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Global Fishing Watch

Senior Data Scientist, Remote Sensing & Data Fusion

Fully remote

April 22

Global Fishing Watch (GFW) is an international, nonprofit organization advancing transparency of human activity at sea to improve the management of our ocean. We do research, develop technology, and publicly share data about human activities and associated impact to enable a fair and sustainable use of our ocean. Founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google, GFW became an independent organization in June 2017. Using machine learning, cloud computing and satellite data, we have produced the first global mapping of industrial fishing and energy development across the ocean. By 2030, we aim to map the activity of most ocean-going vessels and offshore infrastructure, all the way from small-scale and industrial fishing to transport and energy activities. We believe human activity at sea should be public knowledge in order to safeguard the global ocean commons for the benefit of all. 

The Position

The Research and Innovation team at Global Fishing Watch (GFW) connects data science and machine learning experts with leaders in the scientific community to produce new datasets, publish impactful research, and empower others to use our data. Our work aims to harness satellite imagery, computer vision, and big data technology to address some of the most pressing issues facing the marine environment. 

We are mapping the global footprint of commercial activity at sea, including the activity of all ocean-going vessels and offshore infrastructure. This work involves applying deep learning and data fusion techniques to petabytes of satellite imagery (radar and optical) and billions of GPS positions from vessels, mostly from the automatic identification system (AIS) and private vessel monitoring systems (VMS).

The Senior Data Scientist will play a key role in the Research & Innovation team on management and strategic planning of our satellite imagery and data fusion projects. They will oversee a diverse team of machine learning engineers and data scientists. This team work includes developing object detection models for medium-resolution (3m) PlanetScope optical imagery from Planet Labs, refining existing data pipelines and modeling frameworks for Sentinel-1 (SAR) and Sentinel-2 (optical) imagery, and devising data fusion strategies to integrate satellite-based detections from multiple sources with vessel GPS data, among other activities.

The Senior Data Scientist will assess emerging data sources and technologies to identify new opportunities. This is a critical role in the development of the open ocean project, an effort by Global Fishing Watch to map all industrial activity at sea.

The incumbent will lead a team of GFW’s data scientists and machine learning experts while working for a globally diverse, fully distributed, and growing organization. Coordinating the work with other teams at Global Fishing Watch, including the engineering and product teams, will be crucial to the success of this role. They will develop diverse skills in leadership and technical project management, as well as refine expertise in large scale machine learning. The successful candidate will be highly organized, skilled at managing multiple tasks, and excited to help Global Fishing Watch develop innovative technologies, strong partnerships, and cutting-edge science. 

Principal Duties 

  • Manage Research and Innovation projects related to remote sensing and data fusion, including outlining project scope, milestones and deliverables, prioritizing projects within the portfolio based on strategic goals and team capacity, and tracking progress toward deliverables.
  • Manage a team of data scientists and machine learning engineers, fostering a collaborative and innovative work environment, and providing technical guidance and expertise in remote sensing and data science.
  • Coordinate the development of projects with other teams at GFW, such as the Engineering, Product, and Program teams.
  • Stay abreast of industry trends and emerging technologies in remote sensing to assess new opportunities of improving our work.
  • Device, coordinate, and implement systems, policies, and procedures.
  • Ensure a safe, welcoming, inclusive, and ethical work environment.

Skills you should have

  • Bachelor's degree and at least seven years of professional experience, or an equivalent combination of education and experience, in physical/earth sciences or engineering.
  • At least 2 years of experience in team management.
  • An understanding of what is possible to monitor using remote sensing technologies.
  • Experience managing research and development projects related to remote sensing and geospatial analysis.
  • Excellent communication skills, both verbal and written.
  • Highly organized, analytical, detail-oriented, and proactive.
  • Ability to work efficiently in a fast-paced environment and to a high standard of detail.
  • Ability to communicate project updates to stakeholders in a transparent and proactive manner.
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities under tight deadlines in a collaborative environment.
  • Extensive experience programming in Python.

Also great

  • Familiarity with object detection, neural network architectures, and deep learning frameworks like TensorFlow or PyTorch.
  • Experience with SQL and large query systems like BigQuery or relational databases.
  • Experience engaging with academic research and the peer-review process.
  • Experience interacting with researchers and software engineers.
  • An understanding of how to collaborate in a global and remote organization.
  • Awareness of ethical considerations related to privacy and bias in satellite imagery analysis.
  • Experience with making large studies reproducible.
  • Experience leading academic publications.

The successful candidate will meet most, but not necessarily all, of the criteria above. If you don’t think you check all the boxes, but believe you have unique skills that make you a great fit for the role, we want to hear from you!

Additional Information

Reporting to: Director, Research and Innovation

Manages: Scientific programmer, machine learning engineer, and up to two data scientists (Subject to change)

Term: Permanent position

FT/PT: Full-time

Recruiting process

Please apply by May 3rd, 2024

Recruiting Process: A cover letter along with a CV will be requested to see how your experience and interest connect to the position. We expect the cover letter to explain details on how your skill set aligns with the role. If selected for consideration, the hiring process for this position will include a formal 60 minute interview with 2-3 staff followed by a 30 minute administrative screening by a Human Resources manager. Candidates advancing beyond this round will be asked to take a technical assessment. Lastly, an additional 60 minute call with 3-4 members of the hiring team will be held with finalists.

Working Hours: Global Fishing Watch supports flexible working, so the pattern of hours may vary according to operational and personal needs. The position will be part of a global team spanning many different time zones and so the candidate must be able to accommodate regular early/late meetings to be able to work effectively. Weekend work may be required on occasion. The post holder may be required to undertake regional and international travel. 

Where We Work: Please be advised that Global Fishing Watch is only able to hire candidates in the countries where we currently operate. Our country list includes: Argentina, Australia, Barbados, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Fiji, France, Gabon, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Ireland, Italy, Kenya, Mexico, Panama, Philippines, Senegal, Spain, Sri Lanka, Taiwan, UK, USA

Compensation: A compensation range for this position is US$ 125,00 - 140,000 for US-based employees - For applicants located outside of the US, the pay range will be adjusted to the country of hire. Compensation is commensurate with experience and will vary depending on the hired candidate’s country of residence, in accordance with local laws and regulations. GFW offers pension/retirement, health and other benefits commensurate with similar level GFW employees in the country of employment. The position may be a GFW employee or consultant, depending on the country of residence  

Equal opportunities: Global Fishing Watch is an equal opportunities employer. Global Fishing Watch is committed to promoting diversity and inclusion within our organization and in the greater ocean management and conservation community. We believe that diverse backgrounds, skills, knowledge and viewpoints make us a stronger organization. Bringing together professionals who possess broad experiences and a spectrum of perspectives will enable us to reach our goal of improved ocean governance faster. We hire and promote qualified professionals without regard to actual or perceived race, color, religion or belief, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital or parental status, national origin, age, physical or mental disability or medical condition, or any other characteristic protected by applicable law. Our organizational goals match the urgent challenges facing our global ocean, and our mission is designed to help secure a healthy ocean for all. We are committed to building a workforce that is representative of humanity’s diversity, by providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all employees of Global Fishing Watch and for our partners, vendors, suppliers and contractors.