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SCAR Science and Operations Officer

Job Details

Job title: Science and Operations Officer
Job reference: SCAR 2023/2023SOO
Date posted: 2nd October 2023
Closing date: 3rd November 2023
Location: Cambridge, UK, hybrid
Salary: The starting salary will be between £35,000 to £40,000 pro-rata depending on qualifications, skills and experience. Some adjustment may be possible pending the outcome of an ongoing pay review.
Working Hours Package: Full time or part-time above 80% FTE, flexible/hybrid working, pension scheme, generous holiday allowance.
Type of Contract Fixed Term Appointment for 12 months, with possibility of extension. You must already have a valid visa to work in the UK to apply for this position. 
Job category/type Professional
Reporting to SCAR Executive Director

Please ensure you read the Job Description and Person Specification for full details of the role and for application requirements.

Informal enquiries can be made to the SCAR Secretariat via This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

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Job Description

The Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research
Founded in 1958, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) has a more important role to play today than ever before. Antarctica holds the key to understanding the Earth’s climate, so developing our scientific understanding of the continent is an urgent priority. Yet, Antarctica is too remote and inaccessible for any individual nation to unlock its secrets alone. SCAR is the leading global organisation driving international research and collaboration in and around Antarctica and delivers vital policy advice to decision makers within the Antarctic Treaty System and beyond.

The SCAR Secretariat play a crucial role in enabling SCAR to fulfil its mission. Headed by SCAR’s Executive Director, the 4-person Secretariat team is based at the Scott Polar Research Institute in Cambridge, U.K.
SCAR is an interdisciplinary body of the International Science Council (ISC) and currently includes 46 member countries and 9 scientific unions. SCAR is a Company limited by Guarantee and registered as a charity in the United Kingdom. The Directors of the Charity are the President and Vice-Presidents.

The Role
As Science and Operations Officer, you will play a key role in supporting a vibrant international network of people involved in Antarctic research. Your work will be varied, supporting the Executive Director with a wide range of tasks including: assisting with coordinating the activities of SCAR’s groups (whose work spans a range of topics across the natural sciences, social sciences and humanities), coordinating the SCAR community’s input into international projects, supporting SCAR to maintain links with international partners and reviewing and documenting internal processes. You will also be expected to provide some direct support to the Executive Director and other team members as required to assist with workflow management.

The successful candidate will have experience of project management, stakeholder engagement (ideally in a science discipline), and of supporting the internal operations of a complex organisation, as well as a passion to support vital work in an important area of environmental research. They must also be educated to master’s or PhD level or have equivalent, relevant work experience.

Key Criteria


  • Previous experience of working in a large and complex organization, demonstrating understanding of governance structures, decision-making processes, and workflow dynamics.
  • Ability to navigate intricate organisational structures to collaborate effectively and diplomatically with diverse teams and stakeholders.
  • Proven capacity to identify and address challenges that arise in a complex organisational environment, proposing innovative solutions and implementing strategies to streamline processes and enhance efficiency.

Science Coordination and Collaboration

  • Collaboration and networking: experience in engaging with diverse stakeholders at international level, for example stakeholders from research, policy, NGOs and beyond, to build partnerships and foster collaboration.
  • Project management skills: demonstrated ability to plan, organise and manage projects, ensuring timely completion and successful outcomes.


  • Excellent oral communication skills and interpersonal skills; demonstrating awareness of EDI principles and cultural sensitivities when working in an international context.
  • Excellent written communication skills: ability to prepare clear and concise documentation on processes and procedures.


  • Multi-tasking and flexibility: ability to prioritise multiple responsibilities and tasks within a small team, being adaptable and flexible to take on various roles to meet objectives and overcome challenges.

Work and Educational Experience

  • Minimum of 2 years of experience in project coordination, stakeholder engagement, or operations support, preferably in a science/research or international setting.
  • Educational background: a master’s degree or PhD in a relevant field such as Business Administration, International Relations, or a discipline related to Environmental Sciences; candidates with a bachelor’s degree and relevant work experience will also be considered.
  • Excellent IT/digital/technical skills and a high level of proficiency with Microsoft Office software.


  • Experience of interacting with academia, particularly within polar or environmental research.
  • Science coordination: experience of coordinating scientific projects involving multiple partners and of communicating effectively with all involved stakeholders.
  • Experience of working at the interface between research and policy.
  • Familiarity with financial and audit processes, including internal and external audits, to ensure adherence to legal and regulatory requirements.
  • Experience of working with volunteers in a charity setting.
  • Experience of preparing internal documentation on organisational processes and procedures.
  • Experience of planning events.

The successful candidate is expected to take up the post as soon as possible after the interview.

What SCAR can offer you

  •  A unique opportunity to work with and support internationally renowned researchers and institutions at a time of unprecedented interest in polar science.
  • A flexible, hybrid working environment as part of a small, supportive and friendly team.
  • A beautiful and historic office setting in the heart of Cambridge at the Scott Polar Research Institute, home to a diverse community of researchers interacting closely with SCAR.
  • The chance to develop your professional skills and experience in operations support, science coordination and project management.

Main Duties

The successful candidate will be expected to support the Executive Director and the SCAR Secretariat team to ensure smooth and effective functioning of the organisation. These duties can include, for example:

  • Supporting SCAR’s internal operations: working with the Executive Director to build organisational resilience, for example by reviewing and documenting internal processes (including financial), developing the risk register and monitoring legal compliance; facilitating discussions on reducing SCAR’s carbon footprint.
  • Providing direct support to the Executive Director (and other team members) as required to assist with workflow management.
  • Supporting SCAR volunteers: developing role descriptions and other supporting information for SCAR volunteers; developing induction and handover material for group leaders and new trustees.
  • Strengthening links between SCAR groups: enhancing communications, providing guidance and supporting documentation to groups on internal processes, supporting the development of new groups, supporting the mid-term review process for SCAR’s Scientific Research Programmes, soliciting regular news and updates from groups, coordinating internship or fellowship schemes as required.
  • Planning meetings: supporting the Secretariat team to plan the 2024 SCAR Delegates meeting, the 2024 Open Science Conference and business meetings; developing guidance documents for the organisation of SCAR meetings, setting out expectations and protocols.
  • Partnerships: building and maintaining links with external stakeholders; attending meetings of and reporting to partners, and monitoring progress against MOUs, coordinating new proposals for collaboration and support.
  • International projects: supporting co-ordination of SCAR’s input into major international initiatives such as the UN Decade and the fifth International Polar year, attending and reporting on meetings and preparing proposals as required.
  • Policy activities: supporting the SCAR Secretariat to run the Antarctic Environments Portal ( including contributing to the development of strategy, raising awareness and expanding reach.
  • Wider policy activities: Supporting coordination of international policy activities (e.g., SCAR presence at UNFCCC and COP meetings, PA2 Foundation activities, developing and strengthening links with other international policy bodies, such as the IPCC and IPBES).

Application Requirements

You must already have a valid visa to work in the UK to apply for this position. 

Applicants must submit the following documents via the online application form:

  1. A curriculum vitae, including the names and full contact details of at least two referees.
  2. A covering letter addressing each of the key criteria explicitly. Note that we do not expect candidates to meet all of the criteria that we have listed - please focus on those which are the best match for your skills and experience.
  3. Proof of eligibility to work in the UK (for example, a photo of your current passport or an eligible immigration document).

Please submit your documents in PDF format via the online application form by the 3rd November 2023. Short-listed candidates will be invited to participate in an interview and a practical test.

Practical assignments will take place during the week of 13th November and interviews during the week commencing 20th or 27th November 2023. If you are unable to make these dates or have any enquiries regarding the role, please contact the SCAR Secretariat at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

A printable version of the Job Details (as set out in the advert), and the Job Description and Person Specification (as detailed above) is available to download from the SCAR Library, or from the link below: