We’re looking for a Terrestrial Ecologist, a National Specialist who’ll advise the Trust, updating on the latest ideas, guiding research and developing new techniques, providing advice to people at properties across the organisation, leading and supporting projects. This person will combine delivery of nature projects with the development of research across the Trust to further our strategic objectives.

We’ve achieved Independent Research Organisation (IRO) status and we’re planning to focus even more intently on our research potential. The exceptional properties, collections and land holdings in our care, combined with the expertise of our staff, provide unique opportunities for new discoveries across culture, history and the natural environment.

The role will require a presence at Heelis for 1 or 2 days per week – and regular travel to properties across the Trust.

What it’s like to work here

Heelis, the Central Office for the National Trust, is situated in Swindon, Wiltshire, and houses approximately 700 staff from across the Trust’s directorates, including the Executive team and the Director General. The building was designed to be highly sustainable and has won several nationally-recognised awards; the open-plan offices and friendly social spaces help us to foster a truly collaborative working environment.

We’re well-placed, with the railway station and ample parking nearby, a shopping outlet on the doorstep and the town centre only a 10-minute walk away. And our in-house café provides us with delicious meals and snacks every day.

What you’ll be doing

You’ll be our expert on Terrestrial Ecology, maintaining an overview of priorities and responding to requests for information, advice and hands-on support.

You’ll support the creation of an organisation-wide approach to specialist and habitat conservation at all geographical scales, working with in-house Ecological specialists and external trainers to develop training programmes to grow talent, and provide continuing professional development in the areas of Terrestrial Ecology, data handling and analysis.

We’ll rely on you to identify key research questions relating to the management of our diverse landscapes and to devise strategies to answer them, commissioning consultants and research where necessary, focusing on action aligned with our Strategic Objectives, ensuring that the principles of sustainability are built into all outputs.

You’ll support Central Directors with responses to Consultation documents, Policy and Position development and representation on key governmental and other stages, providing projected consequences for species and habitats to climate change and geo-political events.

Who we’re looking for

To succeed in this role, you’ll need the following: –

  • Relevant post-graduate qualification (e.g. PhD) or equivalent achievements, and significant post qualification experience in the same field, together with relevant professional recognition (e.g. accreditation), or the ability to demonstrate terrestrial ecological knowledge at the expert level.
  • Proven research experience, including the delivery of research projects and the publication of scientific papers.
  • A deep knowledge of the restoration and management of one – or a group of – priority habitats and significant demonstrable experience of the application of conservation principles in heritage settings.


  • High standard of consulting, communication and influencing skills, including the ability to speak compellingly to a variety of audiences and the media, and training, coaching and mentoring professionals at a range of levels.
  • Excellent influencing skills, the ability to build effective relationships with related professionals, internally and externally.
  • Ability to interpret and respond to research, intelligence, analysis and policy developments and to share learning and ideas.
  • Project management and advanced IT skills, using e.g. collections management database.


  • Providing advice and implementing solutions at a range of scales and designing, procuring and managing prioritised programmes.
  • Developing and delivering innovation in a multi-disciplinary environment and teams.
  • Writing papers and publishing articles in professional journals, organising and presenting at workshops, seminars and conferences and sharing stories internally and externally, e.g. through social, print and broadcast media.
  • Previous experience in an environmental, heritage or cultural environment.

The package


Click here to find out more about the benefits we offer to support you.

Benefits include flexible working whenever possible plus free parking at most locations. You’ll be entitled to discounts in high street stores and cinemas, National Trust shops and NT cafes, and have free entry to NT properties for you, a guest and your children (under 18).

Your health and wellbeing is important to us and is supported through generous annual leave and the option to buy additional days (minimum contract length applies), a cycle to work scheme, subsidised health cash plan, a loan towards rental deposits and confidential access to a free support service 24 hours a day should you need it.

Your future financial health is helped by an employer matched – up to 10% of basic salary – contributory pension scheme and you can further your career with training and development tailored to you.

All of this and the opportunity to give something back to your community with up to 5 days of paid volunteering per year!