Contractor sought to support mobilization of biodiversity data related to human health (closed)

Applications sought from candidates with substantial experience in the GBIF network to provide technical and community support for data publishing focused on wild host, vector and reservoir species of human disease
DEADLINE: 1 December 2021

Castor bean tick (Ixodes ricinus), observed in France. Photo 2021 Guillaume Hoffmann via iNaturalist Research-grade Observations, licensed under CC BY 4.0.

The GBIF Secretariat is seeking a contractor to help advance the publication of biodiversity data on wild species relevant to research on human diseases. The incumbent will assist the Secretariat and collaborate with the GBIF nodes community to target and mobilize occurrence data for species that serve as hosts, vectors and reservoirs of human disease.

Candidate individuals may be located anywhere in the world as long as they can:

  • Provide technical help-desk assistance, training and mentoring to support institutional engagement in the mobilization and use of biodiversity data relevant to research on human diseases
  • Facilitate exchange of guidance, best practices and expertise between individuals, institutions, projects and other categories of data holders with the GBIF Participant nodes and volunteer experts from the broader GBIF community
  • Encourage long-term engagement of individuals and institutions from the human disease, health and biomedical domains in the GBIF network

The work of the selected contractor is expected to fulfil two main objectives:

  • Guiding the publication of relevant human disease-related datasets by the data holders, including those previously identified and reported by the GBIF network through the Suggest a dataset tool and other channels

The selected contractor will support the collaboration between GBIF, the Special Programme for Research and Training in Tropical Diseases (TDR), GigaScience Press and other One Health stakeholders seeking to increase the representation of such data and organizations within the GBIF network. The contractor will assist members of this emerging community, ensuring their smooth onboarding with GBIF-specific processes, tools and standards, and facilitating efficient communication workflows with GBIF's existing network of nodes and data-publishing institutions.

About GBIF and human diseases

The GBIF 2022 work programme and current strategic plan both identify human health as a key thematic area for improving the quality and relevance of GBIF-mediated data.

To prepare the way for such initiatives, GBIF convened an expert task group on mobilization and use of biodiversity data for research and policy on human diseases in 2020. The group aims to improve the completeness, relevance and fitness-for-use of biodiversity data shared through the GBIF network within this thematic research area. The Secretariat scoped the group in response to a growing range of studies that draw upon occurrence data for wild hosts, vectors and reservoirs of human disease.

The selected contractor will support the task group by providing the technical and community support needed to increase GBIF’s relevance and usefulness in human health-related research and policy.

Required skills and experience

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

  • The content, structure and components of the GBIF data infrastructure
  • The GBIF Integrated Publishing Toolkit (IPT) or other data publishing solutions
  • Relevant standards for data exchange (especially Darwin Core and EML)
  • Understanding the data and research specifics of human disease and human health domain
  • Strong communication skills and the ability to provide clear guidance, for example, on technical issues related to data publishing
  • The ability to work both independently and as part of a team
  • Familiarity with the GBIF network
  • Fluency in English

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

  • Experience in setting up and/or updating instances of the GBIF IPT
  • Experience in research, data and policymaking related to human diseases and One Health approaches
  • Experience in training or mentoring
  • Relational databases and SQL
  • Experience with data processing, working with large 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
  • Additional language skills

Budget, schedule and time commitments

The GBIF Secretariat is offering a six-month, €15,000 contract starting as soon as possible and not later than February 2022. We expect that the work committment will be part-time during the contract period, involving between 25 per cent and 50 per cent of a person-week, depending on experience and expertise. To enable coordination, at least some of the working hours should fall within regular business hours for 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 to be committed to this contract.


The selected candidate is expected to carry out work at their home base or host institution. Applications from countries or organizations that are formal participants in GBIF must include a statement of endorsement from the GBIF Head of Delegation or Node Manager, whose contact information appears on the "Participation" tab of the country pages (example).

Application procedure

Applications should be submitted in English through the GBIF Grants Portal by 1 December 2021. When completing your application form on the GBIF Grants Portal, candidates should upload:

  1. A full CV for the individual submitting the application
  2. 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 the candidate's employer or host institution will be required.

Direct questions on the application procedure to

About the GBIF Grants Portal

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

Candidates that already have an account in the GBIF Grants Portal should use your existing login information. Candidates with existing accounts should not create a new account to apply to this call.

For candidates who need to create an account and are not currently affiliated with an organization:

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

Selection process

A selection committee involving GBIF Secretariat staff and members of the GBIF task group will review the applications.

Following an initial screening to ensure that they meet general eligibility criteria, the selection committee will score applications against the following criteria:

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

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