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Roots to Work is a project of Sustain: the alliance for better food and farming.

Research Associate - Beldorney

Highlands Rewilding
Beldorney Estate - Near Huntly, Aberdeenshire

Posted: 23 Apr 2024

Deadline: 7 Jun 2024

Compensation: £30,000-35,000 pro rata (depending on experience)

Paid Fixed term / contract


Job description

A flagship nature recovery project in the Highlands of Scotland seeks a Research Associate to undertake ecological surveys in forests and grasslands. The work will contribute to knowledge of site conditions and monitoring methods as part of a wider collaborative project across multiple sites.  The purpose of Highlands Rewilding is to generate nature recovery and community prosperity through rewilding taken to scale. We manage land to facilitate measurable increases in biodiversity and carbon sequestration, to generate ethical profits, and to deliver community benefits.  

This position is part of a project on Trustable AI-generated Mapping, and will provide survey-based ecological information to improve remote-sensing methods developed by other project partners. As such it provides an unusual opportunity to develop ecological skills alongside knowledge of new digital approaches. 

The role is based at Beldorney estate, close to Huntly. The successful applicant will join a dedicated team of land managers and ecologists working on varied restorative practices on-site. The role will also involve close collaboration with researchers at other sites, including Highland Rewilding’s estates at Bunloit and Tayvallich.  The Research Associate will develop ecological surveys according to project specifications and conduct these surveys on Beldorney estate. The role will also involve collaboration with external project partners working with remote-sensing data and AI-based analysis.  

The role will involve:

  • Working with the Co-chief Scientists and other colleagues in the project to develop survey protocols
  • Creating a robust data collection approach
  • Carrying out tree censuses, peat-depth surveys and grassland quadrat surveys, among others.
  • Collaborating with Research Associates at Bunloit and Tayvallich.
  • Involvement in data analysis and provision of data to project partners
  • Assistance with other ecological surveys and management occurring on the site.
  • Writing up results for a range of audiences.
  • Being an active participant in the team striving to enable nature recovery and community prosperity through rewilding, including being involved in community events and tours.

Person specification Essential:

  • Strong interest in, and ideally knowledge of, ecological survey methods
  • Ability to gather and handle complex data sets
  • Experience of working in a team of mixed backgrounds
  • Commitment to creating environmental and social benefits from ecological restoration  


  • Scientific training in a relevant field (biology, ecology, data science etc.)
  • Familiarity with GIS tools and data
  • Familiarity with remotely-sensed data and its analysis
  • Knowledge of the local area 

Application information

Please email your CV and a cover letter explaining why you are well suited to the role to Please include your location or confirmation that you have accommodation close to site. The application deadline is 17:00 on Tuesday 30 April 2024. Interviews are planned for Friday 3 May 2024; please let us know if you will be unavailable on this date.

We are open to considering part-time or flexible work arrangements. We are building a team and a culture that values different backgrounds, mindsets, skills, and experience and we invite a diversity of applicants.  Additionally, as important elements of the Highlands Rewilding model are its strong connection to communities in the Highlands of Scotland and its aim to create local employment, we will be interested in candidates who may have those connections. 

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About Highlands Rewilding

Our purpose is to enable nature recovery and community prosperity through rewilding, as a mass ownership company. We aim to become one of the most impactful accelerators of nature-based solutions in the world by 2026.

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