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IBAT Lead Software Architect

Vacancy #:   6656
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:   Red List Systems Manager
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   M1
Expected start date:   18 March 2024
Type of contract:   Indefinite
Closing date:   17 January 2024 (extended)

IUCN is the world's oldest and largest global environmental network. It supports business to make decisions that are positive for nature through integrating data sets in the Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (IBAT).


IBAT is a web-based mapping and reporting tool used by companies, governments, researchers, and financial institutions to access global biodiversity datasets with which to make better decisions around the environment. IBAT has been developed and is maintained by the IBAT Alliance, a partnership of leading conservation organizations, including BirdLife International (BirdLife), Conservation International (CI), International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and UN Environment World Conservation Monitoring Centre (UNEP-WCMC). IBAT is a crucial link between the IBAT Alliance Partners and the private sector, and is the only way for commercial entities to access three of the most globally authoritative conservation datasets – The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, the World Database on Protected Areas, and the World Database of Key Biodiversity Areas. With over 200 clients (including the World Bank Group, Google, Rio Tinto and Nestlé), over 20,000 registered users and an annual budget of over $4m USD, IBAT also plays a critical cost recovery role in supporting, updating and maintaining these datasets. Through IBAT, the Alliance seeks to support both better decision-making and the improved collection, update and management of biodiversity data to inform those decisions. IBAT is key to the strategic response of the Alliance Partners to the UN’s Global Biodiversity Framework and features prominently in their plans for the next decade.

As Lead Software Architect, you are responsible for all aspects of the technical development of IBAT. Managing the IBAT engineering team, you will provide technical leadership, shape architectural decisions, and ensure the technical excellence of the IBAT platform. You will be responsible for setting the technical direction of IBAT, harnessing new technologies and approaches to ensure that IBAT can leverage the exponential growth of IBAT to provide better outcomes for biodiversity and ensure IBAT remains the world’s most authoritative biodiversity tool in a rapidly changing landscape. Reporting to the Conservation Informatics Manager in the IUCN Science and Data Centre, you will work closely with stakeholders across the IBAT Alliance to ensure the technical vision and strategy are aligned.


1. This position leads a team of developers that includes staff based in other organisations (e.g. UNEP-WCMC) and external consultants.
2. Provide technical leadership and guidance to the development team, ensuring the successful execution of projects
3. Oversee the architectural design of software solutions, ensuring they are scalable, maintainable, and aligned with best practices
4. Create and develop architecture in an agile environment
5. Drive technical innovation within the team by staying updated on the latest trends and advancements in web development and GIS
6. Lead the resolution of complex technical challenges, providing guidance and solutions to ensure project success
7. Identify skill gaps within the teams and facilitate training and skill development plans to enhance technical capabilities.
8. Ensure that development practices adhere to security, data privacy, and regulatory compliance standards.
9. Have a hands-on approach to coding and ensure the quality of the output meets the desired needs
10. Rigorous approach to testing and documentation
11. Facilitate technical discussions to uncover new insights and best practices.
12. Mentor and guide members of staff to ensure they are learning and progressing
  • A good first degree or higher in Computer Science / Software Engineering or similar field
• Minimum 5 years of commercial experience in a software development team
• Experience leading technical teams
• Strong experience in back-end development with significant knowledge of Ruby on Rails
• Demonstrable knowledge of using relational databases
• Comfortable using GIT/Version control
• Experience in front-end development with experience in HTML, CSS/SASS and JavaScript
• Continuous integration and deployment experience
• Delivering projects in an Agile environment
• Strong experience with Geographic Information Systems and relevant software such as ArcGIS and QGIS
• Web Mapping experience (using PostGIS, CartoDB or ArcGIS, and front-end mapping technologies such as Leaflet or Mapbox)
• Experience of managing positive relationships with multiple teams / external teams
• Ability to prioritise work
• Experience working with complex biodiversity databases/datasets.
• Ability and motivation to deliver high quality work
• Flexible approach to managing high workload with multiple tasks in a changing environment
• Excellent interpersonal and oral communication skills
• Logical, practical and creative approach to problem solving
• Fluency in English in required, other languages desirable

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: https://www.iucn.org/involved/jobs/

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 1,400 Member organisations and around 16,000 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.