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We're Hiring! Director of AI Research

Earth Species Project

Earth Species Project

Software Engineering, Data Science
Posted on Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Full-time & Remote

Earth Species Project (ESP) is a non-profit organization focused on using artificial intelligence to advance our understanding of animal communication, and ultimately to decode non-human communication. We believe AI has the potential to transform the way we perceive the world around us, expanding the ability of human beings to learn from other species. Our hope is that this will make a significant contribution to altering human perspective on how we relate to the rest of nature.

ESP partners with biologists and machine learning researchers at leading universities and institutions around the world, and we are honored to be supported by many forward-looking philanthropists and groups including the National Geographic Society and the entrepreneur and author Reid Hoffman.


We are looking for a thought leader in artificial intelligence with a track record of managing a team of researchers. ESP is still growing and you will have the opportunity to shape our long-term research agenda.

You will work with biology and machine learning experts to create understanding from entirely new scopes. You have experience leading research teams in designing algorithms that find structure in labeled and unlabeled data (audio, video, text, accelerometer, and other modalities).

You will also help cultivate a team of AI researchers, and will play a key role in hiring, mentoring, and hands-on career development. ESP’s AI researchers are responsible for developing and applying techniques in machine learning, bioacoustics, and ethology, disseminating their work in scientific publications, and collaborating on these efforts with other members of the AI team as well as with external biology partners.

In addition to your scientific work, you will help support ESP’s fundraising efforts by reviewing proposals and providing information to funders, as well as supporting external relations by conducting media interviews and meeting with collaborators. You will be responsible for collaborating with the communications, impact, and executive leadership teams to ensure that our AI research is aligned with ESP’s mission and goals.

You will have the opportunity to work with partners at various institutions like Cornell University, Imperial College of London, University of Oxford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California Davis, University of California Santa Cruz, University of St. Andrews, Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute, the Internet Archive, and the Jane Goodall Institute.

Your Background

We are open to traditional and non-traditional backgrounds.

Your areas of expertise might include: machine learning (deep learning, self-supervised learning, generative models, multimodal learning), natural language processing (unsupervised machine translation, language models), (computational) linguistics, bioacoustics, signal processing, data science, statistics, or mathematics.

Additionally, you have experience in the following:

  • Management: You have a track record of attracting and retaining the best technical talent, growing and leading teams of researchers, and collaborating cross-functionally with leadership teams to advance the strategic AI roadmap and develop success metrics
  • Machine learning: You have an exceptional understanding of machine learning; knowledge in related fields (e.g., math, statistics, probability theory, computer science) is a plus
  • Research: You have conducted or led research projects and your work has been published in peer-reviewed journals and presented at high impact machine learning conferences (e.g. ICML, NeurIPS, ICLR, ICASSP)

You might play a musical instrument, do long-distance running, enjoy teaching, knitting, wilderness trekking, or are an incredible parent. We’re excited about full human beings (and remain open to applications by qualified non-primates).

Essential Qualities

  • Leader who enjoys collaboration and working with others
  • Passion for ESP’s research areas of focus
  • Desire to advance the fields of biology and artificial intelligence
  • Good communicator, writer, and listener
  • Openness to feedback, willingness to learn, and curiosity
  • Creativity in your approach to problem solving


  • 200,000-220,000 USD annually, depending on relevant experience
  • Medical insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance - ESP covers 100% of the premium
  • 401k plan with match (if based in the United States)
  • 2,000 USD home office stipend
  • Unlimited paid time off, with a recommended minimum of three weeks per year
  • Flexible working hours
  • Collaborations with top biologists and conservation institutions in the field of behavioral ecology
  • Opportunity to observe and participate in data collection - previous research includes bioacoustic and behavioral ecology fieldwork in Alaska, Monterey Bay in California, and the Congo rainforest
  • Biannual team retreats around the world

We are a fully remote team and you can be located anywhere in the world. You will occasionally be expected to participate in virtual meetings outside of typical working hours in your time zone. Additionally, you must have the willingness to travel internationally (<20%) for events and in-person team gatherings. Earth Species Project has a dynamic, flexible, and fun working environment with many opportunities for learning and personal growth.

We are committed to equal employment opportunities regardless of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity or expression, pregnancy, sexual orientation, marital status, ancestry, national origin, genetics, disability, age, veteran status, and criminal history, consistent with legal requirements. We encourage folks of all backgrounds and perspectives to apply.

If you require any accommodations, please email us at jobs@earthspecies.org and we’ll work with you to meet your accessibility needs.

Apply here