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Pacific Community


The Pacific Community (SPC)


New Caledonia

Job Type


Closing Date

5th Jul 2020

— Description —

The Pacific Community (SPC) invites applications for the position of Head of the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science. This position will be located at its headquarters in Noumea, New Caledonia.



The Pacific Community (SPC) is the principal scientific and technical organisation in the Pacific region, supporting development since 1947. We are an international development organisation owned and governed by our 26 country and territory members. In pursuit of sustainable development to benefit Pacific people, our unique organisation works across more than 25 sectors. We are known for our knowledge and innovation in such areas as fisheries science, public health surveillance, geoscience, and conservation of plant genetic resources for food and agriculture.


In commemorating the SPC’s 70th anniversary, the 10th Conference of the Pacific Community in 2017 agreed to task SPC to establish the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science (PCCOS) to be hosted at SPC in order to first set up a virtual Centre that brings together all of SPC’s internal scientific and technical expertise around ocean science, and in a second phase to pursue the objective of becoming a true flag ship for scientific excellence and a dedicated regional science information and knowledge hub that brings together expertise in ocean and fisheries science through partnerships with other national and international scientific bodies. The initiative is now in the second phase operationalising and structuring PCCOS to implement integrated programming in ocean science and innovative international and regional partnerships to serve SPC’s country member integrated ocean governance and management.


The role – the Head of the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Sciencewill provide direction, support and advocacy for the PCCOS. The position will oversee the PCCOS staff and work programme to develop and implement organisation-wide coordination and integrated programming in ocean science for sustainable development. The role will co-ordinate science and research development and collaboration work across all SPC’s relevant divisions/programmes and with international/regional scientific organisations to achieve excellence in ocean science, knowledge and innovation at SPC and innovative scientific partnerships.


The key responsibilities of the role include the following:


1. PCCOS Strategic Leadership and Management


  • Provide strategic vision and direction to guide the work of PCCOS in line with SPC’s Strategic Plan, members’ vision and relevant key regional and global frameworks ;
  • Lead the establishment of collaboration with other regional/international scientific, research and/or technical organisations for amplifying the conduct of ocean research in the region and the delivery of ocean science outputs to Pacific stakeholders ;
  • Coordinate the identification and retention of essential skills and experience to maintain SPC’s excellence in ocean science, knowledge and innovation through a capacity building plan ;
  • Design and lead the development and implementation of an integrated work programme for PCCOS with all SPC’s scientific and technical divisions and programmes to achieve PCCOS objectives ;
  • Provide effective high-level reporting and communication on progress related to PCCOS ;
  • Lead the development of innovative solutions for PCCOS governance and integrated programming across SPC.


2. Ocean Science Lead

  • Represent the authoritative competence at SPC on ocean science ;
  • Design and propose ocean science strategy for the organisation, in line with the needs of the region ;
  • Input into regional/international ocean science initiatives, making visible the contribution of SPC to advance ocean science within the framework of the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development ;
  • Ensure effective engagement and relationships between PCCOS and the other SPC divisions and programmes ;
  • As appropriate, provide organisational leadership and coordination of collaborative ocean science and research projects involving international and regional partners and scientific institutes ;
  • As appropriate, design and implement new science and research concepts and proposals in SPC’s ocean expert areas ;
  • Support and coordinate the development of scientific publications documenting SPC ocean science efforts and results ;
  • In collaboration with the Pacific Data Hub, oversee the management across SPC of ocean science and knowledge to make it readily available and used by SPC’s members and divisions/programmes;  and  identify current and future technology needs aligned to Pacific islands countries needs of ocean science.

3. Resource Mobilisation

  • Coordinate the preparation of grant proposals and negotiation of contracts for new science and research concepts aligned to PCCOS objectives ;
  • Research potential donors and partners and submit with innovative concepts related to the development of science and research concepts and proposals to appropriate and interested donors.


4. Programme and Staff Management

  • Lead, support and manage PCCOS staff ;
  • Ensure effective implementation of MEL-based adaptive management in the delivery of PCCOS projects ;
  • As appropriate, oversee the implementation of multi-million multi-country multi-year projects/programmes as per SPC policies and rules to ensure activities and budgets are executed in accordance with contractual requirements and approved budget.


For a more detailed account of the key responsibilities, please refer to the online job description.


Key selection criteria

1. Qualifications

  • A Master’s degree in a relevant discipline of ocean sciences. 

2. Technical expertise

  • At least 15 years of demonstrated management experience in a research and scientific environment developing science concepts and approaches in a specialised field of ocean sciences ;
  • Demonstrated ability to think strategically ;
  • A solid understanding of large multi-country programme management ;
  • Demonstrated experience and ability to lead and build capacity of multi-disciplinary teams in a multi-cultural environment to achieve the organisation’s vision and objectives ;
  • Proven ability to coordinate and influence work collegially and in partnership with internal and external stakeholders ;
  • Proven ability to develop and present scientific information and exceptional verbal and written communication in English with the capacity to represent the organisation at regional and international forums.


3. Language skills

  • Excellent written and oral communications skills for effective communication in English.

4. Interpersonal skills and cultural awareness

  • Demonstrated experience in relationship building and working with a wide variety of scientific organisations with awareness of their work and area of expertise ;
  • Knowledge of Pacific Island countries and territories is an advantage.


Salary, terms and conditions

Required start date
– As soon as possible.

Contract Duration
– This position is budgeted until 31 July 2023.


Remuneration – the Head of the Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Scienceis a Band 14 position in SPC’s 2020 salary scale, with a starting salary range of 6,155–7,597 SDR (special drawing rights) per month, which currently converts to approximately XPF 906,409–1,118,837 (USD 8,494–10,484 EUR 7,596–9,376). An offer of appointment for an initial contract will be made in the lower half of this range, with due consideration being given to experience and qualifications. Progression within the salary scale will be based on annual performance reviews. SPC salaries are not presently subject to income tax in New Caledonia.

Benefits for international staff employees based in New Caledonia
– SPC provides subsidised housing in Noumea. Establishment and relocation grant, removal expenses, airfares, home leave, medical and life insurance, and education allowance are available for eligible employees and their recognised dependents. Employees are entitled to 25 days of annual leave and access to SPC’s Provident Fund (contributing 8% of salary, to which SPC adds a matching contribution).


Languages – SPC’s working languages are English and French.


Equal opportunity – SPC is an equal opportunity employer. Recruitment is based entirely on merit; in cases where two short-listed candidates are judged to be of equal rank by the selection committee, preference will be given to Pacific Island nationals.

Child protection
– SPC is committed to child protection, irrespective of whether any specific area of work involves direct contact with children. SPC’s Child Protection Policy is written in accordance with the Convention on the Rights of the Child.


Police clearance – Successful candidates will be required to provide a police clearance certificate.


Application procedure

Closing date: 5 of July 2020, @ 11:00 pm Nouméa Time


Job Reference: AL000294


Applicants must apply online at


Hard copies of applications will not be accepted.


For your application to be considered, you must provide us with:


  • an updated resume with contact details for three professional referees
  • a cover letter detailing your skills, experience and interest in this position
  • responses to all screening questions

Please ensure your documents are in Microsoft Word or Adobe PDF format.


All positions at SPC have specific screening questions. If you do not respond to all of the screening questions, your application will be considered incomplete and will not be reviewed at shortlisting stage.


Screening questions:

  • Please describe what you think ocean science is and the disciplines involved.
  • Please identify what you believe the key issues in ocean science are for the Pacific Ocean for the next three years.
  • In your opinion, what are the key considerations in integrating science advice from multiple sources into a coherent briefing for policy makers?