Job opportunities

Research Assistant or Postdoctoral Fellow Position: Social and social-ecological dimensions of marine protected areas in British Columbia, Canada

Length of term: Full-time, one year, renewable for a partial second year (until 30 June 2023). Start date October 15 or as soon as possible thereafter.

Annual salary range: Canadian $50,000 to $65,000, depending on experience and qualifications.

Supervisor: Dr. Natalie Ban.

Location: University of Victoria, Victoria, BC, Canada. Remote work is possible but not preferred.

Application deadline: 8 September 2021; will be extended if a suitable candidate has not been found.

Position description: Networks of marine protected areas (MPAs) are a key conservation tool to address declines in marine biodiversity, yet they have potential implications for human well-being (e.g., loss or gain of livelihoods, improved or decreased food security). While many studies and monitoring efforts focus on ecological effects of conservation, there is comparatively little understanding about the social, cultural, and economic effects of marine conservation initiatives on people. The concept of human well-being conceptualizes people’s individual and collective values, goals, and experiences, and is commonly divided into multiple interrelated domains: social, health, culture, economic, governance, and environmental. A network of MPAs is under development in the Northern Shelf Bioregion ( in British Columbia, Canada. This project seeks to develop social and social-ecological aspects of MPA network monitoring, and gather a pre-implementation snapshot.

The research assistant or postdoctoral fellow will be responsible for achieving the following project objectives:

  1. With MPA network partners, and interested stakeholder and rightsholder groups, co-develop methodologies to establish a pre-implementation snapshot of aspects of social and social-ecological dimensions;
  2. Co-develop and test indicators and metrics;
  3. Implement data collection and analyze pre-implementation baselines;
  4. Assist with other tasks to support researchers in the Marine Ethnoecology Research group at the University of Victoria.

This position is a great opportunity to engage with cutting-edge applied research in marine conservation, and work in partnership with multiple governments, rightsholders, stakeholders, and academic collaborators. The School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria is comprised of a dynamic group of researchers, staff and students currently engaged in an array of projects and activities related to environmental issues. Dr. Natalie Ban is a global leader in research on marine conservation.

Qualifications and Experience

  • Hold, or expect to hold by 15 October. 2021, a PhD; or a Master’s degree plus at least three years of directly pertinent experience, in a relevant Social Sciences field (e.g., Environmental Social Sciences, Marine Conservation, Marine Protected Areas, or a related (inter/trans)discipline);
  • Solid background in one or more of the following research areas: human well-being; human dimensions of conservation, marine protected areas, fisheries, development, and/or resource management; social-ecological systems, resilience, and/or commons; multiple ways of knowing;
  • Qualitative and quantitative methods experience, including developing indicators, conducting surveys and interviews, and data analysis;
  • Proficiency in co-designing and carrying out partnered research projects;
  • Proven track record of managing projects, meeting deadlines, peer-reviewed publications, and high-quality conference presentations;
  • Demonstrated ability to collaborate in a team, and take the lead in organizing collaborative work, including organizing workshops;
  • Strong organizational, project management, and oral and written communication skills;
  • Familiarity with Canada’s Pacific region, and past experience working with stakeholder groups and First Nations is an asset.

Equity and diversity are essential to academic excellence. An open and diverse community fosters the inclusion of voices that have been underrepresented or discouraged. We encourage applications from members of groups that have been marginalized on any grounds enumerated under the B.C. Human Rights Code, including sex, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, racialization, disability, political belief, religion, marital or family status, age, and/or self-identification as a First Nation, Metis, Inuit, or Indigenous person.

To apply, in one pdf please submit a cover letter (2 pages max) that outlines whether and how you meet the qualifications; CV; and names, emails, and phone numbers for two references. Email to by 8 September 2021.