Africa Science Director

Africa Director of Science

Who We Are:

The Nature Conservancy’s mission is to protect the lands and waters upon which all life depends. As a science-based organization, we create innovative, on-the-ground solutions to our world’s toughest challenges so that we can create a world in which people and nature thrive. We’re rooted in our Mission and guided by our Values, which includes a Commitment to Diversity and Respect for People, Communities, and Cultures. Whether it’s career development, flexible schedules, or a rewarding mission, there’s lots of reasons to love life #insideTNC. Want a better insight to TNC? Check out our TNC Talent playlist on YouTube or on Glassdoor.

Our goal is to cultivate an inclusive work environment so that all our colleagues around the globe feel a sense of belonging, and that their unique contributions to our mission are valued. We know we’ll only achieve our Mission by hiring and engaging a diverse workforce that reflects the communities in which we work. In addition to the requirements in our postings, we recognize that people come with talent and experiences outside of a job. Diversity of experience and skills combined with passion is a key to innovation and a culture of inclusion! Please apply – we’d love to hear from you. To quote myriad TNC staff members, “you’ll join for our mission, and you’ll stay for our people.”

TNC’s work in Africa transcends three key pillars: securing ownership rights to lands and resources for indigenous people, strengthening leadership and resource management, and helping communities value nature through a holistic appreciation of its benefits while increasing revenue streams for conservation efforts and socio-economic development. Together with our partners, we are witnessing critical milestones in integrated land and fisheries management, ocean and source water protection, energy development, and sustainable food production working together and strengthening our resolve in tackling global challenges such as climate change, habitat and biodiversity loss that stands to adversely impact the nearly 1.4 billion people that share Africa.

What We Can Achieve Together:

We seek a Director of Science – Africa to lead and manage a comprehensive program of multidisciplinary scientific activities, research, and stewardship. This person advises Senior Leaders and Managers on broad and complex aspects of science-based initiatives. This includes providing technical, strategic, and staff leadership for the Conservancy in all areas of conservation and science connected to the Africa Region. As a Science Director, they will develop and monitor the implementation of a strategic science vision for applied Conservation Science that is aligned with TNC Global 2030 Goals and Africa strategies. They ensure that science underpins conservation priorities, policies and programs in Africa, and work to integrate Africa science activities with TNC strategies and country programs. The ideal candidate will have a track record of research, publication, and scientist supervision; apply evidence-based knowledge to inform conservation planning, public sector policies and private sector practices; be familiar with unique challenges of developing robust scientific studies in data-scarce regions; and enjoy working across Africa’s diverse geographic regions and cultures.

The Director of Science – Africa will lead and supervise a team of multidisciplinary scientists to ensure that methods, tools, capacity building, and cutting-edge science are coordinated and dispersed throughout the Africa region. They provide technical and scientific leadership for conservation initiatives across the Africa Program’s strategies and collaborate with TNC’s global teams to ensure the organization’s Conservation by Design framework is implemented in the Africa Program, and that methods, tools, and approaches used across the region help to achieve TNC’s 2030 Goals for nature and people. The Director of Science will serve as the primary contact for science within the Africa Program for the greater Conservancy and advise senior leaders and managers on broad and complex aspects of science-based initiatives.

The Director of Science will advise and support the strategic development of partnerships and collaborations through a network of internal and external scientists (e.g., other NGOs, government agencies, private sector and academic institutions). The Science Director will supervise a team of scientist to ensure successful work plans and projects while developing and disseminating viability criteria and threat abatement tools and guidelines for critical systems and communities. This involves communicating with diverse audiences, including active collaboration with Marketing and Communications in developing products and deliverables that support fundraising (private and public sources) and outreach for the Conservancy’s work.

As a member of the TNC Global Science Cabinet, they collaborate closely with Global Science and the Chief Conservation Office to provide input and scientific leadership, as required, on organizational priorities and management across the region to help achieve TNC’s 2030 Goals. Within the African region, the Science Director will also work closely with Africa Conservation and Policy Directors to ensure the best scientific methods, tools, and approaches are applied to our conservation goals and linked to policy initiatives.

The Science Director – Africa reports to the Africa Regional Managing Director and supervises the regional Monitoring, Learning, and Evaluation Specialist and Director of the Landscape Science Team. The position can be based in any location in Africa where TNC has an office (Kenya, Angola, Gabon, South Africa Tanzania, or Zambia,); relocation costs may be allocated if the person does not live in the previously mentioned countries.

Specific functions include:

  • Undertakes and leads applied scientific research to assist Africa leadership in determining priority areas and geographies for the Conservancy’s work in Africa – in alignment with TNC’s 30 by 30 Goals, including by designing and testing conservation interventions, and predicting the impact of potential strategies for nature, climate, and people.
  • Works with regional and country teams in Africa to address science capacity gaps and identify opportunities for strengthening evidence-based decision-making and ways to optimize resources and impacts to support program implementation. They will work to further share knowledge and synergies across teams in Africa.
  • Facilitates the deployment of global and regional science resources and expertise for the development, execution, and integration of work streams in connection with the Africa Program strategy, ensuring that there is a good flow of communication between functions and assisting, as necessary, in making relevant connections others across Africa and TNC more broadly.
  • Collaborates with a wide range of conservation partners (in TNC at local, regional, and global levels) to identify research needs, present technical concepts, and support fieldwork.
  • Support TNC Africa’s partners in co-developing scientific strategies, including but not limited to capacity building.
  • Builds solid collaborative networks within and outside TNC in support of conservation strategies. Works with country and regional teams to establish partnerships with universities and institutions to support and advance a research agenda to support African conservation strategies.
  • Communicates with scientists and non-scientist conservation practitioners, philanthropy, government relations, and marketing/communications staff, and serves as a spokesperson and advocate for Conservancy initiatives in coordination with the Africa Conservation and Policy Directors.
  • Advocates for and raises the visibility of TNC.
  • Pursues public and private grant funding to support mission-critical science needs.
  • Coordinates, advises and coaches African staff to ensure that science tools, methods, and metrics capabilities are available to all African countries. Provides training and mentoring to African staff on ecological and conservation scientific principles.
  • Promotes inclusion, a diverse workforce, diversity of thought, and shared ownership and commitment to the organization’s highest priorities.
  • Actively supports a culture of accountability for execution and results.
  • Requires frequent domestic and international travel and may work in variable weather conditions at remote locations, hazardous terrain and/or under physically demanding circumstances.

We’re Looking for You:

If you’re looking for a career where you can find purpose, come join our region as the Director of Science – Africa. Not only will you fulfil conservation objectives across Africa, but you’ll contribute to conservation goals through many networks! We’re looking for a passionate, dedicated person to lead project teams and support our work. Communication, creativity, scientific mindset and relationship building are key in this role. Come join TNC and apply today!

What You’ll Bring:

Minimum Qualifications

  • PhD in science related field and 8 years’ experience in Conservation Science or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Supervisory experience, including motivating, coaching, leading, setting objectives, and managing performance.
  • Experience in building and maintaining internal and external relationships across Africa region.
  • Demonstrated ability to apply systems thinking to complex projects and challenging partnerships.
  • Experience conducting original research and publishing in peer-reviewed scientific journals.
  • Experience fundraising and/or writing grants and research proposals.
  • Experience communicating and presenting the following steps and strategy to senior management.
  • Multi-cultural or cross-cultural experience, especially related to Africa.

Desired qualifications

  • Multi-language skills experience appreciated.
  • Ability to make independent decisions based on incomplete or ambiguous information and accepts associated risks.
  • Strong strategic thinker and advanced analytical ability.
  • Ability to develop work plans and project budgets.
  • Ability to network extensively in scientific and conservation communities and maintain strong relationships.
  • An active member of highly regarded professional groups and networks
  • Experience developing practical applications of scientific concepts and technical innovations for conservation purposes.
  • Experience delivering practical, adaptable products and services to customers.
  • Knowledge of politics and society with respect to environmental affairs.
  • Communicating clearly via written, spoken, and graphical means in English and other relevant languages.
  • Demonstrated leadership and visionary qualities and ability to work effectively with and through others in a decentralized and geographically dispersed organization.
  • Ability to deal effectively and diplomatically with all levels of management and staff.
  • A passion for conservation and wild places across Africa.

What We Bring:

Since 1951, The Nature Conservancy has been doing work you can believe in protecting the lands and waters that all life depends on. Through grassroots action, TNC has grown to become one of the most effective and wide-reaching environmental organizations in the world. Thanks to more than 1 million members, over 400 scientists, and the dedicated efforts of our diverse staff, we impact conservation throughout the world!

The Nature Conservancy offers a competitive, comprehensive benefits package including: health care benefits, retirement stipends including employer match, parental leave, accrued paid time off, life insurance, disability coverage, employee assistance program, other life and work wellbeing benefits. Learn more about our benefits at in the Culture Tab on

We’re proud to offer a work-environment that is supportive of the health, wellbeing, and flexibility needs of the people we employ!

How to apply