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Biodiversity Systems Manager

Vacancy #:   250
Unit:   Species Cambridge Unit
Organization:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Species Programme Office, Cambridge, United Kingdom
Reporting to:   Deputy Director, Global Species Programme
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   SP
Expected start date:   01 February 2012
Type of contract:   Indefinite
Closing date:   22 July 2011 (extended)
The IUCN Global Species Programme, working with the Species Survival Commission (SSC), IUCN Red List Partners, and other experts around the world, manages IUCN’s ‘flagship knowledge product’, The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species ™, an extensive dataset and scientific framework on the status and distribution of species. This information is based on inputs from the voluntary expert network of the SSC, the Global Species Programme, and The IUCN Red List Partnership. Collecting, evaluating, maintaining, and disseminating peer-reviewed information on species requires information tools and processes that facilitate standardization of information, promote and encourage collaboration, and make the resulting information accessible and useable for conservation. The Species Information Service (SIS) has been IUCN’s central focus for providing tools for SSC information management, Red List production, and providing decision-support tools. In addition to SIS, information management needs include the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species website, collaborative projects with other organizations, biodiversity assessment projects such as the regional species assessments, and more.


Lead efforts to make The IUCN Red List the premiere website for obtaining and using species information. Manage and contribute to the ongoing development and maintenance of web-based information systems for collecting, evaluating, and maintaining species assessments for the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species and other species information. 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.

Line management responsibilities: This position will manage the GIS Manager and SIS Software Engineer.
1. Manage the SIS and Red List website infrastructure, which includes Linux-based servers operating on a cloud-based architecture; be responsible for all technical administration and implementation of the systems, including responding to/troubleshooting technical and performance issues.

2. 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.

3. Direct and coordinate all software development for SIS and the Red List website; participate in code review and acceptance processes; coordinate and participate in functional requirements and scoping processes; participate directly in code development as time permits.

4. Implement and manage a technical support function to provide user-level support to Global Species Programme staff, SSC Red List Authorities, and Red List Partners worldwide, and also to actual and potential users of IUCN-delivered species information and the IUCN Red List.

5. Working in close association with the Director of the Global Species Programme and with key stakeholders, maintain and refine SIS and the IUCN Red List website to further streamline the process of conducting species assessments from data collection through to dissemination to target audiences. At the same time it is necessary to manage expectation levels, and assess, on an ongoing basis, the feasibility and priority level of the work to be done.

6. 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.

7. 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.

8. Contribute to policies and processes related to species information produced by the SSC and other information providers contained within the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.

9. Working closely with colleagues in the Global Species Programme, in particular the Red List Unit staff, and IUCN Communications, 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.

10. 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.

11. Provide regular reports to the Head of the Global Species Programme, for distribution to Global Species Programme staff, IUCN senior management, the SSC Chair, and Steering Committee, and Red List Partners.
  • Masters degree or equivalent work experience in computer science, information systems, engineering, environmental science or a related field.

• Experience in setting direction, prioritizing development activities, and managing software development processes in an organization using Agile methodologies.

• 5+ years of infrastructure architecture experience with significant depth around designing, implementing, and managing critical cross-functional integration projects using cloud-based technologies.

• Expert level knowledge of Unix-based operating systems, advanced networking, and storage architectures.

• In-depth understanding of design patterns, including experience with mission critical application development.

• 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.

• Familiarity with ArcGIS and/or experience with the use and application of GIS tools would be advantageous.

• Knowledge of biological nomenclature and taxonomy, as well as electronic management of taxonomic information would be a distinct advantage.

• A keen interest in, and concern for the natural world and biodiversity conservation would be an advantage.

• Applicants must provide details of whether or not they are eligible to work in the UK. If not eligible at present, but they have applied for a work permit/visa, details of the application (particularly the Tier of Visa) must be provided.
The gross annual salary for this position is in the range from GBP 45'410 to GBP 56'762.

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: http://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 1,300 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.