Skip to main content
Contact Us

Social Scientist

Home jobpost Jobs Social Scientist
Posted: Posted 4 weeks ago

A Social Scientist role, at Forest Research (FR), to carry out research to improve understanding of the values, attitudes, behaviours and actions of land managers, publics and stakeholders.

The post holder will be a member of the Society and Environment Research Group, within the Centre for Forest Management. The Centre leads FR’s research into biosecurity threats, ecosystem robustness and resilience, land use and ecosystem services, and the way in which society values and utilises trees. Programmes within the Centre focus strongly on interdisciplinary research, using the mix of disciplines within FR to address some of the many complex social and environmental problems facing those concerned with Britain’s trees woods and forests.

The Society and Environment Research Group (SERG) is a busy, dynamic group involved in a suite of projects that develop scientific understanding and practical advice on a range of social, cultural, governance and economic issues relating to the use, engagement and management of British trees and forests. The team is comprised of twenty social scientists. SERG researchers focus on four broad thematic work areas:

Firstly, well-being and woodlands – including research on the health benefits of woodlands, social and cultural value of trees and woods, motivations and benefits of volunteering, impacts of education, and learning in forest environments.

Secondly, land manager behaviours – including research on land managers’ decision making for woodland creation and management, adaptation and resilience, the impacts of community woodlands and social enterprises and land manager engagement in policy and governance.

Thirdly, social dimensions of tree health – including research on: behaviours of public and stakeholders in tree and plant supply chains and pathways,  acceptability of pest management measures, and stakeholder perceptions of risks and resilience.

And finally, wildlife management – including research on knowledge and attitudes towards pest and threatened species, acceptability of management approaches, and social feasibility studies for reintroductions.

The group works on several cross-cutting research issues including urban forestry, climate change and society, public engagement with woods, forest and nature, evaluation of behaviour change interventions,  and integration of research knowledge into policy and practice. As well as delivering high quality evidence and applied outputs direct to research commissioners, the group has a strong publishing record in a range of high impact social science, policy related and forestry journals.

This Social Scientist post holder will carry out social science research that contributes to improving understanding of the values, attitudes, behaviours and actions of land managers, publics and stakeholders across SERG’s four themes of wellbeing, land manager behaviours, the social dimensions of tree health and wildlife management.

This Social Scientist role can be based in Alice Holt Research Station, Farnham, GU10 4LH or in Northern Research Station, Roslin, Midlothian, EH25 9SY or in Forestry Commission Office, 620 Coldharbour Lane, Bristol, BS16 1EJ. Blended working gives you the option to work some of the week from home, and some from the workplace. You will be asked to express a location preference during the application process. Please be aware that this role can only be worked in the UK and not overseas. See further details about our locations via this link.

Want to work at the cutting edge of environmental science?  Passionate about making a difference and playing your part in tackling the climate and nature crisis?  Forest Research is all about giving top quality evidence and advice to policymakers and practitioners to make a positive impact on the ground. Internationally recognised, we need people who have the skills and passion to work on excellent science and provide practical solutions for nature.

We’re small enough that your voice is heard, yet large enough, as part of the Forestry Commission, that we have everything on hand to get the job done, as well as a variety of career pathways.  Our staff are dedicated to their work and sharing it with others to bring positive change for our planet.  And you will find us a flexible and inclusive employer, so you can have a work life balance that is tailor-made to your circumstances. So, whether it’s climate or carbon, pests or pathogens, behaviour or biodiversity that interests you, you can be assured of a warm welcome to the team. To find out further details, visit

For further information about the role, and to apply, please click ‘Apply Now’ below.