Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Research Assistant (Applied Ethology)

Research Assistant (Applied Ethology)
Conservation Medicine Division

Chester Zoo is one of the leading zoological collections in Europe, with an international reputation for achieving its mission in biodiversity conservation, including conservation breeding programmes, research and education. The Zoo has a well-established Conservation Medicine Division, which includes scientists working in applied ethological roles, as well as in veterinary, nutrition and endocrinology.

We have a vacancy for a Research Assistant, offering the successful candidate an opportunity to obtain practical experience in applying research in a unique conservation environment for those wishing to go on to a career in behavioural research. This is an 11-month fixed term contract commencing September 2010 and finishing August 2011, offering £12,394.20 per annum. Hours of work are 35 hours per week, from 9.00 a.m. to 5.00 p.m. (with a one-hour unpaid lunch break), on weekdays.

The Assistant works alongside the Research Officer, gaining in-depth knowledge of various areas of zoo research, especially behavioural research. Much of the job is computer-based, and essential parts of the work include maintaining the research database, dealing with enquiries (mostly by email and telephone) from prospective researchers on all types of zoo research, co-ordinating the review of research proposals
and biological sample requests, co-ordinating approved research projects, and reviewing dissertations. The Assistant will also be expected to work independently on a specific ex-situ research project, relating to animal behaviour and welfare. It is expected that the Assistant will present the results of this work at a conference, and will produce a publishable project report, by the end of the contract. The Assistant is also expected to be closely involved in environmental enrichment programmes at the Zoo.

What we are looking for:

By the application deadline, you must have already successfully graduated with an animal-behaviour related degree at Bachelor’s or post-graduate level (giving theoretical and practical experience in this field), and you will also be able to demonstrate:

􀂃 The ability to work well in a busy, shared office environment, and have excellent organisational and critical-thinking skills;

􀂃 Excellent communication and customer service skills, both in written and in spoken form (including giving presentations, and a strong command of written English);

􀂃 A desire to assist and advise others, which includes enjoying working with students and other researchers, as well as Zoo staff from all levels and departments across the Zoo;

􀂃 Some experience of working in zoos (e.g. during paid or voluntary zoo work-experience, or during data collection for a zoo-related dissertation), and demonstration of an active interest in zoo biology, with special emphasis on animal behaviour, welfare and husbandry-related issues;

􀂃 The ability to work as an individual and also as part of a team, with a reliable and conscientious attitude;

􀂃 An empathy to the mission of Chester Zoo;

􀂃 Clear benefits to your career progression if successful in obtaining this position;

􀂃 Experience and skill in designing and carrying out behavioural research projects, including data collection, data processing and analysis on PCs. Familiarity with ‘SPSS’ and ‘The Observer’ programmes are advantageous, but not essential, as is further animal behaviour research experience (in addition to the Bachelor’s degree).

How to Apply:

Applications should include: a relevant, detailed covering letter, a short sample of the applicant’s own written work (e.g. an excerpt from an article, essay, or dissertation (max. 1 side of A4), and a completed application form.

To obtain the form, please phone the recruitment line on 01244 389477, or email

Applicants would be expected to fund their travel and relocation costs if successful.
Closing date: 25th June 2010. Interviews will be held for this position.

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