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IBAT Technical Officer

Vacancy #:   5713
Unit:   Species Cambridge Unit
Organisation:   International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN)
Location:   Cambridge Office, Cambridge, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
Reporting to:   Biodiversity Systems Manager
Work percentage:   100%
Grade:   P2
Expected start date:   01 September 2021
Type of contract:   Fixed-term (36 months with possibility of renewal)
Closing date:   17 September 2021
The Integrated Biodiversity Assessment Tool (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 hundreds of users (including WWF, the World Bank Group, Shell and Mitsubishi) and an annual budget of over 1m 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 Post 2020 Global Biodiversity Framework and features prominently in their plans for the next decade.
As Technical Officer, you will be the primary individual responsible for the continued day to day operation and improvement of IBAT. Ensuring the uptime of IBAT and that the data is accurate and up to date is a critical responsibility, given the potential serious implications for both revenue and the reputation of the IBAT Alliance partners in the event of unexpected downtime or data inaccuracies. Supported as appropriate by the Technical Sub-Committee and external consultants, you will be responsible for ensuring that IBAT meets the needs of our expanding global customer base in performing critical biodiversity risk screening. In this role you will be required to maintain and update the existing IBAT system and underlying data assets, scope and implement new features as directed by the IBAT Manager and sub-committees, provide technical support and troubleshooting to a wide range of clients, and advise and support the IBAT Secretariat and IBAT sub-committees on all matters relating to the technical implementation and
operation of IBAT. This position reports to the Biodiversity Systems Manager in the IUCN Global Species Programme, and the IBAT Manager.

The Technical Officer should be keen and passionate about contributing to state of the art web applications and making an impact on conservation of biodiversity. They will work closely with a network of conservation scientists, other web and geospatial experts, and will be responsible for maintaining and building on the current unique and modern IBAT web platform.

We are looking for a developer who would be a keen self-motivated technology enthusiast, who is not daunted by trying out new technologies and be able to think outside the box, with an eye for optimisation, performance, security and understand the complexities of data management. The Developer would be expected to work and manage the full-stack of a critical web application - and should be confident working under the supervision of the IBAT Technical Committee, which oversees the ongoing development of the web application.

Main responsibilities

● Development and maintenance of IBAT web-based systems
Lead role in maintaining and improving current web systems and developing new web systems for a
variety of projects. Common responsibilities include:
• Scope, architect and implement new features
• Implementation of a robust set of services and APIs to power the web application
• Building reusable code and libraries
• Implementation of secure systems and data protection
• Creation and translation of UI/UX wireframes to visual web elements
• Integration of front-end and back-end aspects of the web application
• Integration of application with third party services and APIs
• Integrate unit and feature testing as part of development process, specifically using test
driven development (TDD)
• Learning new technologies and staying on top of trends in web development
• Undertake user needs assessments
• Strong focus on quality of outputs

● Data management
• Analyse, manipulate and transform data to support the needs of the IBAT tool
• Update, process and validate core IBAT datasets on a regular basis
• Interpret and integrate derived data layers

● Support and Collaboration
• Supervise external consultants on related work
• Provide first line technical support and troubleshooting to a wide range of IBAT clients
• Work closely with the IBAT Technical Committee, who oversee the ongoing development of the web
• Advise the IBAT Secretariat and IBAT sub-committees on all matters relating to the technical
implementation and operation of IBAT
• Work effectively in a small, cross disciplinary team to support a range of goals and objectives
• Articulate and explain technical concepts to a range of audiences
• Advise and collaborate with external developers regarding integration of IBAT Datasets into
existing or proposed third party tools
• Develop and maintain good working relationships with web development and data teams across the
IBAT Alliance
• Contribute ideas and good approaches to development goals, as part of working groups.
  • Essential:

A good first degree or higher in Computer Science / Software Engineering or similar field.
Commercial experience in a software development team
Experience in back-end development with good knowledge of Ruby on Rails
Experience in front-end development with experience in HTML, CSS/SASS and JavaScript
Familiar and experience with JavaScript- based frameworks and libraries.
Comfortable using GIT/Version control
Delivering projects in an Agile environment
Demonstrable knowledge of using relational database, and good with database design (PostgreSQL)
Experience using modern web frameworks
Experience using cloud-based services


Knowledge of Geographic Information Systems and relevant software such as
Web Mapping experience (using PostGIS, CartoDB or ArcGIS, and front-end
mapping technologies such as Leaflet / Mapbox/OpenLayers and the likes)
Continuous integration and deployment experience.
React / Vue.js experience

Other Skills

Experience of managing positive relationships with multiple teams / external teams
Ability to prioritise work, and define proper working patterns
Experience working with complex biodiversity databases/datasets.
Ability and motivation to deliver high quality work with minimum supervision
Flexible approach to managing high workload with multiple tasks in a changing
Excellent interpersonal and oral communication skills
Logical, practical and creative approach to problem solving.
Fluency in English is required.

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.