(closed) Regional support contractors sought to strengthen community of practice in Europe and Central Asia

Opportunity open to individuals based within the region with substantial GBIF experience in data mobilization and publishing
DEADLINE: 30 May 2023

Ophrys apifera-iNat-bvancleve-hero
Bee orchid (Ophrys apifera), observed in England. Photo by Barbara van Cleve via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY-NC 4.0.

The GBIF Secretariat is seeking two part-time regional support contractors to strengthen regional capacity in Europe and Central Asia (ECA). They will extend the successful approach underway in sub-Saharan Africa, the Caribbean and Asia, where distributed support teams are helping to develop regional communities of practice engaged in data mobilization and use through GBIF.

These teams complement the ongoing efforts of node managers, regional representatives, and volunteer trainers and mentors, to support outreach activities, provide distributed help-desk support, and engage individuals and institutions, particularly in countries that do not yet participate in the GBIF network. The development of regional support teams responds to recommendations in the CODATA Twenty-Year Review of GBIF to strengthen nodes by stabilizing and extending the regional networks.

The ECA positions are supported thanks to generous contributions from GBIF Participants in Norway and Finland to a purpose fund for Community and Capacity established under the GBIF 2023-27 Strategic Framework.

The role of the regional support contractors

The GBIF nodes in ECA have agreed a strategy targeting key gaps in GBIF participation, both at the national level and in terms of institutional and individual engagement in data publishing and use of GBIF-mediated data. The regional support team will support the ongoing implementation of this strategy by focusing on outreach and engagement at the individual and institutional level. This will contribute to addressing regional data gaps, especially with regard to Eastern Europe, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. They will also help cultivate and grow the community of practice needed to support national participation in GBIF.

GBIF has supported data mobilization activities in Northern Eurasia between 2018 and 2022 with contributions and leadership from Finland and from Norway, which has built the foundation for advancing further activities.

The regional support contractors will contribute to:

  • Increased regional biodiversity data availability to support science and decision making
  • Strengthened regional capacity and skills development in biodiversity data mobilization and use
  • Increased institutional collaboration and regional engagement in the GBIF network

The goal of these positions is to establish another dedicated team of individuals to enhance the work of the GBIF Secretariat through their presence in and knowledge of a target region.

The contractors will work in collaboration with the GBIF Participant nodes and the elected Regional Representatives to strengthen the coordination of regional participation in GBIF.

Scope of work under contract

The contracted individuals will have responsibility for delivering:

  1. Regular group meetings to develop the community of practice by engaging the Participant nodes and their teams, the data publishing community and interested observers
  2. Help desk assistance as the primary technical point of contact assisting with regional data mobilization and data quality issues, in coordination with the relevant GBIF Participant nodes and the GBIF Secretariat Data Products team
  3. Technical administration of a regional cloud-hosted IPT for Europe and Central Asia
  4. Support for data publication via the regional cloud-hosted IPT, including from non-member countries in the region
  5. In coordination with GBIF Secretariat and GBIF Participant nodes, support for regional engagement in updating and maintaining relevant entries in the Global Registry of Scientific Collections (GRSciColl)
  6. Mentoring focused on technical support for implementing data mobilization plans at the institutional level or within funded projects led by GBIF or strategic partners
  7. Support for regional capacity enhancement workshops and development of GBIF training materials
  8. In coordination with the GBIF regional representatives and relevant GBIF Participant nodes, support for recruitment and assignment of appropriate mentors and biodiversity open data ambassadors to strengthen the community of practice
  9. Encouragement of long-term engagement of individuals and institutions from the region in the GBIF network
  10. Support for the development and activation of professional networks around national nodes, promoting interaction between nodes and science and policy actors in the region, and support for engagement in thematic activities in the region
  11. Recommendations on future development of the community of practice, including identification of key capacity needs and training opportunities
  12. Bi-monthly status reports summarizing activities undertaken personally and by the community, in addition to participating in regular planning meetings involving the GBIF Secretariat and other regional contractors

Eligible applicants

The calls will be open to individual contractors who are nationals or full-time residents of one of the eligible countries in the region.

Applications from countries or organizations that already participate in GBIF must include a statement of endorsement from the GBIF Head of Delegation or Node Manager. Contact information for representatives of GBIF Participant countries and organizations can be found on the Participant tab of the country pages or from the list of GBIF Participants.

Required skills and experience

The ideal contractor would already have substantial experience in data mobilization and publishing through GBIF, particularly from biological collections, and a solid working knowledge of:

  • The content, structure and components of the GBIF data infrastructure
  • GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT)
  • Relevant standards for data exchange (Darwin Core Archive and EML)

Other required skills:

  • Fluency in English is required as it is the working language of the Secretariat. Additional language skills will be considered an advantage.
  • Familiarity with the GBIF network
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to provide clear guidance, for example, on technical issues related to data publishing
  • The ability to work independently and as part of a team

In addition, the following skills will be considered beneficial in carrying out the work defined effectively:

  • Knowledge of or experience in working with at least one of the priority sub-regions targeting the important remaining gaps in GBIF participation, namely: The Balkans and Eastern Mediterranean, Eastern Europe, Southern Caucasus and Central Asia
  • Basic project management skills, for example having successfully delivered funded projects
  • Experience in training or mentoring
  • Experience in setting up and/or updating an IPT
  • Experience with data processing, working with relational databases
  • Basic understanding of JSON web services and their use
  • Knowledge of R or Python and APIs
  • Mobilization of data derived from DNA, for example metabarcoding and eDNA projects

Schedule and time commitments

We expect the contracted work to be for 50 per cent full-time equivalent over the contract period. The majority of the working hours allocated to the contract should fall within regular working hours for both the region and Denmark, the location of the GBIF Secretariat.

If the work will be carried out alongside another role, we will require written confirmation from the applicant's other employer that they are aware of the additional hours committed under this contract.

The FTE rate for a 12-month contractor period based on 40 hours a week is EUR 45,000 for the contract period.

The deadline for submission of proposals is 30 May 2023 at 23:59 UTC.

The contracts will begin as early as August 2023 and run for an initial period of one (1) year.

Application procedure

Applications must be submitted in English through the GBIF Grants Portal by 30 May 2023 at 23:59 UTC.

When completing your application form on the GBIF Grants Portal, you must upload:

  • A full CV for the individual submitting the application
  • For applications from countries or organizations that already participate in GBIF, a statement of endorsement from the GBIF Head of Delegation or Node Manager. This can take the form of a letter stating at a minimum that the Head of Delegation or Node Manager is aware of the application and that it appears to fall within the scope of the call.

If the individual selected is currently employed, a letter of support from your employer or host institution will be required.

Questions on the application procedure may be directed to ECA_support@gbif.org.

About the GBIF Grants Portal

We highly recommend that applicants create an account in the GBIF Grants Portal as early as possible, as the account verification process can take up to two working days.

Note that if you already have an account in the GBIF Grants Portal, you should use your existing login information. You should not create a new account to apply to this call.

If you need to create an account in the GBIF Grants Portal and you are not currently affiliated with an organization:

  • Go to the GBIF Grants Portal and click on "create an account now".
  • Choose "yes" when asked if you represent or are affiliated with an organization or an institution.
  • Complete the form indicating your primary contact information.
  • In the Organization Information section, indicate the following under organization's name: 'Your first name-your last name-Consultant' and then replicate the information provided in the "Primary Contact Information" section of the form.

Selection process

A selection committee will involve GBIF Secretariat staff and the Europe and Central Asia regional subcommittee of the GBIF Participant Node Managers Committee.

The applications will be screened to ensure that they meet general eligibility criteria. Those that pass these tests will be scored against the following selection criteria:

  • Demonstration of required skills
  • Previous relevant experience
  • Appreciation of the task
  • Potential for lasting impact on the capacity within the region

The selection committee will then evaluate the concept notes based on scoring. The committee may also take the following criteria into account to ensure that the final selection includes a balance in:

  • Geographic spread of applicants within the region
  • Language skills within the region
  • Complementary skill set within the region, e.g. balance of technical and project management skills

Short-listed candidates will be invited to interview in June 2023. Candidates will be expected to demonstrate their skills in data mobilization through a practical exercise.

Eligible countries and areas

  • Åland Islands
  • Albania
  • Andorra
  • Armenia
  • Austria
  • Azerbaijan
  • Belarus
  • Belgium
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Cyprus
  • Czechia
  • Denmark
  • Estonia
  • Faroe Islands
  • Finland
  • France
  • Georgia
  • Germany
  • Gibraltar
  • Greece
  • Guernsey
  • Holy See
  • Hungary
  • Iceland
  • Ireland
  • Isle of Man
  • Israel
  • Italy
  • Jersey
  • Kazakhstan
  • Kosovo
  • Kyrgyzstan
  • Latvia
  • Liechtenstein
  • Lithuania
  • Luxembourg
  • Malta
  • Moldova
  • Monaco
  • Montenegro
  • Netherlands
  • North Macedonia
  • Norway
  • Poland
  • Portugal
  • Romania
  • San Marino
  • Serbia
  • Slovakia
  • Slovenia
  • Spain
  • Svalbard and Jan Mayen
  • Sweden
  • Switzerland
  • Tajikistan
  • Türkiye
  • Turkmenistan
  • Ukraine
  • United Kingdom
  • Uzbekistan

Special note on the Russian Federation

In response to the war in Ukraine, the GBIF Executive Committee has instructed the Secretariat to cancel indefinitely all travel, contracts and new activities that involve financial transactions with Russian institutions.

Applications may come from Russian nationals who are no longer located in Russia and not affiliated with a Russian institution.

We will not accept applications from individuals still located in Russia or/and affiliated with Russian institutions.