Senior Research Assistant

About the Organisation:

SEED Madagascar is a British Charity working in partnership with communities in the south east of Madagascar. We integrate high quality community health, rural livelihoods, education infrastructure and conservation programmes to support long term, sustainable change and add to international best practice through research and publication across all of our programmatic areas.

Position Overview

As the Senior Research Assistant (SRA) you will be responsible for leading the research team in the field, the day to day management of the research camp, and working alongside the SEED Conservation Research Program (SCRP) Coordinator in maintaining, developing, reporting on and expanding SEED’s research programme.

The Senior Research Assistant will work in collaboration with SEED Madagascar’s International and National staff, taking responsibility for data collection in the field to a high standard, providing day-to-day management of the field team, and data cleaning and working with the SCRP coordinator in analysis and reporting to donors and the international conservation community.

SEED’s research camp also hosts short term volunteers for between 2-8 weeks and the SRAs work alongside National and International staff to provide day-to-day management, pastoral support and training to the short term volunteers.

Title: Senior Research Assistant

Location: Fort Dauphin and Saint Luce, Anosy Region, Madagascar

Contract Type: 18 months extendable; basic local stipend of 1,500,000 Ar a month (food and transport paid in the field). Contribution to flights and insurance.

Reporting to: Conservation Research Program (SCRP) Coordinator

Duties and Responsibilities:

  1. Provide day-to-day management of the research programme and oversee camp organisation in the field alongside other support staff.
  2. Support the SCRP Coordinator and Research Assistants in writing standard protocols for each research project.
  3. Personally collect and manage a wide variety of data across all of SEEDs conservation projects to a high standard.
  4. Support the SCRP Coordinator in ensuring that data collection across the programme follows protocols and is at a publishable standard.
  5. Lead in training the research assistants and volunteers in field research techniques and ensuring consistency of data.
  6. Assist in the development of research projects, analysis of data and write up of research papers.
  7. Be the lead researcher on specific projects in the field taking on responsibility for the establishment of methodologies, organisation of data collection, input of data and leading data analysis.
  8. Work with other departments to develop cross-disciplinary projects.
  9. Support the Research Assistants to supervise volunteers during their time in the field including ad-hoc problem solving and pastoral care.
  10. Ensure good communication and team relations between volunteers, SEED Madagascar office based staff and local staff and ensure problems and concerns are reported.
  11. Take the lead in communicating with office-based staff including the Project development department, Head of Conservation and Environment and Director of Programmes and Operations.
  12. Ensure risk assessments are in place for each activity and these are adhered to by the team and volunteers. Contribute to the evaluation and updating of current risk assessments.
  13. Assist in writing quarterly internal and external reports for SEED and any collaborating partners.
  14. Work with the Executive Coordinator and SCRP Coordinator to develop the long-term vision of SCRP.
  15. Work alongside SEED’s Communication Officer in producing information for the website and social media.
  16. Represent SEED Madagascar in external meetings with other agencies, donors and partners on the ground in Madagascar and in the UK where required.
  17. Ensure all of SEEDs policies and procedures are evident throughout the work of the department, including those for safeguarding, whistleblowing and anti-corruption, and undertake continual training to ensure these are promoted at all times
  18. Any other tasks the Director/Project Coordinator deems necessary within the broad remit of this role.

Personal specification:

  • Have a Masters in a conservation related field, or a first degree with at least three years of field experience.
  • Have at least two years practical experience in field based research.
  • Previous experience with data handling, cleaning and statistical analysis using programming software.
  • Specialist knowledge of either primatology, herpetology, botany or environmental education is desirable.
  • Able to or willing to learn to safely handle and identify reptiles and amphibians.
  • Previous experience of collecting data with a working knowledge of GPS and/or GIS.
  • Hold a current First Aid certificate.
  • Demonstrate an understanding of and commitment to SEED Madagascar’s ethos and approach and be a good ambassador for SEED Madagascar at all times.
  • Have passion, curiosity and motivation for the job and the ability to enthuse others.
  • Have the ability and desire to work with teams from different economic and cultural backgrounds and across multiple language barriers.
  • Have the ability and desire to build capacity and share skills across cultures.
  • Demonstrate proven ability to recognise and appropriately deal with challenging situations.
  • Demonstrate an awareness of and comfort with increased social and professional responsibility, working at all times with cultural sensitivity and respect.
  • Demonstrate the ability, social skills and confidence to give clear guidance and support to other members of the team in respect of the philosophy and procedures of SEED Madagascar in order to protect both their safety and the reputation of the NGO.
  • Be punctual and be able to work to tight deadlines in an organised manner and to a high standard.
  • Have a flexible and patient attitude.
  • Have excellent problem-solving skills.
  • Be able to work both independently and as part of a team.

How to apply

Application procedure:

Interested applicants should send a CV and covering letter outlining how their skills and experience match the requirements in the role description criteria and detailing why they wish to be considered for this post to Lisa Bass by email on

Applications will be reviewed on an ongoing basis until the position is filled. Long-listed applicants will have an initial informal chat with Madagascar based staff and short-listed applicants will then be offered a face-to-face interview with the London team in person.

Deadline for applications: Wednesday 31st January at 23:59 GMT.

SEED Madagascar actively encourages equality, diversity, and inclusion in the workplace and aims to create a working environment free of bullying, harassment, victimisation, and unlawful discrimination, where individual differences and the contributions of all staff are recognised and valued.

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