Current opportunities at Melbourne

Research Assistant – Cultural, Knowledge and Biodiversity

Job no: 0056880
Location: Multiple Locations
Role type: 
Full time; Fixed-term for 12 months
Faculty of Science 
Department/School: School of Ecosystems and Forest Sciences
RA 1-3 – $70,461 - $77,171 p.a. plus 17% super

Only Indigenous Australians are eligible to apply as this position is exempt under the Special Measure Provision, Section 12 (1) of the Equal Opportunity Act 2011 (Vic).

The University of Melbourne would like to acknowledge and pay respect to the Traditional Owners of the lands upon which our campuses are situated, the Wurundjeri and Boon Wurrung Peoples, the Yorta Yorta Nation, the Dja Dja Wurrung People. We acknowledge that the land on which we meet and learn was the place of age-old ceremonies, of celebration, initiation and renewal, and that the local Aboriginal Peoples have had and continue to have a unique role in the life of these lands.

About the School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences
The School of Ecosystem and Forest Sciences (SEFS) is Australia’s premier research and education provider dedicated to the study of ecosystem processes, sustainable land management, and environmental social science in forest and other ecosystems, covering the full range from natural to highly urbanised systems.

SEFS combines expertise in the biological and physical sciences with environmental social science to provide research and teaching of applied ecosystem science that is relevant to society, delivering innovative solutions to the environmental issues faced by a rapidly growing global community. Our work spans from molecular to ecosystem scales, from technology to sociology, and from city to wilderness.

About the Role
The Research Assistant will work within the Project Management Team shared with University of Melbourne’s School of Ecosystem and Forest Science, Bush Heritage Australia, the Yambulla Project and other partners in the Potter Foundation Gift project: A road map for conservation in a changing world (also known as the Conservation Futures project). The Conservation Futures project will build on current progress in integrating cross-cultural knowledges and aspirations toward a stronger evidence base for land management and conservation in Australia.

More information available at  

The position helps recognise and apply First Nations knowledge and aspirations in conjunction with scientific knowledge to contribute toward conservation and other land use decisions across Australia.

This position will collate, document and augment biodiversity data and cultural knowledge in the NSW Far South Coast and VIC Gippsland regions, however the appointee may be asked to undertake activities or support roles in other regions.  To achieve this outcome the appointee may be required to work with external scientists and cultural knowledge holders from government and non-government organisations and undertake field work in biodiversity and cultural values survey throughout the region.

This position will work closely with Aboriginal people and project partners to build relationships and create pathways to ensure any knowledge shared is with full consent and only to the extent of the knowledge holders’ direction.

Responsibilities include:

  • Work with key stakeholders, identify data and knowledge that is likely to be of high value in supporting assessment and planning at projects sites.
  • Work with key stakeholders, identify data gaps and help to collate and collect new data likely to be of high value in supporting assessment and planning at projects sites.
  • Undertake field data collection for cultural values, animals and plants, sometimes in remote locations and under challenging field survey conditions
  • Perform other tasks as requested by the supervisor or the Head of School

About You
You will have a passion and experience in nature conversation and have a willingness to learn more about conservation needs across a range of Australian environments and ecosystems. You will have the ability to learn more about flora and fauna field survey methods. You will be able to work in remote locations in the collection and collation of biodiversity data, including flora and fauna surveys. You will have a strong capacity to work in a team and meet deadlines and demonstrated ability to communicate at a high level in both a written and oral form and possess a moderate level of computer literacy including word processing, spreadsheet and data software.

You will also have:

  • Respectful and informative collaborator with highly developed skills in communication
  • Experience in areas of Indigenous knowledge that intersects broadly with western concepts of “Science” or completed a PhD in a traditional discipline of science with subsequent relevant experience
  • Willingness to gain knowledge and capability in using tools to protect Indigenous Cultural Intellectual Property and is aware of knowledge sharing issues affecting Aboriginal peoples in contemporary Australian society
  • Demonstrated ability to effectively work with, consult and develop partnerships with a range of stakeholders, particularly Aboriginal people

Applicants must hold valid work rights as visa sponsorship is unavailable for this position.

About the University
The University of Melbourne is consistently ranked amongst the leading universities in the world. We are proud of our people, our commitment to research and teaching excellence, and our global engagement.

Benefits of Working with Us
In addition to having the opportunity to grow and be challenged, and to be part of a vibrant campus life, our people enjoy a range of rewarding benefits:

  • Flexible working arrangements, generous personal, parental and cultural leave
  • Competitive remuneration, 17% super, salary packaging and leave loading
  • Free and subsidised health and wellbeing services, and access to fitness and cultural clubs
  • Discounts on a wide range of products and services including Myki cards and Qantas Club
  • Career development opportunities and 25% off graduate courses for staff and their immediate families

To find out more, visit

Be Yourself
We value the unique backgrounds, experiences and contributions that each person brings to our community and encourage and celebrate diversity.  First Nations people, those identifying as LGBTQIA+, females, people of all ages, with disabilities and culturally and linguistically diverse people are encouraged to apply. Our aim is to create a workforce that reflects the community in which we live.

Join Us!

If you feel this role is right for you, please apply with your CV and cover letter outlining your interest and experience.  Please note that you are not required to provide responses against the selection criteria in the Position Description.

We are dedicated to ensuring barrier free and inclusive practices to recruit the most talented candidates. If you require any reasonable adjustments with the recruitment process, please contact us at

Position Description

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