center, located in Musanze, Rwanda, and is an opportunity to work in the biodiversity-rich forests of Rwanda and eastern DR Congo. The successful applicant will join a team of over 100 field workers working at the Fossey Fund's three field sites in Rwanda and in DR Congo. It is anticipated to be a two year position with potential for extension and/or long-term collaboration.

The successful candidate will work on applied projects relating to biodiversity (excluding gorillas) assessment and monitoring, and there is also the potential to work in areas related to ecosystem functioning, ecosystem restoration, water management, land use planning and climate-change adaptation planning. Primary position responsibilities will include evaluating: 1) current biodiversity monitoring and other research programs and adapting as appropriate to ensure appropriate and effective monitoring of key biodiversity species; 2) critical threats to the VNP ecosystem; and 3) important indicators of the health and viability of the VNP ecosystem. Other key responsibilities will include identifying and coordinating collaborative research opportunities; identifying and applying for grant funding to support programs; mentoring staff and students in biodiversity research and analytical techniques; publishing and presenting results of studies to variety of audiences (management, scientists, tourists); representing the organization at relevant meetings, workshops and scientific conferences.


We are looking for a motivated individual with a strong science background and excellent communication skills to join our team. A PhD in a biology, wildlife ecology, or related field and experience working in a field setting is required. Important skills include proficiencies in statistical analysis of ecological data, including large datasets; GIS and spatial analysis; database use and management; experience using data analysis and modelling platforms such as R or Python; publishing in peer-reviewed journals; and project management skills. The candidate must be able to synthesize information from a variety of sources and communicate findings clearly in technical reports, scientific publications and presentations.

Essential criteria:

  • Excellent understanding of sophisticated analytical approaches for ecological data
  • Good publication record
  • Broad scientific background in a variety of ecological approaches
  • A holistic approach to ecological research, incorporating population dynamics, resource availability, community ecology, ecosystem functioning and ecosystem stability
  • Experience in conducting research on a range of taxa (particularly indicator groups), and a range ecological fields such as soil science, ecological interactions, climate change, ecosystem functioning, etc.
  • A solid understanding of ecological principles
  • Experience developing and implementing biodiversity research programs
  • Experience in project or task management, including overseeing staff, budgets, schedules, and deliverables;


  • Strong field identification skills for wildlife and plants (desirable);
  • Experience setting up long-term biodiversity monitoring programs through direct and indirect (e.g. camera traps) assessment;
  • Ability and expertise to study an ecosystem at the organism, population, community and ecosystem level, including both biotic and abiotic factors;
  • Experience of fieldwork planning, scheduling and logistics;
  • Ability to assess landscape physical and ecological change over time using contemporary and historical data sources;
  • Ability to apply original research to develop management strategies;
  • Experience in sophisticated statistical analysis, including population modeling;
  • Experience in establishing collaborations and leading partnerships;
  • Teaching or supervising experience at undergraduate level or higher;
  • Experience in scientific mentoring of staff and students;
  • Experience managing and analysing large datasets;
  • Prior experience with biodiversity assessment in Africa

To apply, please send a cover letter, resume and a list of three references by October 1 to hlaw@gorillafund.org. Please include "biodiversity research position" in the subject line of your email. No phone calls please.

About the Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund: The Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund is dedicated to the conservation and protection of gorillas and their habitats in Africa, through research, conservation action, education and partnerships. Founded by Dian Fossey as the Digit Fund and renamed after her death, the Fossey Fund operates the Karisoke Research Center in Rwanda, and maintains a staff of 115 who work in and around the Volcanoes National Park. DFGFI also employs a staff of 45 individuals operating at two field sites in eastern DR Congo and participates in critical conservation, health, and community development projects in both Rwanda and DRC. For more information about DFGFI, visit www.gorillafund.org.

published: 08 September 2017     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.