Project Officer, Our Natural World (FTC 12months)

Job Title:  Project Officer, Our Natural World (ONW)

Reports to:  Director of Our Natural World 

Salary:  £25,000- £27,500

Job to start:  October 2022

Contract: 12 months (initially, and possibility of extension)

Office Location: Kings Cross, London

Hours: Full-time working to standard office hours (35-hours per week, Monday to Friday, broadly office hours).  We will also consider candidates looking to work 0.8 full-time.  At present the Foundation has a hybrid approach to working and the candidate will work from the Kings Cross office two or three days per week – these will include Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Occasional UK travel will be required, which may include an overnight stay.

About Esmée:

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation is one of the largest independent funders in the UK.  We aim to improve our natural world, secure a fairer future, and strengthen the bonds in communities in the UK. We do this by contributing all that we can to unlock change by people and organisations with brilliant ideas who share our goals.

In 2021, we made grants of over £50m towards a wide range of work in support of our aims. We also have a £45m allocation to social investment for organisations with the aim of creating social impact.

In everything we do, we are motivated by the need to address the causes and impacts of climate change and to recognise our role in addressing diversity, equity, and inclusion.

This role will be primarily focused on our aim to improve Our Natural World. We have three goals under the Our Natural World aim; preserved and improved species health and habitats, clean and healthy freshwater and sustainable and ethical food. To meet these goals, we have a developed roadmap based on where we believe we can make the biggest impact and how our funding and tools can be most effective. We have recently written a series of blogs about our roadmap. These give a good overview of work in the last 12 months.

This role will help us deliver and further develop our roadmap. This will involve undertaking research, speaking to our partners and learning from their work, helping to assess funding applications and writing summaries for our Trustees. The role will also provide administrative support – including helping to arrange meetings, events and visits as well as help with funding management and administration.

The Foundation aims to be an engaging employer and a good place to work.  All members of the team have opportunities to learn more about how we work and to join colleagues in visiting relevant projects and attending appropriate meetings. You will be part of a vibrant organisation with a wealth of knowledge and expertise. Contributions to the Foundation’s strategic direction are encouraged throughout the organisation.

The Foundation has an executive team of 37.  You will work within the Our Natural World team. There are 12 trustees who oversee the work of the Foundation via regular board meetings and committees.

Why apply:

We are looking for someone who is proactive, organised, naturally curious, with a positive approach to finding solutions. They will have some knowledge or experience of the environment (which may have been gained through work, study, volunteering or personal interest).  We are looking for someone who is wanting to establish or develop a career working on environmental issues and who would be interested in using experience gained at the Foundation as a stepping stone into the environment sector. This role will role will give someone a unique opportunity to work with and build networks within organisations from across the environment movement. If you are looking for such an opportunity and you think you can make a real contribution to our work, then please get in touch.

Benefits:  12.5% employer pension contribution (with a 5% employee contribution) and a range of benefits including: season ticket loan, income protection scheme, life assurance, (taxable) private medical insurance scheme Give as You Earn scheme, Cycle to Work scheme.

The Foundation has a strong commitment to the professional development of our staff.

Purpose of Job:

The main purpose of the post is to:

  • Support the delivery of the Foundation’s strategy for Our Natural World.
  • Provide the ONW Team with project and administrative support.
  • To support the commissioning and development of projects, such as research, convening events, visits and partnerships.
  • Provide initial advice and information to potential and current partners.
  • Provide support to the Foundation as required, including being part of the team, providing front desk support and assessment of funding applications to the Foundation.

Key responsibilities:

  • Contribute to the development of a roadmap and pipeline of activities that will deliver the Foundation’s strategy for Our Natural World, making links to the Foundation’s other impact areas where possible.
  • Support the commissioning and development of projects, such as research, convening events and supporting partnerships.
  • Gather learning and evidence from our partners, through consideration of reports, researching topics related to ONW, telephone interviews and use of other data and evidence to inform future activity.
  • Assess and manage proposals from expression of interest to full proposal, working with colleagues as appropriate.
  • Write assessment reports on proposals, with recommendations, working with colleagues as appropriate.
  • Monitor and record the progress and impact of proposals, activities and tools in line with the Foundation’s learning strategy working with colleagues as appropriate.
  • Provide project and administrative support to the Our Natural World team – including updating the database as applications/proposals are processed.
  • Support the Foundation’s Resources Team including reception cover as needed, support with meetings, and the assessment of initial applications to the Foundation.
  • Represent the Foundation, generally alongside colleagues, at external events as agreed with the Director of Our Natural World.
  • To be a positive and proactive member of the team: working with and supporting all colleagues in helping the Foundation deliver the strategic plan. Undertake other duties as may be reasonably required.

Skill and Experiences:


  • Knowledge of, experience and/or demonstratable passion for the environment, which may have been gained or demonstrated in a number of ways (e.g. volunteering, lived experience). We are particularly keen to hear from candidates who are looking to develop a career in the environment/climate sector.
  • Innovative, proactive and a self starter. Systematic and thorough, with an attention to detail.
  • A commitment to providing great customer service – both to internal and external colleagues.
  • Good communication skills, including the ability to present information clearly and concisely (include report writing).
  • Ability to manage and prioritise a varied workload to agreed deadlines.
  • Competent digital and tech skills – including ability to use Microsoft office.

Personal Qualities:

  • Able to deal in a helpful, friendly way with a wide range of people.
  • Good judge of people and organisations.
  • Collaborative with an ability to develop and maintain working relationships internally and externally
  • Analytical, ability to undertake research, assess and balance risks, and offer strategic insight.
  • An active, constructive contributor to the team.
  • An openness to learning.
  • Self-motivated and self-directed, able to work independently with a positive approach to problem-solving.
  • Demonstrates an empathy for and commitment to the Foundation’s core values, strategy, and ethos.


We do not require formal qualifications.  We are interested to hear from arrange of candidates who have experience and interest in the environment: this may be demonstrated through paid work, volunteering, study or indeed other ways.

Significant Interfaces:

  • Internally: staff team, and in particular the Our Natural World and Resources Teams.
  • Externally: potential and existing partners, other relevant organisations and contacts in the sector (working with colleagues).

Esmée Fairbairn Foundation believes that a greater diversity of views, skills, and lived experience will help generate better ideas, and will lead to better decision making. We want to encourage applicants with a diverse range of backgrounds to apply. In particular, those with lived experience of racial inequity, disability, or poverty.

Closing Date Friday 19th August at 12pm.

Please apply via the button below. To discuss further, you can reach out directly to Priscilla Ross in the Inclusive Recruiting team. Call 0203 397 8333 or email

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