Station Director for the Las Cruces Research Station & Wilson Botanical Garden

Organization for Tropical Studies
San Vito – Coto Brus
Costa Rica

The Organization for Tropical Studies is currently seeking a:

Station Director for the Las Cruces Research Station &  Wilson Botanical Garden.


The Organization for Tropical Studies (OTS) is seeking applicants for the position of Station Director for the Las Cruces Research Station and Wilson Botanical Garden.  The position is based in San Vito – Coto Brus, Costa Rica.

Application deadline:  March 15, 2016

 1.  Definition of job position:

The main responsibility of the Station Director is to supervise station operations and activities, including scientific and educational programs as well as long-term projects. The Station Director coordinates and manages the station following OTS policies and guidelines. The Station Director also oversees management of the Wilson Botanical Garden and the satellite Las Alturas Research Station.

 2.  Required Qualifications:

Ideally, candidates for the Las Cruces Station Director position should possess the following qualifications:

 a. Education

  • Ph.D. in Biology, Ecology, Evolutionary Biology, Environmental Science, Conservation, Botany, Horticulture, Science Education, or related discipline.
  • Research and field experience preferably in Costa Rica or Central America.
  • Bilingual Spanish/English required.

b. Experience

  • Five years of demonstrated management experience, preferably at field-based research facility or botanical garden.
  • Experience with budget management, project management, legal compliance, risk management, and conducting or overseeing the successful completion of academic and/or research programs.
  • Active field research program; field experience in a tropical environment or at a tropical botanical garden.
  • Demonstrated success in grant-writing.
  • Ability to promote the involvement of local and international scientists and NGOs.
  • Knowledge of international environmental research programs and/or organization(s).
  • Extensive knowledge of Costa Rica or Latin America, including culture, politics and governmental operations, and research community.
  • Knowledge of the U.S. higher education-system and direct experience with U.S. college students.
  • Demonstrated ability to coordinate and be part of an interdisciplinary teaching and research team.
  • Experience in facilitating organization-wide teamwork among diverse individuals.

c. Demonstration of academic achievement and continuing involvement in professional activity, which might include

  • Ongoing research program in science or science pedagogy.
  • Publication of results or outreach.
  • Professional society engagement.


3.  The duties and responsibilities of the Stations Director include:

a. Administration: Responsible for the oversight of the administrative functions of the Research Station and Botanical Garden including staff management, operations, financial and physical plant management, risk management, and other administrative duties related to the operation of the facility. Specifically:

  • Provide direction and supervise growth of Las Cruces Research Station.
  • Oversee management, growth, and accessions for the Wilson Botanical Garden in conjunction with on-staff horticulturist and gardeners. 
  • Oversee management of the Las Alturas Research Station, a rustic, satellite field station administered by Las Cruces. 
  • Supervise the Station Administrator and other senior and scientific staff.
  • Working closely with Station Administrator, oversee facility resources and budget.
  • Establish and supervise facility and asset maintenance, repair, and replacement schedules in conjunction with Station Administrator and central OTS administration.
  • Prepare and oversee grants and contracts related to the facility.
  • Work together with HR Department to recruit and retain qualified staff.
  • Build and support a strong commitment to team work at the Station and with the two sister stations run by OTS.
  • Work with colleagues in central offices in San Jose (CRO) and North America (NAO) build and maintain collaborative relationships in the areas of informatics, finance, human resources, operations, and development.
  • Resolve management concerns and student discipline problems.
  • Represent the facility in meetings with CRO and NAO.
  • Working closely with CRO and NAO, ensure that all risk management plans and systems are valid and current, including the Station's Risk Assessment and Management Plans, emergency procedures, evacuation plan, incident reporting, safety audits, and waivers and releases.
  • Ensure that the Research Station operates in a manner that is consistent with local, regional, and national laws, regulations, codes and OTS policies and procedures.


b. Research, Educational, and Horticultural Programs: Facilitate the design, implementation, and evaluation of research, educational, and horticultural programs at Las Cruces. Specifically:

  • Attract and facilitate research development at the station.
    • Develop a 5-year plan for the Research Station to build research and educational programs consistent with the organization’s strategic directions (OTS Strategic Plan 2015-20).
    • Ensure ongoing implementation and evaluation of the Station's 5-Year Plan including adherence to timelines, appropriate data management, and achievement of goals.
    • Apply for grants that promote the scientific and administrative needs of the Research Station.
    • Work with staff horticulturalist and station advisory committee to create 5-year plan for Wilson Garden.
    • Work with instructional faculty of OTS courses and faculty-led academic courses to facilitate logistics of classes and provide guest lectures and field units as requested.
    • Supervise and encourage usage of the Las Alturas Research Station by academic groups and the research community.
    • Ensure compliance with all Costa Rican regulations regarding research.


3. Public Relations: Represent the Station and Garden in local, regional, and international areas. Specifically:

  • Oversee outreach at local, regional, and national levels in the following types of activities: community, local conservation organizations, universities, research organizations, businesses, and government agencies.
  • Oversee Station environmental education and sustainability programs.
  • Identify and pursue possible funding sources in support of the Station research projects, Station facilities, Wilson Botanical Garden, and outreach programs.
  • Pursue fundraising for the Las Cruces Land Campaign in order to make periodic strategic acquisitions that support the Las Cruces-Ngöbe Biological Corridor campaign.
  • Work with the staff of OTS (CRO, NAO, La Selva, Palo Verde) to create and publish marketing materials and campaigns.
  • Oversee the publication of biannual Las Cruces Amigos newsletter.
  • Identify opportunities to integrate faculty and students with the Costa Rican academic, research, and local community; and find ways to enrich the lives of the local community.
  • Work to ensure good relations between the Research Station and local community.
  • Liaise with Station Advisory Committee for academic and outreach guidance and support.
  • Represent the Research Station and OTS in relevant local and international conferences, seminars, and workshops related to the Station's mission.
  • Support Education in its recruiting efforts, as requested.


4. Additional Duties:  Other duties, as assigned by Costa Rica Director or the President  & CEO.

To apply:

Submit a resumé, cover letter, list of references, and statement of scientific, educational and management philosophy. Electronic applications are required and can be submitted online via the OTS website:

 Questions should be addressed to Dr. Liana Babbar, Costa Rica Director General at:

OTS is an equal opportunity and affirmative action employer.


Dr. Liana Babbar
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