The Department of Geography at the University at Buffalo (UB) and Department of Biological Sciences at the University of Cape Town (UCT) invites applicants for an “Applications Coordinator” position as part of the NASA-funded biodiversity field campaign in South Africa (bioscape.io). The BioSCape Airborne Campaign will deploy three imaging spectrometers (AVIRIS-NG, PRISM, and HyTES) and one LiDAR instrument (LVIS) from two aircraft over the Greater Cape Floristic Region (terrestrial and aquatic realms) in South Africa. In combination with field observations, the campaign will provide data for scientists to understand the structure, function, and composition of the region’s ecosystems, and learn about how and why they are changing in time and space. This position will be supervised by the Science Team Leadership, Adam M Wilson at the UB, Erin Hestir at the University of California at Merced, Jasper Slingsby at UCT, and Anabelle Cardoso at UB/UCT.
The job of the “Applications Coordinator” is to enhance and document the decision-making-relevance of the individual BioSCape research projects with our South African partner institutions. The primary objective of this position is to identify how to leverage BioSCape and other remotely sensed data to address the needs of key decision-makers in the region and internationally. The “Applications Coordinator” will demonstrate the utility of BioSCape products for societal benefit by working with data end users to identify and communicate potential applications. This includes creating, building, and maintaining good relationships within and between international (primarily those in the United States) and South African institutions. This will be accomplished by conducting stakeholder meetings and pinpointing ways that BioSCape data can support decision-making processes and varied biodiversity applications. The coordinator will also work with the NASA-funded BioSCape projects to find and execute synergies between their research and the region’s application needs. Throughout the process, the coordinator will document the ways in which South African and international stakeholders have applied BioSCape research.
The key potential activities of the “Applications Coordinator” include:
Stakeholder meetings and presentations: The “Applications coordinator” will be responsible for conducting regular meetings and presentations with US-based and South African members of the BioSCape Science Team and other BioSCape stakeholders, with the intention of fostering collaboration and maintaining goodwill between all parties. The coordinator will leverage these meetings to identify opportunities for BioSCape data to be applied in South Africa, as well as potential risks for decreased utility. The coordinator will also design new communication strategies to reach potential new BioSCape data users and support them in accessing the data, integrating it into their existing processes, and developing new ways to apply the data. The coordinator will thus be responsible for articulating key BioSCape applications benefits, supporting applications readiness, and soliciting and receiving feedback from stakeholders throughout the process.
Data Distribution, Data Management, and Training: The “Applications coordinator” will meet with potential data users throughout the campaign to ensure that they are aware of when the BioSCape data will become available and how they can access it. Depending on user needs, the coordinator may also assist with processing the data into a form that is useful for them. This activity may also require the coordinator to perform some capacity-building and training activities. The coordinator will help implement planned BioSCape-related training and will work with the Science Team members to improve coordination and dissemination of training and workshop activities planned by various Science Team members. The coordinator will also be responsible for creating and updating the “Data Access” section of the BioSCape website, which directs data users to where they can find the data they need.
Applications Documentation: The “Applications coordinator” will work with the BioSCape leadership team to identify and communicate how information from the BioSCape project is being used by project partners. This will likely include one-page ‘white papers’ illustrating applications using easy-to-understand language and graphics. The coordinator will also serve as a bridge between the BioSCape Science Team and the BioSCape Documentary Filmmakers. The coordinator’s role will be to distill the key applications research of the Science Team and help ensure that these messages are captured by the filmmakers. The coordinator will also be responsible for creating and executing BioSCape’s media and communications strategy.
BioSCape Applications Workshops: BioSCape is planning on holding multiple application-focused workshops. The “Applications Coordinator” will help organize and document these workshops. This will include pre-workshop stakeholder engagement and relationship building, creating an agenda that maximizes the utility of the available workshop hours, and assistance with workshop planning, logistics, execution, and reporting.
Additionally, there is scope for the coordinator to pursue research activities aligned with their role on a part-time basis. Research linking BioSCape data to the measurement or use of Ecosystem Services or to biodiversity management or policy decisions would be particularly relevant.
Creating, building, and maintaining good relationships with South African institutions.
Conducting stakeholder meetings and pinpointing ways that BioSCape data can support decision making processes and varied biodiversity applications.
Teaching data end-users how to access and use the BioSCape data as well as other relevant remote sensing data products.
Working with the BioSCape projects to find and execute synergies between their research and South Africa’s application needs.
Document the ways in which BioSCape research is being applied by South African end users.
National and international travel following current state and federal guidance.
Masters degree in a scientific discipline related to remote sensing, engineering, ecology, geography, or a related field.
Understanding of airborne and satellite remote sensing data and its uses and limitations.
Understanding of South African biodiversity and the surrounding socio-ecological issues.
Excellent interpersonal, communication, collaboration, and conflict resolution skills.
Ability to work independently and in an interdisciplinary research team.
Strong oral and written communication skills.
PhD degree in a scientific discipline related to remote sensing, engineering, ecology, geography, or a related field.
Experience in facilitating discussions with user communities and enhancing mutual understanding and partnerships among scientists, data users, policy makers, and the public, as well as other stakeholders.
Experience in planning, organizing, and leading virtual and in-person workshops/conferences/meetings, capacity building sessions, and outreach activities.
Familiarity with downloading and processing airborne and satellite remote sensing data, or a willingness to learn.
Experience in collaborating with non-university institutions, especially those within South Africa.
Peer reviewed publications or a demonstrated understanding of remote sensing applications for biodiversity and/or ecosystem services and/or biodiversity management or policy decisions.
Expertise and experience with user-centered design thinking, research to operation/knowledge frameworks, and co-production of scientific knowledge.
To apply, please submit a single PDF with the following items via the upload link:
1) a 1-2 page cover letter describing your experience, particularly as it relates to airborne remote sensing and biodiversity, research interests, and why you are a strong candidate for this position,
2) your C.V.,
3) 1-3 recent first-author publication(s) relevant to this position and/or links to relevant projects you have contributed to, and
4) the names and contact details (email and phone number) of three referees.
The position will remain open until filled, but candidates should submit their applications by September 23, 2022 for full consideration. We are targeting a November start date. We anticipate that the selected candidate will work largely remotely and be based in Cape Town, South Africa. Compensation for this position is $45k-55k p.a. depending on experience.
Please contact Adam Wilson (firstname.lastname@example.org) and Anabelle Cardoso (email@example.com) if you have any questions!
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