Conservation Informatics Manager

  • Location:
  • Salary:
  • Job type:
  • Posted:
    2 weeks ago
  • Category:
    Engineering, Information and Telecommunication Technology, Others
  • Deadline:
    December 11, 2022


Vacancy #: 6222
Unit: Biodiversity assessment and knowledge
Organisation: International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location: Cambridge Office, Cambridge, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Reporting to: Head, Biodiversity Assessment and Knowledge
Work percentage: 100%
Grade: M1
Expected start date: 01 January 2023
Type of contract: Indefinite
Closing date: 11 December 2022

This role is IUCN’s lead on the provision of biodiversity data and applications to conserve species, ecosystems and protected areas. The position sits within IUCN’s new Science and Data Centre and is directly responsible for managing the technologies (software and applications) and
resources (hardware, budgets and people) that underpins the delivery of IUCN’s mission critical
biodiversity data related products, services and standards. It requires a broad range of knowledge and skills and provides the opportunity to further expand the Conservation Informatics team.

The primary duty is to oversee all information technology related to the world renowned ‘IUCN
Red List of Threatened Species’ (the IUCN Red List). The IUCN Red List is the world’s most
authoritative source of information on the extinction risk of species. It is IUCN’s flagship project and is the catalyst for conservation worldwide, used by governments, business and civil society.
The role will also ensure complementarity and consistency between IUCN’s programmatic
information technology and its corporate Global Information Systems. Other key duties include
overseeing and supporting the delivery and development of technologies that underpin other
global biodiversity data sets based on IUCN standards (e.g. Red List of Ecosystems, Key
Biodiversity Areas), and tools such as the Restoration Barometer and the emerging IUCN’s
Contributions for Nature Platform.

This role therefore requires a broad knowledge of technologies and applications relating to data
management and dissemination, including large geo-spatial datasets and online platforms. With
a small team of specialist staff and consultants the Manager will ensure that all new developments requiring IUCN’s biodiversity data are professionally designed and delivered. The role presents significant opportunity to design creative solutions using global biodiversity data to assist society tackle the nature and climate crisis.
The role has reporting lines through to the Director, Science and Data Centre and Director, Global Information Systems Group.


Manage IUCN Science and Data Inputs into IUCN’s Strategic Investments

Oversee the technical aspects of delivering the strategic priority investments under the
Director General’s special initiatives, including:

o IUCN’s new Contributions for Nature Platform, including the provision of data on species and carbon as well as integration with other data sets, platforms and processes (both externally and internally)
o Designing and delivering the new STAR web service platform within the IUCN Red List for provisioning the Contributions for Nature platform, as well as the emerging Nature-Positive pathway
o Designing and delivering the integration of the Centre’s biodiversity data with the emerging Nature-based Solutions Assurance scheme

Define, manage and monitor a system and data architecture to ensure that products and
datasets are joined, or integrated, where necessary.

Liaise with the Global information Systems Group in order to ensure a suitable
architecture and integration of systems, especially as it relates to IUCN’s Members,
Commissions, corporate services and any other data components managed globally.

Manage The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website, databases and applications

• Manage the Species Information Service (SIS) database and Red List website
infrastructure, which includes Linux-based servers operating on a cloud-based architecture
• Develop and manage the workflow for the generation of the Red List Index and its disaggregations: from data capture to the automated generation of the index, connected to the Red List website
• Develop and manage the workflow to produce Area of Habitat (AoH) maps from the species range maps, and publish these through the IUCN Red List
• Develop and manage the workflow to produce updated STAR layers
• Overall responsibility for all technical administration and implementation of the information systems, including responding to/troubleshooting technical and performance issues
• Direct and coordinate all software development relating to SIS and the Red List website, including code review and acceptance processes, coordination and participation in functional requirements and scoping processes, and participate directly in code development as time permits
• Maintain and refine SIS and the IUCN Red List website to further streamline the process of conducting Red List and Green Status species assessments from data collection through to dissemination to target audiences.
• Overall responsibility for the delivery of the IUCN Red List website and its maintenance and development
• Oversee the continuous improvement of tools and services for better serving the IUCN Red List such as the Red List APIs, SIS Connect, and potential new tools
• Oversee involvement where IUCN Red List data are used and informed by data gathered through external initiatives (e.g. sRedlist, Species360, National Red List website, etc.).
• Develop, and coordinate updates to the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website, including loading of new data, cosmetic and design improvements and improvements to the usability and functionality of the site.

Manage and Advise on Integration between Biodiversity Data Sets

• Oversee the technical aspects of delivering IUCN’s Restoration Barometer web tool
• Closely work with relevant partner institutions and internal teams for generating and maintaining Area of Habitat maps for IUCN Red List species range maps
• Advise on the development and integration of other “data or knowledge products” based on IUCN’s global standards, (including The World Database on Protected Areas (jointly with UNEP WCMC); the Red List of Ecosystems, the Restoration Barometer, EICAT, Green List of Protected and Conserved Areas, World Heritage Outlook and the World Key Biodiversity Areas Database) especially regarding future developments in line with the emerging Business Plans for the four programmatic Centres.

Manage the Biodiversity Data and Application resources

• Provide technical/managerial leadership to a cross-functional team which includes GIS staff, software development and support team members, other internal customers,
external vendors and technology/programmatic partners
• Recruit and manage IT professionals as well as manage key vendor relationships required to maintain SIS as an integrated system for the decentralized management of species information while respecting the rights of information providers. Continue to develop and improve the Red List website and work with partners and other conservation organizations to provide synergistic tools and information products.
• Seek funds to continue to develop, maintain, and support critically important tools for
managing and disseminating species information, including SIS and the Red List website. Ensure adequate reporting and build good relationships with donors
• Develop and implement a detailed project management plan for the ongoing development and maintenance of species information tools, working closely with the SSC Red List Technical Working Group which is responsible for providing strategic advice.

Supervisory Responsibilities

Direct line management of a team of IT specialists, including but not restricted to geospatial
analysts and software developers, as well as numerous consultants and service providers (either
remotely or in Cambridge). Currently the team consists of three staff members in grades P1, P2
and SP based in Cambridge and Switzerland.


• Work closely with Red List Partners and other organizations to maximize the potential and reach of species information — evaluate and advise on collaboration opportunities and data/information sharing practices. Plan and lead IUCN’s involvement in such collaborative projects involving species information
• Lead role in IUCN’s contribution to the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool, including representing IUCN on the Technical Sub-Committee, managing the transfer and update of Red List data between IUCN and IBAT and advising the IUCN Governance Committee representative
• Liaise directly with internal (e.g. regions, corporate units and programmes) and external
stakeholders (e.g. GBIF, BirdLife International) to ensure timely and appropriate completion of priority IUCN work
• Primary advisor available to senior leadership in the Biodiversity Conservation Group,
and other groups (e.g. Nature Based Solutions for the Red List of Ecosystems) on all matters related to information technology, including interactions with stakeholders and partners.

• Masters degree or equivalent work experience in computer science, information systems, engineering, environmental science or a related field.
• Knowledge of biological nomenclature and taxonomy, as well as electronic management of taxonomic information would be a distinct advantage
• Extensive infrastructure architecture experience with significant depth around designing, implementing, and managing critical cross-functional integration projects using cloud-based technologies.
• Experience in setting direction, prioritizing development activities, and managing software development processes in an organization using Agile methodologies
• Expert level knowledge of Unix-based operating systems, advanced networking, and storage architectures.
• Experience with ArcGIS and/or experience with the use and application of GIS tools would be advantageous.
• In-depth understanding of design patterns, including experience with mission critical
application development.
• Experience in modern web development platforms, including, Ruby on Rails, NodeJS, Javascript, responsive libraries like ReactJS, and Python
• Good experience with main databases, particularly PostgreSQL/PostGIS, and be aware of modern database technologies
• Familiarity with JAVA, J2EE, Swing, Google Web Toolkit and Ruby web framework.
• Familiarity with PostgreSQL and other enterprise relational database systems
• Excellent communication, writing, and presentation skills
• A keen interest in, and concern for the natural world and biodiversity conservation would be an advantage.
• Fluency in spoken and written English and preferably one other IUCN language (Spanish or French)

Applicants are requested to apply online through the HR Management System, by opening the vacancy announcement and pressing the “Apply” button.

Applicants will be asked to create an account and submit their profile information. Applications will not be accepted after the closing date. The vacancy closes at midnight, Swiss time (GMT+1 / GMT+2 during Daylight Saving Time, DST). Please note that only selected applicants will be personally contacted for interviews.

Other job opportunities are published in the IUCN website:

About IUCN

IUCN is a membership Union uniquely composed of both government and civil society organisations. It provides public, private and non-governmental organisations with the knowledge and tools that enable human progress, economic development and nature conservation to take place together.

Created in 1948, IUCN is now the world’s largest and most diverse environmental network, harnessing the knowledge, resources and reach of more than 1,300 Member organisations and some 10,000 experts. It is a leading provider of conservation data, assessments and analysis. Its broad membership enables IUCN to fill the role of incubator and trusted repository of best practices, tools and international standards.

IUCN provides a neutral space in which diverse stakeholders including governments, NGOs, scientists, businesses, local communities, indigenous peoples organisations and others can work together to forge and implement solutions to environmental challenges and achieve sustainable development.

Working with many partners and supporters, IUCN implements a large and diverse portfolio of conservation projects worldwide. Combining the latest science with the traditional knowledge of local communities, these projects work to reverse habitat loss, restore ecosystems and improve people’s well-being.