Research Manager
Earthwatch Institute - Boston, MA

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Role Description

The objective of this role is to provide the framework, strategic direction and leadership for Earthwatch’s global research programme around sustainable landscapes and ecosystems.

The Research Manager will provide the scientific vision necessary to identify important issues, work interdepartmentally and across regions to help design programs to address core issues pertinent to the Research Area, and to produce high quality proposals that lead to funding from corporations, foundations and individuals to expand the programs further.

You will need to work closely with counterparts in the learning team to develop integrated programs that engage target audiences in our research priorities, and inspire them to value the environment and prioritise it in their everyday choices and decision-making.

Your focus is on building a worldwide network of high impact research projects and programs around your Research Area which:

Deliver scientific knowledge to both scientific and lay-audiences,
Create experiences which lead to the development of environmental leaders and more sustainable organizations
Contribute to policies, management plans, processes and practices which are more sustainable
Contribute to pro-environmental actions, and
Improve environmental sustainability by improving the conservation status of threatened species, habitats, and cultural heritage, increasing ecosystem services, and improving the livelihoods of local communities.

  • By excellent experience we mean:
High quality field research which increases knowledge, informs policy and delivers positive environmental impacts
Transformational learning which enables changes in knowledge, skills or behaviour
Responsibly managed activities, which follow our safety and EMS standards
Inspiring engagement with staff, scientists, participants and partners that makes them want to belong to the Earthwatch community

Key Areas of Responsibility

a. Global lead on research area (e.g. Landscapes and ecosystems (inc. Forests, Sustainable Agriculture), refining and overseeing implementation of Earthwatch’s strategy for your Research Area, including design and assessment of research projects, working with internal staff (globally) and external partners to help develop and implement global research area plans.

b. Providing relevant input and support on regional plans, with a focus on your Research Area

c. Deliver key research program objectives for relevant funded projects..

d. Lead development on global request for proposals (rfps) for research area and Research sign off on global projects in Research Area.

e. Lead, write and contribute to individual research projects and delivery of scientific knowledge to both scientific and lay-audiences. Staying current with relevant Research Areas.

f. Development and maintenance of strategic global research partnerships that enhance mission delivery & support regional learning partnerships. Recruiting new prospective researchers and institutions to ensure the field research and scientific outputs of the Earthwatch supported programs have highest impact

g. Ensure effective delivery of key outcomes to agendas, and management plans; contribution to major International Initiatives for the Research Area; contribute to legacy in project communities. Contribute to International conventions and major international organizations for the Research Area program (e.g. CBD, Ramsar, IUCN, UNESCO).

h. Work closely with Development, Regional Heads of Programme and Senior Program Managers to secure funding for programs, and engage potential PIs and science partners on proposal development. Supports regional requests as needed, and supporting regional SMEs on proposal issues.

i. Coordinate and manage Measures of Success for projects within Research Area, setting annual targets and performing annual assessment of impacts and targets for Research Area.

j. Coordinate and support publications and presentations on research and citizen science

k. Communicate about Earthwatch’s research programmes at relevant conferences and events to raise the profile of Earthwatch’s programmes, developing a compelling communications strategy with the CMO which builds our reputation with potential partners and participants

Key Relationships and Interface

A key requirement of this role is the effective collaboration with other parts of the organisation across functions and regions, funders and external partners.

Strategic relationship management of key scientists and their institutions, developing a loyal Earthwatch science community
Key relationship with Regional Programme Heads, ensuring understanding of global research strategy and agreement on priority areas for investment, as well as strategic alignment with regional operating plans
Key collaboration with regional program managers to deliver and build organisational capacity to deliver high impact research programmes
Close interface with learning SMEs to design & manage environmental educational and learning curricula around key PRAs or projects, including integrated online programmes
Interface with 3rd party partners involved in delivery of research programmes
Working with other Directors of SME’s to ensure consistency in SME leadership for the programme regions, and alignment of mission goals and investment
Working with CDO and Development team to collaboratively generate revenue for identified research priorities and to provide technical research input/support to the development of new proposals as required
Interface with Communications teams to ensure the business case for engagement in our research programmes is clearly articulated, and impacts appropriately communicated to Earthwatch stakeholders


You are an established Ph.D. scientist with a track record of leading scientific programs that address major environmental issues. You have significant expertise and qualifications in design, strategy and evaluation of global research projects which lead to improved environmental sustainability by:

Contributing a better understanding of the issues and
Where the results of the research are actively being applied to improve management plans, policies and local action.

You have deep understanding of the environmental sustainability agenda, and how to develop integrated field research programs based on high quality peer-reviewed science whereby people can participate and contribute meaningfully to the research and through that experience promote changes in attitude, commitment and behaviour leading to a more sustainable way of life.

Experience is required in managing the engagement, development, effectiveness and results of direct and virtual teams, sometimes working in other regions and functions. You need a strong track record in working with global teams and with teams based in core Earthwatch regions such as Asia and Latin America, as well being proactive and consultative in your approach to fundraising, project and team management.

The position requires a strong writer, with editing and research skills as demonstrated through publications, and outstanding verbal, written communication and facilitation skills. It is important to have a proven track record in generating significant funding from private foundations, government, and/or intergovernmental bodies. Written/spoken fluency in English is required. Fluency in additional language(s) strongly preferred.

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