Vacancy

CHIEF OPERATIONS OFFICER

Type: Full-time, permanent.

Salary: £40,500, plus pension allowance of 10%.

Location: Flexible, but in-person meetings and conferences will be held typically in central England.

Hours: 5-day week of 37.5 hours. Out of hours work will be required and time in lieu will be available.

Annual Leave: 25 days, plus public/bank holidays.

Closing date: 0900 UTC, 24 January 2022.


This is an exciting opportunity to run and develop one of the key ornithological societies in the world and to contribute to global ornithology.

We are looking for someone with a passion for ornithology who believes in a diverse and inclusive ornithological community and who excels at communication and innovation.


About the BOU

With an international membership stretching across all continents, the BOU is a vibrant community society. As one of the world’s oldest societies (founded in 1858), we are one of the most globally-respected ornithological organisations.

We are a registered charity in England and Wales (249877) and Scotland (SCO44850), administered by a Council of Trustees elected by our membership. Our mission is to promote ornithology, which we do through publication of excellent science in our journal, IBIS – the #1 journal in ornithology (2020 journal impact factors published by Clarivate in June 2021 using Clarivate’s Web of Science), supporting a global community of scientists and practitioners, through conferences and online resources, and providing grants and bursaries. We are especially proud of our initiatives to engage and support early career ornithologists, and in promoting equality and diversity in our field.

The day-to-day activities of the BOU are undertaken by two staff members with the main activities overseen by the BOU’s Management Group, Council and Standing Committees. The Chief Operations Officer (COO) has responsibility for the day-to-day management and running of the BOU, and the Journal & Office Manager manages the day-to-day running of IBIS and membership administration.

What are we looking for in a Chief Operations Officer?

Through its global membership, the BOU actively serves the wider ornithological community, which means that the BOU COO plays a significant role at the heart of global ornithology.

Our new COO will continue to drive the broad range of BOU activities, maintain a vibrant community society and deliver new initiatives.

The successful candidate will have a broad skill-set and a passion not just for ornithology, in its broadest sense, but also for the ornithological community and how the BOU can continue to best serve it.

As a member of the BOU leadership team, you will be in day-to-day control of all our operations, so you will need to be an excellent communicator, innovator and manager. You will use your organisational skills to develop and deliver our core activities, including developing and delivering in-person and virtual conferences and events. You will use these same skills to drive the internal machinery that helps run the BOU, including our Council of Trustees and volunteer-led committees which oversee the development of many of our core community activities.

You will use your knowledge of journal publishing along with your business and management skills to oversee the delivery of our scientific journal, IBIS, the #1 journal in the Ornithology category. You will use your passion and wide knowledge of ornithology to promote BOU activities, including our journal IBIS, to our core scientific community.

Working remotely, you will need to be highly self-motivated with a pro-active and supportive approach to organising our activities, excellent time management skills and the confidence to make decisions. You will require excellent inter-personal, communication and negotiating skills, and an enthusiasm for working collaboratively with others, from our Council of Trustees to volunteers, with a desire to develop yourself and others. You will also require a great attention to detail, an ability to work at pace and to tight deadlines and to be confident when embracing new technologies that can improve the delivery of our activities.

For a more detailed job description, including key responsibilities and core activities, see here

Qualifications and other essential requirements
  • A degree in business management or a relevant science discipline or at least 3-years’ experience in operations/programme management.
  • Excellent communication skills, including writing original material, editing contributed content and oral presentation, and familiarity with and use of mainstream social media platforms.
  • Advanced organisational skills, including the setting up and delivery of large conferences/meetings/events, and the ability to write business papers and reports for different audiences.
  • Knowledge of the wider ornithological community and the fundamentals of science communication.
  • Computer literacy in Word, Excel, Outlook, PowerPoint, desktop publishing and graphics packages.
  • Experience of using/managing a website platform including at least basic html editing (BOU use WordPress).
Other desirable requirements
  • Knowledge of the BOU and its activities.
  • Good knowledge and understanding of scientific journal publishing (landscape, processes, delivery, and management).
  • Line management experience.
  • Financial management responsibilities and skills, and knowledge of bookkeeping/ accounting practices.
  • Tendering and contract management experience.
  • A full driving licence (reimbursement of travel expenses at the arranged rate and other reasonable out of pocket expenses will be paid).
How to apply

Applicants should apply by email to the BOU Office. This should include:

  • A covering letter which:
    • summarises your relevant experience;
    •  covers the following areas (maximum 250 words per topic):
      • What is the value of the BOU to potential members?
      • What are the challenges facing small, learned societies in a fast-changing journal publishing landscape?
      • How does the BOU overcome barriers to inclusivity?
      • Describe a recent example from your work-life that demonstrates your organisational ability.
    • includes a personal statement which describes why you are enthusiastic about this opportunity.
  • A full CV.
  • The details of two referees.

Closing date for applications: 0900 UTC, 24 January 2022.

Interviews: mid/late February 2022.

Start date: the successful candidate will be expected to be in post from 1 June.