Nottingham Trent University - Year 3 Placement Scheme
Every year I will recruit up to four sandwich placement students (Field Assistants) to join my research project studying wild chacma baboons in the Limpopo Province, South Africa. These positions are most likely to suit students interested in acquiring field experience prior to undertaking a Masters or PhD. You will learn to identify three wild groups of chacma baboon and will be trained in a range of behavioural and ecological data collection techniques. You will contribute to ongoing data collection and the general running of the research camp. The study site – also home to vervet monkeys and bushbabies, to name only the primates – is located on the Swebeswebe Wildlife Estate, approximately 50km from the town of Lephalale. Applicants should be aware that the study site is home to dangerous animals, including leopards and snakes, and that field work is conducted on foot.
Eligibility & experience
You must be enrolled on a Nottingham Trent University 4-year (sandwich) course. Ideal applicants will be working toward an undergraduate degree in a relevant discipline (e.g., psychology, zoology, animal science). Applicants should be physically fit and resilient. Days in the field are long and physically challenging, and you will be living in relatively remote field conditions. Working with baboons can be particularly challenging, with researchers required to walk up to ~20km/day across rocky terrain. You will typically work four days per week to the tune of approximately 55h/week. Proven ability to work and live amicably alongside others is advantageous. Possession of a full driver’s license, with manual competence, is desirable.
Free lodging will be provided at the research camp (pictured below), equipped with full solar electricity, internet, hot running water, showers, kitchen, beds etc. Assistants may be required to share a room. A stipend of approximately ZAR4,000 (~£200)/month will be provided for food and general subsistence. Assistants will be collected and returned to OR Tambo airport, Johannesburg.
Expenses not covered
Students will need to cover their own (i) travel to OR Tambo airport, Johannesburg, South Africa (£500-1000), and (ii) medical and travel insurance and, (iii) visa documentation fees (~£300). All assistants should arrive equipped with hiking boots, a backpack, and outdoor clothing.
Start date: Between July and September each year
Term: 12 months
Applying for the position
You will be asked to provide a copy of your CV, the contact details of two recent referees (at least one from a university tutor/instructor), and a one-page cover letter describing your interests, experience, aspirations, and availability. These positions are part of the NTU Sandwich Placement Scheme, InPlace. Application opening and closing dates will be published annually:
2023 application: https://in-place.ntu.ac.uk/student/opportunity/38193