Postdoctoral Research Associate position "Collation of scientific evidence for the effective management of wetlands"



Date limite de candidature: 

Tuesday, January 3, 2017


The Tour du Valat is a private foundation working for the research and conservation of Mediterranean wetlands. Founded in 1954 by Dr Luc Hoffmann and based in the Camargue, it is at the cutting edge of multidisciplinary fields of research, building bridges between science, management and public policies, and drawing up management plans. The Tour du Valat has internationally recognized scientific expertise, and provides practical responses to problems regarding the conservation and sustainable management of natural resources. The Tour du Valat’s projects are carried out in the Camargue and around the Mediterranean Basin.

The Tour du Valat employs 60 people, including 10 researchers and about 8 Ph.D. or other students.

For further information on the Tour du Valat visit click here.

Tour du Valat and the Conservation Evidence project (more info), run by Prof. William Sutherland and Dr Rebecca Smith, Department of Zoology, University of Cambridge, agreed to collaborate for the production of a synopsis of evidence for wetland conservation. The project is funded by the MAVA Foundation.

Conservation Evidence is a free, reliable information resource designed to support decisions about nature conservation. Research shows that conservationists and other environmental managers often make decisions without using relevant scientific literature. Conservation Evidence aims to change global conservation practice by collating, reviewing and disseminating the science on management actions for the maintenance and restoration of global biodiversity. The goal is for practitioners and policymakers to have easy access to, and routinely incorporate, evidence into their decision making to ensure that conservation actions are more effective. So far Conservation Evidence has produced ten synopses of the evidence, which collate evidence for all management actions for maintaining and restoring particular species groups, habitats or ecosystem services. Six more synopses are currently being compiled. Once synopses are compiled, expert panels assess the effectiveness of each of the interventions by to produce an annual open access book What Works in Conservation (link).

Work will involve producing a comprehensive review of global scientific evidence on the effectiveness of interventions for the conservation of wetlands. Methods will follow those developed by the Conservation Evidence group at Cambridge (link). The Conservation Evidence Synopsis will be made available in a format that is accessible to conservation practitioners and policy makers.

We are looking for a natural scientist with excellent writing skills and a strong interest in in improving the effectiveness of biodiversity conservation. The successful candidate will work closely with Patrick Grillas, Programme director at Tour du Valat, the Conservation Evidence team in Cambridge, as well as with an advisory board.

Duties and responsabilities

The post-holder will carry out the following tasks:

1) Form Expert Advisory Board

Formalize expert review and advisory board of at least 8-10 experts.  The responsibility of the advisory board is to review and comment on the planned interventions for evaluation, to provide input on relevant literature and provide a formal review of the evidence as presented in the draft synopsis of evidence.

2) Finalize List of Interventions for Review
In collaboration with advisory board, compile a comprehensive list of interventions, designed to benefit wetland habitat.  These will form the basis of the review.

3) Finalize Plan for Completing Synopsis and Report to Conservation Evidence
Complete a detailed plan, with timeline and methods, which covers compiling relevant literature, completing the synopsis, incorporating the expert review and publishing the synopsis online.  Provide regular progress reports to Conservation Evidence throughout project (e.g. monthly).

4) Compile Relevant Literature
Collect literature from internal Conservation Evidence databases and search contents of specialized journals or other resources, including those identified by the advisory board, following a formal and transparent search protocol. All literature citations and abstracts will be assembled into a bibliographic database that can be exported and shared.

5) Draft Synopsis of Evidence
Using standardized methods and formats developed by Conservation Evidence (more info) produce a comprehensive synopsis of evidence for wetlands based on the literature retrieved. Training on how to write in plain English will be provided, if necessary. The draft synopsis should be sent for review by Conservation Evidence and then the advisory board.

6) Complete Expert Assessment of Synthesized Evidence
Use the Conservation Evidence expert assessment method (Dicks et al. 2014; Sutherland et al. 2015), to assess the evidence for each intervention and assign a category of effectiveness to each. This process will be carried out online.

7) Final Synopsis of Evidence
Following advisory board and expert review, complete final synopsis of the evidence. Once the expert assessment has been completed, publish the synopsis and the results of the expert assessment online.

Main outputs expected are:

1) Synopsis of evidence on wetland conservation available on the Conservation Evidence website.  The successful candidate will be lead author.
2) Wetland conservation chapter in What Works in Conservation. The successful candidate will be lead author.



  • A PhD, or equivalent experience, in an area related to biodiversity
  • Ability to efficiently understand and extract relevant information from scientific papers
  • Ability to write clear, concise summaries of scientific papers, quickly and accurately, using a standardized style
  • Detailed knowledge of biodiversity
  • Good general understanding of ecological statistics and experimental design
  • Fluent at writing in English
  • Demonstrable ability to complete projects to the stage of good quality reports/publications on time
  • Ability to travel to the UK for meetings/short periods of work


  • Experience of working on subjects relating to wetlands
  • Experience of systematic review
  • Experience of summarising large amounts of information for practitioners/policymakers
  • Demonstrable success in writing engaging text for non-technical audiences (e.g.  newspaper articles, blogging)
  • Experience of database design and management
  • Ability to translate French , Spanish or other language texts into English summaries
  • Good team worker
  • Experience of writing peer-reviewed scientific papers


The duration of the contract will be at least two years, starting as soon as possible.

Informations complémentaires: 

Working location at the Tour du Valat Research Institute, Le Sambuc, 13200 Arles.

Annual salary according to experience (French CCNA Convention).

Candidature à adresser à: 

Send before January 3rd, 2017 the application file to Florence Daubigney (e-mail) (ref: TdV-2016-CE), with:

  • A cover letter
  • A resume/CV
  • A list of publications
  • The names and contact details of three references (with e-mail addresses), including a recent employer.

The shortlisted applicants will be invited for an interview at Tour du Valat (Arles, France) on January 17th, 2017. A writing test will be run during the interview. Travelling expenses can be reimbursed at the applicant’s request.

For any questions concerning the application procedure, please contact Florence Daubigney (e-mail)