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Science Officer [closed]

Pulau Lang Tengah, Kuala Terengganu, Terengganu, Malaysia

Job Type

Full Time, 3 year contract

We are a non-profit organization, but given the many challenges coral reefs face, scientific research is the decisive factor of our operation. We have published several research articles until today, and many more are in the pipeline. All this science was necessary to get to where we are today, a science-informed coral restoration project.

After almost 5 years of research & development, we are planning on significantly scaling up our on-site operations, but this is only possible through an extensive scientific project that will likely change 'the game of coral restoration'. To achieve our ambitious targets, we are looking for a Science Officer to be based on site, starting in September 2023. This is a full time position with a fixed 3 year contract,. We are looking for a research scientist with extensive fieldwork experience in coral reef research. The position is part of a 3 year research and development project with a significant practical component. Thus, you will work alongside local and international partners, and you will be part of one of Malaysia's largest coral restoration initiatives. Through this project, you will thus get the opportunity to work alongside leading scientists in the field of coral restoration, network and gain unique inter-disciplinary skills.

About the Role

The Science Officer will report directly to our Senior Scientist who will be coordinating all fieldwork related activities and duties, and is in charge of supervising the Coral Restoration Officer when the Senior Scientists or other senior staff is not present. Roles and duties progress and partially change with the project timeline, as we move from ex situ experiments, to in situ coral nursery culture, to eventual outplanting and monitoring of restoration success. Please note that this role requires you to SCUBA dive extensively to collect data and perform various underwater tasks, as well as take part in conservation activities on land. The position thus involves three major focus areas: research, coral restoration, guest education and related activities.


Research tasks:

  • Conduct ex situ experiments.

  • Underwater data collection (permanent monitoring of reef sites, monitoring of coral nurseries and outplanted corals, monitoring of coral bleaching, etc.).

  • Data entry and management, which includes supervising the work of field assistants and the Coral Restoration Officer.

  • Data analysis & synthesis (supporting role).

  • Report writing (supporting role).

  • Review scientific literature.

We may ask you to represent Coralku at scientific events, give talks (e.g., webinars), and prepare science communication materials. You are also responsible for supersiving junior staff when other senior staff members are not on site. There might also be opportunities for you to develop new research projects and conduct your own research (a.k.a. be lead author of scientific papers).

Coral restoration tasks:

  • Construct and stock coral nurseries

  • Maintain coral nurseries.

  • Outplant corals from our nurseries

  • Monitor nursery and outplanted corals

  • Collect photographic material of outplanted corals.

  • Coral predator removal

Guest activities & related tasks:

We expect to establish a Marine Discovery Centre by early 2024. This will be your 'office' and one of your primary responsibilities to operate, and includes greeting visitors, providing information about our organization and projects, and giving awareness talks on related marine conservation topics. Specifically, following tasks will be a key role of the Science Officer:

  • Planning and executing of coral planting dives (and / or snorkels) with island visitors

  • Event management of CSR projects, school trips and awareness campaigns (supporting role)

  • Co-manange the coral adoption database (e.g., collect update photographs, database management, etc).

  • Co-manage the Marine Discovery Centre (e.g., maintain the area, greet visitors)

  • Various small administrative tasks (e.g., equipment maintenance, stock accounting, etc.)

Required Skills


Please DO NOT APPLY if you do not meet the minimum requirements for this position. Many of the responsibilities and tasks that you will perform are very specific, and our research methodology and standard restoration practice is well established. This means that we understand that we will have to train you on our in-house operation, basically from Zero to Hero (even if you already know some of the stuff we do). But, if you do not meet the requirements below, we are not able to offer you this position.

  1. MSc in marine science, ecology, biology, environmental science or a related field, or a BSc with a minimum of 3 years working experience in a highly related field (and with underwater SCUBA diving fieldwork experience). We are looking for someone who is scientifically adept and understands the rigorous process of data collection and analysis, and can conduct research tasks without supervision.

  2. Practical and demonstrated working experience, specifically SCUBA diving fieldwork experience. We are looking for someone who has at least 2 year hands-on experience in coral reef research and surveys.

  3. Open Water Diving License with at least 50 logged scientific dives (not including fun dives, training dives, etc.). If you do not have the minimum number of required dives, but you can demonstrate a commendable underwater fieldwork resume, then please still apply or reach out.

  4. Excellent written and oral English language skills. Must be able to write scientific English at a proficient level.

  5. Excellent command of MS Excel, Word and PowerPoint.

  6. Experience working with statistical analysis software such as RStudio, MATLAB.

  7. Physically fit, strong open water swimmer and able to free dive 10 meters.

  8. Strong communications skills and able to take the lead and supervise others.

  9. A 'team first' attitude.

  10. Malaysian citizen only (or permanent residents).

Highly desired skills

These are the skills that will make you the perfect candidate. You do not have to have these skills, but comanding any of these skills is a big bonus:

  1. Fluent in Bahasa Malaysia, Mandarin and / or another Chinese dialect (Cantonese, Hokkien, etc.).

  2. Highly proficient in RStudio, MATLAB, and / or any other scientific software suitable to draw graphs, figures and anaylze large datasets.

  3. Previous experience in scientific publishing.

  4. Previous experience in conducting coral reef surveys, coral restoration tasks, and other scientific underwater work.

  5. Coral identification skills up to genus level.

  6. Reef fish and invertebrate identification skills.

Do not apply:

  • If science does not excite you.

  • If you are looking for a 1 year stint to get your feet wet. This position is progressive and follows a strict project schedule, thus tasks and duties build upon previous progress. We have to train you for this position, and we are not interested in training new staff every year.

  • If you are not willing to live on an island for 8-9 months of the year.

  • If you are not fit for extensive fieldwork. Some days will be very long and physically challenging (e.g., four 90-minute dives a day in possibly rough conditions followed by data entry).

  • If being underwater is not really your thing.

  • If you are not interested in working in a 'team first' environment.

  • If you are not willing to put in the extra effort to get the most out of each day and task.

Terms & benefits:

  • Fixed 3 year contract with a full-time salary and inclusive of EPF, SOCSO, and diving insurance.

  • Paid annual, medical and emergency leave.

  • While on the project site, shared accommodation (2 PAX / room) and 3 meals a day are provided.

  • 8 days off / month with the (desired) option to leave the project site to go home or somewhere else. Monthly travel between project site and home residence will be covered.

  • Start date is the 1st of September, 2023, with a 3 months probation period.

Career benefits:

You will learn unique skills across various fields, from practical coral restoration skills, diving skills, scientific diving skills, coral identification, etc. We are committed to your individual progress, and we offer to train and invest in you. As you will contribute significantly to numerous research projects, you will have the opportunity to be a co-author of all research publications, adding further credentials to your resume. If you have chosen natural science, marine science or ecology as your desired career path, this position will enable you to work in various sectors, such as tourism, academia, conservation and / or policy and governance.

How to apply

Please send us your full CV to, and state at least 2 referees that we are allowed to contact for feedback, ideally from 2 separate institutions / organizations, while 1 reference has to come from a scientific institution. In addition, let us know why you are interested in this position, what your desired career path looks like, and what motivates you to work in this field. You can choose the format in which you do this: this can be a traditional cover letter, an essay, a video message, or something even more creative - feel free to surpise us. We will gauge your skills from your CV, but since this position requires an ambitious team player who lives on site, we want to gauge who you are as a person, and how you showcase that is up to you. As this is a scientific position, you are welcome to share any previous scientific work you have conducted.

Applications open until the position is filled Successful candidates will be contacted and invited to interviews in June.

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