Specialist - Physical Oceanography

The Pacific Community (SPC) invites applications for the position of Specialist - Physical Oceanography located at its regional office in Suva, Fiji.


The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our organisation works across more than 20 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.

The Geoscience Energy and Maritime Division provides advice, technical assistance, research and training support to Pacific Island countries and territories (PICTs). There are three (3) areas of scientific programming and two areas of focus within this division:

  1. Oceans and Maritime Programme (OMP) - assists member countries with services that provide applied ocean science and knowledge for evidence-based policy-making and technical solutions for improved ocean and maritime governance, management and capacity development.
  2. Georesources and Energy Programme (GEP) - assists member countries by applying technical knowledge in the areas of geoscience and sustainable energy use.
  3. Disaster and Community Resilience Programme (DCRP) - assists member countries to demonstrate strengthened resilience through integrated action on disaster risk management, climate change adaptation, natural resource management and increased access to water and sanitation.

The other two focus areas within this division are Programming and Operations, which is responsible for driving integrated programming excellence and operational support across the division, and Geoinformatics, which is responsible for providing diverse, integrated, and unique and demand-driven services across SPC work programmes, projects and countries.

The Specialist - Physical Oceanography is responsible for effective timely development, and implementation of hydrodynamic numerical models throughout the Pacific Region. The primary focus will be on coastal hazard modelling and the development of coastal impact forecasting tools. Within the framework of Geoscience, Energy and Maritime Division, the jobholder will also ensure that partners and stakeholders have the understanding and skills to use the products and information developed, and that model data are relevant and accessible.

The key responsibilities of the role include:

  • Project support and implementation
  • Hydrodynamic numerical modeling
  • Training and information transfer

For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the job description provided.

Key selection criteria


  • A master's degree in coastal engineering or oceanography

Knowledge and experience

  • At least 5 years of experience on applied multidisciplinary projects, including modelling and solving problems related to hydrodynamics of coastal systems such as waves, circulation, dispersion, pollution surge, storm surge, and tsunami inundation
  • Experience with oceanographic field instrumentation used in coastal and nearshore surveys
  • Sound knowledge of operational wave forecasting and physical processes relating to coastal inundation in tropical reef-fringed environments
  • Experience with computer programming and specialised physical oceanographic and open source modelling software packages, specifically Delft3D-FM and XBeach
  • Strong knowledge on setting up fieldwork instrument such as wave buoys, gauges, and water level recorders
  • Advanced knowledge in remote sensing applications relating to shallow water coastal environments
  • meteorological knowledge and weather patterns
  • Familiarity with the various strategies, frameworks, and roadmaps that guide climate change adaptation and disaster risk in the Pacific region

Essential skills

  • Expert level computer literacy and up-to-date numerical modelling skills such as SWAN, WW3 and GIS platform such as QGIS
  • Ability to program using platforms such as Python and Matlab
  • Sound knowledge of Linux platform
  • Ability to master new technology quickly
  • Prepare digital and written reports as well as interpretive products
  • Excellent data processing, analytical and interpretation skills
  • Ability to provide necessary training and transfer of skills as demanded by the project
  • Aptitude for the provision of high quality service
  • Management of modelling data and updating online portals with information
  • Ability to prioritise and meet deadlines

Language skills

  • Excellent English communication skills (oral and written) with a working knowledge of French being an advantage

Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Ability to work in a multicultural, inclusive and equitable environment

Salary, terms and conditions

Contract Duration - Until 31 December 2020

Remuneration - The Specialist - Physical Oceanography is a Band 10 position in SPC's 2019 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 2,451?3,063 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately FJD 7,229-9,037 (USD 3,480-4,350; EUR 2,934-3,667). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will normally be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. Remuneration of expatriate SPC staff members is not subject to income tax in Fiji; Fiji nationals employed by SPC in Fiji will be subject to income tax.

Benefits for international employees based in Fiji - SPC provides a housing allowance of FJD 1,170-2,625 per month. Establishment and relocation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave, medical and life insurance and education allowances are available for eligible employees and their recognised dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and 30 days of sick leave per annum, and access to SPC's Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).

Languages - SPC's working languages are English and French.

Equal opportunity - SPC is an equal opportunity employer. Recruitment is based entirely on merit; in cases where two short-listed candidates are judged to be of equal rank by the selection committee, preference will be given to Pacific Island nationals.

Child protection - SPC is committed to child protection, irrespective of whether any specific area of work involves direct contact with children. SPC's Child Protection Policy is written in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.

Police clearance - Successful candidates will be required to provide a police clearance certificate.

Application procedure

Closing Date - 13 March 2019

Applicants must apply online at http://careers.spc.int/

Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.

For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:

  • an updated resume
  • contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions

Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.

Applicants should not attach copies of qualifications or letters of reference. These documents may be requested at a later stage.

For international staff in Fiji, only one foreign national per family can be employed with an entity operating in Fiji at any one given time. The Pacific Community does not support dual spouse employment.

Please ensure that you respond to all the screening questions. If you do not respond to the screening questions, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage.

Screening Questions:

  1. What are the dominant processes involved in a swell driven inundation event on fringing reef environments?
  2. Please describe the overall hydrodynamics of an atoll environment.
  3. If stakeholders from a Pacific Island country or territory were seeking advice for mitigating erosion and inundation on a remote coastal community, how would you respond?

published: 18 February 2019     Please mention EARTHWORKS when responding to this advertisement.