1 Field research fellowship on bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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Paula Dieguez

Aug 29, 2023, 3:52:46 AMAug 29
to Primate-Volunteers

1 Field research fellowship on bonobos in the Democratic Republic of Congo. 

About the project:

The BonDiv project (www.bondiv.org) is accepting applications for 1 international research fellowship located in the Democratic Republic of Congo (https://bondiv.org/index.php/news/). The BonDiv project is a large-scale collaborative research project that aims to investigate and document bonobo intraspecific diversity, allowing for simultaneous study of multiple sympatric species.  Research sites are located in exceptionally remote regions, with no (or very little) internet connection (but with access to a satellite communicator). Each site is led by two people with complementary expertise.

The fellowship appointment will have a duration of approximately 14 months, starting as soon as possible. We encourage all fellowship candidates to familiarize themselves with their country’s travel advisories before applying. Be advised, that all activities will fall within the geographic range of the bonobo, comprising in this case the province of Tshuapa. Apply only if you are sure that you would accept the fellowship.

About the Fellows:

Under the mentorship of local experts and the PIs Martin Surbeck, Erin Wessling, and Hjalmar Kuehl, each fellow will benefit from gaining valuable fieldwork and applied conservation experience, including data and sample collection that will contribute to the scientific understanding of the bonobo ecology including food availability, prey species, other sympatric wildlife, climate, and the relevance of human impact. Other learning opportunities will include the conducting of social surveys and the collection of a multitude of organic samples to support genetic, pathogen, diet, metabolomics, and isotope analyses of the bonobo ecosystem. 

Building upon the skills acquired and refreshed during a workshop, the fellow will then practice data collection, data entry, sample storage, and monthly reporting of progress and results in the field. 


Those individuals who would be the best fit for the fellowship may have a combination of the  attributes below:

-          undergraduate degree in biology or a related field

-          conversational competency in French and English

-          6 + months of fieldwork experience, preferably in remote areas of the tropics

-          to be proficient with email communication, MS Excel, and Word

-          good interpersonal and communication skills 

-          experience working with an international team

-          communicate clearly and regularly via remote connections with coordinator/directors

-          comfortable to live and work in a context and culture potentially significantly different than your own

-          willing and able to live away from developed areas, isolated and with minimal living conditions (no plumbing, electricity, or housing) in extremely remote locations

-          experience with GPS, camera traps, and biological sample collection

-          proficiency with Cybertracker, QGIS, BaseCamp/MapSource 

Expectations of conduct for Fellows: - respectful to members of local communities and wildlife - honest and accountable communication with project management - no drug use (including alcohol) allowed in camp or during working hours – sexual,gender or any type of harassment will not be tolerated - failure of any of these points will be grounds for immediate dismissal at your own expense.

About the Fellowship:

This fellowship will offer:

-          unique opportunity to gain field experience in the central African rainforest with the  world’s least-known ape species

-          fellows will receive rigorous training and gain proficiency in diverse research and scientific  methods relevant to careers in applied conservation and ecological research 

-          all expenses covered, including visa, roundtrip flights to Kinshasa (DRC), transport to/from  the site, and lodging and food during the project

-          all necessary equipment to perform diverse sets of research

-          scientific contribution recognized in publications using samples or data that fellows collected

-          $450 monthly per diem to cover incidentals 

The following will be the responsibility of the Fellow:

-          health insurance that covers emergency repatriation and liability, including COVID-related  illness

-          vaccinations required for entry into DRC prior to departure, and any medications  recommended for remote field work, including malaria prophylaxis

-          clothes, shoes, and personal field equipment (a suggested list of these items will be  provided)


Applications should be submitted as soon as possible, including a CV, letter of interest highlighting qualifications/experience, and the names and emails of three references to in...@bondiv.org with ‘Field fellowship’ in the subject line. Interviews will be conducted via zoom. Please note that only shortlisted candidates will be contacted.

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