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Post-doctoral Fellowship in Protected Areas Management and Conservation

Posted on Feb 3, 2020 by in The OFI Blog |

Center for Conservation and Sustainability

Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute

EXTENDED Deadline for submitting applications: February 7, 2020


Location: Center for Conservation and Sustainability, Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute, Washington, DC and Ciudad del Este, Paraguay

Duration: 1-year fellowship, with possible extension to 2 years

Stipend: $50,400 annually and health insurance stipend



CCS works with industry partners to integrate conservation needs with development priorities to sustain biodiversity. CCS 1) promotes science-based approaches to sustainable infrastructure development through transformative partnerships; 2) leverages Smithsonian expertise; 3) transfers skills and knowledge to build capacity; 4) builds and sustains the long-term presence in high-biodiversity land and seascapes that is required to institutionalize sustainable infrastructure practices.

In Paraguay, CCS has been collaborating with ITAIPU Binational (IB) since the 1990s. Located in the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest region of Paraguay and Brazil, it is the largest hydropower facility in South America and the second largest in the world. In 2017, CCS formed a partnership with IB Paraguay to carry out a Biodiversity Monitoring and Assessment Program (BMAP) evaluating the status and trends of flora and fauna in eight protected areas managed by Itaipu in Paraguay. The protected areas cover over 63,500 ha and represent some of the largest fragments remaining of the Upper Parana Atlantic Forest, one of the most endangered biomes in the world. As part of the BMAP, the research team, made up of scientists from both CCS and IB, has also performed an intial evaluation of risks to the protected areas, finding them to be under heavy threat from illegal hunting, fishing, logging, and small-scale agriculture. To tackle this problem, the fellow will be encouraged to develop and implement a multifaceted protection plan to understand and address those threats.

Position Description

The Smithsonian National Zoo and Conservation Biology Institute’s Center for Conservation and Sustainability (CCS) is seeking a highly motivated post-doc in Protected Areas Management and Conservation. The fellow will develop an independent research program to assess threats to wildlife in eight protected areas in the Paraguayan Upper Parana Altantic Forest managed by ITAIPU Binational and design and facilitate implementation of a wildlife protection plan. In collaboration with with CCS and Itaipu researchers, the fellow will be encouraged to perform a threat assessment and carry out a protection plan, potentially including a combination of the following strategies and/or others: 1) working with the park guard team and park managers to evaluate and strengthen management strategies and staff capacity inside of the protected areas, 2) assessing and recommending ways to combat threats to biodiversity on a regional scale, 3) engaging in a stakeholder consultation process in the area of influence of the protected areas to understand local perceptions of biodiversity and the protected areas and the local economy, and 4) developing strategies to strengthen the relationship between the communities within the area of influence and the protected areas through education and communications programs. The results of this study will inform multiple stakeholders and policy makers on the strategies and best practices for protected area management and conservation in the region. The fellow is expected to lead scientific and technical publications and to split the time between Washington, DC and Cuidad del Este, Paraguay.


The successful applicant will have: 1) a PhD in environmental anthropology, wildlife (or natural resources) management, integrative conservation, or a related discipline; 2) three to five years of experience working in protected areas management and conservation, with knowledge of and
experience in poaching management, park guard capacity building, and/or the stakeholder consultation process; 3) spoken and written fluency in English and Spanish; 4) a strong publication record; 5) excellent oral and written communication skills for multiple audiences; and 6) strong organizational and project management skills. The fellow is expected to spend approximately 50% of the fellowship period in Washington, DC and Cuidad del Este, Paraguay.

How to Apply

Applicants should email: 1) a one-page concept note describing a proposed design and methodology for the project—contact Tremaine Gregory ( to request more information on the project context, 2) a letter of interest detailing qualifications for the position, 3) a curriculum vitae (4 pages maximum), and 4) contact information for three professional references (name, institution, title, email address, phone number; to be contacted after the interview process) to Tremaine Gregory: Please include “Post-doc in Protected Areas Management application” in the subject line of the email.