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Chief Scientist

Rainforest Builder
London (Greater) (GB)
£70,000-£110,000, depending on experience, plus benefits
Closing date
20 Aug 2023

View more

Applied Science, Environmental Science
Job Type
Head of Department
Employment - Hours
Full time

About Rainforest Builder

Rainforest Builder is an integrated Nature Tech company focused on the restoration of tropical forests at landscape scale. We are on a mission to restore a million hectares of rainforest in sub-Saharan Africa, sequestering hundreds of millions of tonnes of CO2 and restoring native biodiversity.

We are working to combine forestry industry know-how with the latest restoration science and technology to deliver the highest-quality carbon and biodiversity credits. We source, finance, and operate tropical forest restoration projects for some of the world’s largest investors, via innovative financing solutions. Our first two countries of operation are Ghana and Sierra Leone.

What makes us different:

Science-focused – we are investing heavily to build globally-leading knowledge on rainforest restoration, from R&D in species selection and silvicultural methodologies, to applying advanced analytics to projecting carbon and biodiversity outcomes. Embedding the latest science in our work allows us to drive continuous improvements in the quality of the projects that we execute.

Biodiversity at our core – we specialise in restoring degraded land to indigenous tropical forest ecosystems, using only native species, ensuring not only large-scale carbon sequestration but the restoration of biodiversity too. We measure, quantify, and verify our biodiversity impact alongside carbon.

Positive community impact – we focus on landscape-scale restoration with the highest standards of direct community engagement, working to professionalise the sector and deliver inclusive economic growth to our host communities.

Fully integrated approach – we execute and manage projects directly with our own specialist restoration forestry teams on the ground, ensuring that we can directly guarantee the continued quality and integrity of a project. We do not believe that long-term, large-scale carbon projects can be outsourced.

The Role

The Chief Scientist is one of the most senior roles at Rainforest Builder, responsible for all the company’s R&D activities, working alongside the founders to lead Rainforest Builder’s approach in restoring one million hectares of degraded land to tropical forest.

This is an opportunity for a scientist with a strong research track record, an appetite for delivering sustained on-the-ground impact, and desire to take on a senior leadership role. The Chief Scientist will build and coordinate an extensive department of research leaders (across Data Science, Geospatial Analytics, and Field R&D) and assistants spread across multiple countries, with a large budget to support experimental and desk-based science, and to publish core findings in the scientific literature.

The Chief Scientist and their team will develop and continuously refine Rainforest Builder’s restoration approach, including but not limited to species selection, silvicultural regime, optimal locations for restoration, and climate change readiness. The Chief Scientist will thus directly determine how the company deploys multimillion-dollar budgets for maximum carbon sequestration and biodiversity uplift.

Your Responsibilities

  1. Establish and manage a world-leading tropical forest research department, comprising leading talent from across the world. This will include an initial team of six researchers, growing over time.
  2. Build and showcase Rainforest Builder’s reputation as a thought-leading institution in tropical forest restoration.
  3. Set the scientific strategy and direction for Rainforest Builder.
  4. Develop proprietary restoration methodologies to deliver reliable and cost-effective carbon and biodiversity results across our projects.
  5. Implement 1,000+ hectares of long-term experimental research trials to drive continuous learning across our operations to advance the sector’s knowledge.
  6. Deliver accurate forecasts and monitoring of carbon sequestration, biodiversity recovery, and other key environmental and social outcomes across our portfolio using the latest technologies.
  7. Work with Rainforest Builders finance team to manage substantial research budgets.
  8. Build and manage partnerships with other research institutions (in countries of operation and elsewhere) to collaborate on specific pieces of research and raise the profile of Rainforest Builder, including through funding of doctoral and postdoctoral research.
  9. Oversee publication of high-quality research outputs in the peer-reviewed scientific literature.
  10. Lead Rainforest Builders interactions with the Scientific Advisory Board.


  • Significant research experience at senior research scientist, Lecturer, Assistant or Associated Professor or Professor level (or similar)
  • Strong academic research track record in tropical forest restoration or closely related field
  • A PhD or qualification of similar level
  • Demonstrated track record of managing a team of researchers and substantial research budgets
  • Experience of tropical forests restoration (in Africa preferred, but not required)
  • Some fieldwork experience in developing countries
  • Experience of developing sustainable collaborations with local and international researchers
  • Familiarity with remote-sensing data sources for forest observation (desirable)
  • Experience measuring carbon and/or biodiversity in tropical forests (desirable).


  • Generous paid holiday allowance; 25 days per year plus bank holidays
  • Hybrid working policy, with flexibility on location and hours (headquarters in London with operations in Africa)
  • Dedicated professional development allowance and wellness allowances
  • Generous parental leave and workplace nursery scheme


  • £70,000-110,000 p.a., subject to experience
  • Equity options

To Apply

Click the apply button to email (Ed Stephenson) a CV and Cover Letter detailing your expertise in relation to the role and requirements, and a vision statement for how you would develop the research department at Rainforest Builder (max 2 pages).  

Application deadline: rolling until the position is filled

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