Vacancy – Conference Support Officer


The BOU is one of the world’s most respected ornithological organisations, with an international membership stretching across all continents. Our mission is to promote ornithology, which we do through publication of excellent science in our journal IBIS, supporting a global community of scientists and practitioners, through conferences and online resources, and providing grants and bursaries to fund research and career development. We are especially proud of our initiatives to engage and support the global ornithological community, particularly early career ornithologists, and in promoting equality and diversity in ornithology.

BOU conferences

The BOU runs an active programme of online and in-person conferences, through which we facilitate the dissemination of high-quality ornithological science and the connection of engaged ornithologists.

We have an active Meetings Committee that ensures our conferences are at the forefront of ornithological science. Upcoming conference themes including global flyways, urban birds and avian conservation translocations; you can view our conference programme here. We work hard to ensure our conferences are accessible, and as part of this effort we run free-to-attend Twitter conferences in parallel with our in-person and online events.

The role of Conference Support Officer

We have an exciting opportunity to support the delivery of our conference programme.

Our Conference Support Officer provides invaluable support in the delivery of our conferences, both online and in-person. You will work closely with the BOU’s Chief Operations Officer and the Social Media Support Officer.

As the BOU’s Conference Support Officer, you will:

  • Play a central role in delivering our online conferences, including:
    • Keeping conference participant guidelines (for speakers, poster presenters, session chairs and attendees) up-to-date;
    • Reviewing our conference delivery platforms (Zoom and Slack) to ensure continued functionality;
    • Reviewing pre-recorded presentations to ensure content meets our specified requirements;
    • Setting up conference content on Slack, including poster and general conference channels;
    • Transmitting, alongside the COO and volunteers, pre-recorded presentations over Zoom and providing behind-the-scenes support to speakers, session chairs, poster presenters and attendees;
    • Troubleshooting on-the-day issues as they arise.
  • Play a central role in delivering our in-person conferences, including (alongside support from the COO and volunteers):
    • Assisting with set-up at the venue;
    • Covering the registration desk, including welcoming delegates, providing name badges and answering questions;
    • Ensuring the smooth running of the AV during presentation sessions, including uploading presentations and assisting presenters as necessary;
    • Troubleshooting on-the-day issues as they arise.

Applicants should have a broad interest in ornithology and some experience of contributing to conference delivery. Experience with the specific platforms we use for online conferences (Zoom and Slack) would be a distinct advantage, as would general familiarity with online technology. You will need to be familiar with the BOU, its role, its activities and its standing within the ornithological community.

This is one of four Support Officer roles within the BOU – Journal Publicity, Conference, Social Media and Blog Editor. The roles vary and demands on individual Support Officers fluctuate but we ask each Support Officer to provide a minimum of 18 days support service a year.

The role of a BOU Support Officer is particularly suited to an early career ornithologist as these roles progress personal development in key areas such as science communication, working within a team to deliver core activities and working at society committee level to help develop and deliver a wide range of outreach activities.

This role is initially for two years and is supported by an annual honorarium of £1,100 and free conference attendance.

Applications and schedule
Complete this online form to apply for this position.

Deadline for applications: 0900 BST, 31 August 2023.

About the BOU

The BOU’s core activities are:

  • Publishing IBIS as a leading international journal of ornithological science.
  • Organising a programme of scientific meetings and conferences.
  • Awarding grants and bursaries for ornithological research.
  • Encouraging engagement and liaison between those actively engaged in ornithological research.
  • Providing a representative body of the scientific community able to provide ornithological information and advice to government and other policy makers.

The BOU has a strong, global membership and social media presence which we use to drive our activities and to promote ornithology at the widest level, particularly within the global scientific research community. We use our social media outreach to drive the online attention of IBIS papers and to educate our ornithological research community about the benefits of promoting their research and how to do this effectively.