Senior Spatial Planning Science Advisor (Location Flexible)

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The Nature Conservancy

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Arlington, VA, United States

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11 days ago


Arlington, Virginia, USA

Remote home office; the location for this position is flexible within countries where The Nature Conservancy is a registered NGO and has an already established office. This position is not eligible for relocation or immigration assistance.





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.”

The Senior Spatial Planning Science Advisor works with complex and integrated protection strategies within the Global Protect Oceans, Lands, and Waters program, such as the 30x30 Initiative, Enduring Earth, and our emerging terrestrial and freshwater debt strategies. The overarching focus of these initiatives is to help the world protect a representative, durable, inclusive, and effectively managed 30% of the planet. The Senior Spatial Planning Science Advisor will play a key advisory and coordination role to elevate and integrate spatial planning within projects in prioritized countries and leveraging strategies at regional and global scales. They will help coordinate our science efforts across sub-teams and biomes to ensure we are maximizing our spatial planning approaches and efforts within these key strategies.
Learn more about the related strategies:

  • 30x30: Driven by clear science and the United Nations Convention on Biological Diversity’s ambitious goals to address the biodiversity crisis, which, amongst several goals, establishes a global commitment to protect 30% of the planet by 2030, known as “30x30”. This is the overarching framework for TNC’s protection efforts. To help ensure this target is effectively implemented in line with global conservation best practices, TNC has an internal initiative that integrates our work across policy, financing conservation, communications and campaigns, sciences, and conservation implementation to maximize our impact to the protection of 30 percent of the world’s terrestrial, freshwater, and marine habitats by 2030.
  • Enduring Earth is an ambitious collaboration that works alongside nations as they seek to achieve 30% protection and amplify conservation for a more sustainable, prosperous future for people and planet. Central to our approach is Project Finance for Permanence (PFP), an innovative approach that fully funds conservation projects to ensure durable and scalable impact. Spatial planning is the backbone of these ambitious conservation projects and commitments, and will leverage previous and new efforts to inform how these significant initiatives develop and are implemented.
  • Debt Strategies are a key implementation tool for achieving 30x30 by working closely with governments around the world to refinance their debt and unlock significant commitments and resources for conservation. TNC has a successful history utilizing this approach in the marine realms via our Blue Bonds program and is expanding this approach to terrestrial and freshwater systems where additional science capacity is needed.


The Senior Spatial Planning Science Advisor informs the 30x30 Initiative, Enduring Earth, and the debt strategies managers and teams on broad and complex aspects of science-based spatial planning. They develop and contribute to the implementation of strategic spatial science that is aligned with the objectives of these initiatives and Global Protect priorities. The Senior Advisor oversees staff to ensure work plans and projects are aligned and addressing priority science needs. They coordinate with our marine and freshwater science leads to ensure our deep integration across biomes where appropriate. Projects may include topics such as prioritization analyses, tool or guidance development, and spatial analyses tying together climate, land use, and socioeconomic data needed to answer questions about outcomes and impacts from meeting 30x30 protection targets. The Senior Advisor plays a role in assessing the need for, and creating interest in, science products, and works to gather internal and external stakeholder buy-in for science products.

The Senior Spatial Planning Science Advisor will ensure the use of innovative spatial science methods and tools in planning for protection outcomes. They will also serve as an advisor to key national team members on these topics and support the use of rigorous analytic methods that leads to strategic decision-making. They keep up to date on spatial science methods and will lead or contribute to publications that advance the evidence base for outcomes associated with 30x30 protection targets. They ensure that country-level planning needs are met by participating in a team of spatial scientists and leveraging existing capacity within and outside the organization.

The Senior Spatial Planning Science Advisor must be able to navigate a complex, matrixed organization, working across diverse teams of conservation practitioners, scientists, managers, and other staff. This is a highly integrated role that requires deep collaboration and coordination across teams and programs. They must have a keen ability to distill complex needs into actionable projects and ideas and be able to translate nuanced research findings to policy-relevant information and work with staff to disseminate information to internal and external audiences.

As a Team Leader, the Senior Advisor exemplifies and leads others within the organization to live TNC’s Values and creates a workplace where staff thrive within TNC’s Code of Conduct.
This position reports to the Science Lead of the Global Protect Team and the location for this position is flexible within countries where The Nature Conservancy is a registered NGO and has an already established office. This position is not eligible for relocation or immigration assistance.


By joining our Global Protect Oceans, Lands and Water team, you will become part of a group of dedicated globally dispersed group who are leading conservation efforts on multiple fronts and who bring science, strategy, and action together. We work closely with teams from across the organization and partners to deliver a representative, durable, effective, resilient, and inclusive 30x30 vision.

We’re looking for an individual with experience coordinating diverse teams of scientists and practitioners seeking to achieve 30x30 protection goals. You would be part of a team of scientists with dedicated efforts to impact conservation throughout the world!

Responsibilities and scope of this position include:

  • Propose strategic spatial science research priorities, and work with TNC managers and scientists to implement approaches to enhance performance in accordance with short and long-term objectives of the 30x30 Initiative, Enduring Earth, debt strategies, and other key priorities within the Global Protect Business Unit.
  • Assign or coordinate with other science team members who may support the execution of specific projects. Collaborate with other science leaders to ensure needs are covered across all realms.
  • Participate in team planning meetings and advise on integration of science within related efforts. Serve as the primary point of contact for those conservation team leads.
  • Work across global boundaries and collaborate with the science community to enhance the conservation practices.
  • Ensure that global and field-based projects utilize cutting edge spatial science to help address large-scale, complex problems by leveraging internal and external capacity, and systematic and thorough processes.
  • Work across TNC internal teams and create enabling conditions to ensure integrated spatial science processes are conducted.
  • Coordinate a multidisciplinary team, including responsibility for team engagement, and staff management (objective setting, coaching, and mentoring).
  • Help connect 30x30, Enduring Earth, and debt strategies conservation portfolios to TNC’s organizational goals and outcomes in coordination with the marine and freshwater science leads.
  • Ensure 30x30 and Enduring Earth planning seeks to achieve representative outcomes across ecosystems and terrestrial, freshwater, and marine biomes. Coordinate closely with the marine spatial planning team and freshwater spatial planning team to coordinate integration and coverage for key projects and strategies.
  • Will collaborate conservation leads, Protect Lead Scientist, and others to assist with program activities as needed by creating content and reporting on major grant deliverables.


  • Master's Degree in science related field and 6 years of experience or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Supervisory experience.
  • Record of conducting original spatial science research and publishing in peer reviewed scientific journals.
  • Experience directing a major program of strategic importance and working with a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Experience in relationship building with peers, partners, government agencies, land owners, academic community, etc.
  • Experience fundraising and/or writing grants and research proposals.
  • Experience with communication skills, written, spoken and graphical.


  • PhD in science related field and 6 years related experience in spatial analysis, geographical information science, applied spatial research, or equivalent combination of education and experience.
  • Multi-language skills and multicultural or cross-cultural experience highly desired.
  • Experience conducting cooperative spatial science analyses for largescale conservation projects.
  • Experience working internationally and/or with global teams.
  • Experience leading a highly collaborative cross-functional team in a matrixed organization.
  • Excellent communicator who can integrate science into conservation planning.
  • Experience designing, organizing and directing complex multiple projects of strategic importance and leading a multi-disciplinary team.
  • Experience synthesizing and integrating research findings and lessons learned across programs.
  • Experience communicating and presenting complex messages to non-science partners.
  • Experience disseminating research findings in relevant forms to internal and external audiences.
  • Experience undertaking cost-benefit analyses, and ecosystems services modeling and valuation
  • Experience with the use of quantitative methods (cost-benefit analyses, inferential statistics, quasi-experimental studies), with deep experience in a subset of methods.
  • Knowledge of statistical analysis and programs (e.g., R, SAS, MATLAB), particularly related to environmental data.
  • Experience with software often used to support conservation planning.
  • Ability to formulate and evaluate broad policies.
  • Ability to make independent decisions based on incomplete information and accepts associated risks.
  • Strong strategic thinker and advanced analytical ability.
  • Ability to network extensively in scientific communities and maintain strong relationships.
  • Experience negotiating, building support and buy-in amongst internal and external stakeholders.
  • Demonstrate emotional intelligence and humility.


Since 1951, TNC has been doing work you can believe in. Through grassroots action, we have grown from a small non-profit into 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 and partners, we impact conservation around the world!

TNC offers competitive and comprehensive benefits packages tailored to the individual countries where we work. These may include health care benefits, retirement benefits, parental leave, paid time off, life insurance, and disability coverage as well as an employee assistance program and other life and well-being benefits. Learn more about our benefits on our Culture Tab on

We’re proud to offer a flexible work environment that supports the health and well-being of the people we employ.


To apply for job ID 52520, submit your cover letter and resume online by using the Apply Now button at by 11:59 pm EST, Sunday, December 11th, 2022. Need help applying? Visit our recruitment page or contact

The Nature Conservancy is an Equal Opportunity Employer. Our commitment to diversity includes the recognition that our conservation mission is best advanced by the leadership and contributions of people of diverse backgrounds, beliefs and culture. Recruiting and mentoring staff to create an inclusive organization that reflects our global character is a priority and we encourage applicants from all cultures, races, colors, religions, sexes, national or regional origins, ages, disability status, sexual orientation, gender identity, military, protected veteran status or other status protected by law.

TNC is committed to offering accommodations for qualified individuals with disabilities and disabled veterans in our job application process. If you need assistance or an accommodation due to a disability, please send a note to with Request for Accommodation in the subject line.

Where legally permissible, TNC requires all new employees to be fully vaccinated and willing to keep up to date with vaccines that protect against COVID-19. By accepting an offer of employment, you agree to comply with this requirement, unless you are entitled to a legally mandated exemption.

An attractive salary and benefits package is part of TNC’s value proposition to our employees. TNC strives to provide competitive pay and bases salaries on the geographic location of the role while committing to closing the gender pay gap and providing hiring salary ranges when possible.

Since we support flexible and remote work for our employees, many positions have a flexible location within countries where we’re registered as a Non-government Organization and established as an employer. This may mean we’re unable to provide a hiring salary range in the posting for some of our positions. However, candidates invited to be part of our interview process will be provided their location specific range upon request.