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SCAR Administrative Assistant

Job Details

Job title: Administrative Assistant (Secretariat)
Job reference: SCAR 2023/2023AA
Date posted: 19 January 2023
Closing date: midnight on 20 February 2023 (UK time)
Location: Cambridge, UK, hybrid
Salary: The starting salary will be between £21,000 to £30,000 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 (37.5 hours per week excluding breaks), flexible/hybrid working, pension scheme, generous holiday allowance, job-share/part-time considered
Type of Contract Fixed Term Appointment for three years, with possibility of extension or conversion to permanent position. 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


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 Administrative Assistant you will play a vital role in supporting the SCAR community, a vibrant international network of people engaged in or supporting Antarctic research. Your work will be varied, with tasks ranging from general office support and responding to day-to-day queries, to the planning of international meetings and interacting with people within and beyond the Antarctic research community. The successful candidate will be a highly organised individual who works well as part of a small team and is educated to degree level or with equivalent work experience, with a passion to support vital work in an important area of environmental research.  There is some scope to adapt the role to the skills and experience of the successful candidate. The role will provide the jobholder with a range of learning and professional development opportunities. There may be some opportunities for international travel. 

Key Criteria


  • Excellent communication skills, both written and oral, ability to engage diverse stakeholder groups.
  • Excellent IT/technical skills and a high level of proficiency with Microsoft Office software and video-conferencing such as Zoom.
  • Highly organised; able to multitask efficiently, and meet tight deadlines whilst maintaining attention to detail.
  • Experience of working effectively within a team to achieve challenging objectives.
  • Experience of supporting and organising meetings.
  • A good first degree or equivalent work experience.


  • Experience of providing office support to a small team.
  • Experience with website content management.
  • Track record of learning and implementing new IT systems and interfaces.
  • Minute taking, editing and proofreading skills for meetings, document production and online text.
  • Experience of using task management tools (e.g. Asana).
  • Experience of ensuring GDPR compliance within an organisation.
  • Experience of working within a complex and dynamic organisation.
  • Experience of interacting with academia, particularly within polar or environmental research.
  • Experience of working in/with the charitable sector.

The successful candidate is expected to take up the post as soon as possible after the interview.
You must already have a valid visa to work in the UK to apply for this position. 

What we can offer you

  • A unique opportunity to interact 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 administration, communications and events management.

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..

Main Duties

Duties of the postholder fall primarily into the following broad areas.

Support for major international meetings and routine internal meetings, for example:

  1. Biennial meetings of the SCAR Delegates and the SCAR Directors - including organising travel and other logistics, drawing up schedules, meeting agendas and other supporting paperwork.
  2. Assisting the Secretariat with preparations for SCAR’s biennial Open Science Conference.
  3. Supporting SCAR’s participation in annual meetings of the Antarctic Treaty System, for example submission of meeting papers and logistical support to the meeting delegation.
  4. Supporting bi-monthly online meetings of the SCAR Directors, including scheduling meetings and drawing up meeting papers.

There may be some opportunities for international travel in association with (1) and (2).

Communications, for example

  • Managing routine correspondence, primarily email – acting as the first port of call for enquiries from the SCAR community and beyond.
  • Keeping the SCAR community informed about recent developments and upcoming business, primarily by email.
  • Supporting the SCAR Project Officer with routine maintenance of the SCAR website, such as minor updates, posting of news items, etc. 

Information management, for example

  • Keeping internal documents up to date (e.g. contact databases, forward planning documents).
  • Supporting the Secretariat with activities to ensure GDPR compliance.
  • Supporting the Secretariat with the management of hardcopy holdings, including SCAR’s archives.

General Office duties, for example

  • Assisting the staff of the Scott Polar Research Institute in the general office and receiving occasional visitors to SCAR.
  • Assisting the Executive Officer with day-to-day finances including issuing invoices and receipts.
  • Ordering office supplies.
  • Liaising with IT support as required, to support Secretariat staff with their IT needs.

Application Requirements

You must already have a valid visa to work in the UK to apply for this position.  Applicants must submit, by the closing date, the following documents in full, by email, to the SCAR Secretariat, email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Short-listed candidates will be invited to participate in an interview and a practical test.

  1. 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.
  3. Proof of eligibility to work in the UK.

It is anticipated that interviews will be held during the week beginning 6th March 2023. If you are unable to make these dates please let us know.

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: