mardi 22 février 2011

Research Assistant / Field Manager

Hiring Organization:
James Fuller (Ph.D. candidate, Columbia University)

Position Description:
Seeking a qualified field assistant to participate in a study of vocal communication in blue monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis) in the Kakamega Forest, Kenya. The position involves working on several aspects of this study, with primary responsibilities: 1) Collecting behavioral data on monkeys from 8 social groups (~80 animals); 2) Conducting audio recording samples of adult males; 3) assisting in playback experiments; 4) entering data daily; and 5) Overseeing field work by 6 local field assistants (e.g. managing daily observation assignments, collecting data sheets and equipment, paying salaries, etc.).
Workdays are long (7AM – 6PM) with data organization each evening. Fieldwork is five days per week with weekends off (note: approximately two half-day-Saturdays are required each month to catch up on data collation).
This position provides an excellent opportunity to gain serious experience in fieldwork, animal behavior research, and behavioral ecology methods. It is NOT summer camp.

Applicants must have some experience traveling or living in a foreign country, and preferably in developing countries. While some parts of Kenya are quite developed, the field site is relatively remote and applicants must be able to embrace the differences in culture and challenges of living in the field cheerfully.
The research manager will receive training in all the specific methods of this project and I do not require expertise in behavioral observation methods. Applicants must, however, have some experience with scientific research, specifically in collecting and analyzing data in a systematic fashion, and ideally in behavioral observation. Applicant should have coursework in animal behavior, zoology, primatology, physical anthropology, or other relevant fields.
Applicants must be mentally and physically fit for long days in the field in a challenging environment, followed by long evenings of entering data. Applicants must be hardworking, reliable, and able to follow field procedures carefully. It is critical that applicants be self-motivated and able to work independently, but also be very much a part of a field team. Leadership skills are a must.
While there will be other researchers (American and Kenyan) at the site, this position is not good for someone who gets easily lonely or homesick, or who needs a lot of space and personal time.

The research assistant will receive US$150 per month as stipend, which should more than cover most needed expenses (e.g. food, local transport, etc.) while at the field site. Housing at the field site is also provided, as is the necessary research clearance.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Transportation to and from the field site and the research assistant's home country is not provided (roundtrip flights from NYC to Nairobi usually cost around US$1300, with bus to the field site usually around US$25). The research assistant will share a room in a small, basic house at the field site. The research assistant is required to have pre-travel medical consultation, be up-to-date on vaccinations, and to maintain health and travel insurance while in the field.

Term of Appointment:
May, 2011 - September, 2011

Application Deadline:
March 7, 2011

Interested candidates should email a cover letter explaining why they are interested in this position and how they are qualified. Please also give me a sense of who you are personally; while your skills and experience are essential, it is important that we be able to work together in close quarters. Please also send a current CV and contact information (email and phone) of at least 2 references, preferably people who have personally supervised you in a research capacity or professors with whom you have worked closely; it is essential that referees be able to vouch for your experience, skills, and your suitability for fieldwork. Candidates will be notified by March 20th.

Contact Information:
James Fuller
E3B (10th Fl Scherm Ext); 1200 Amsterdam Avenue
New York, NY 10027

Telephone Number:

Fax Number:

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