Job Description

User Researcher

at Global Fishing Watch


Background: Global Fishing Watch is an international, non-profit organization committed to advancing ocean governance through increased transparency. We create and publicly share knowledge about human activity at sea to enable fair and sustainable use of our ocean. Founded in 2015 through a collaboration between Oceana, SkyTruth, and Google, Global Fishing Watch became an independent non-profit organization in June 2017. Using cutting-edge technology, we create and publicly share map visualizations, data and analysis tools to enable scientific research and drive a transformation in how we manage our ocean. Our major focus is on commercial fishing because it is the most widespread human activity at sea, the most impactful on ocean health, and the most crucial for global livelihoods and food security. By 2030, we aim to monitor and visualize the impact of ocean-going vessels, both industrial and small-scale, that are responsible for the vast majority of the global seafood catch. We believe human activity at sea should be common knowledge in order to safeguard the global ocean commons for the common good of all.

The Position

The user research & stakeholder engagement manager will play an important role working across teams in the delivery of our organizational vision and mission, with a specific focus on user research and engagement to ensure new and existing products (tools and datasets) are built with a robust understanding and consideration of user needs. The role is part of a newly-formed user research team within the product team to formalize and strengthen our approach to user research while exploring creative ways to learn from our users. The individual will report to the senior manager, user research and work closely with other product managers as well as the program, engineering, research and communications teams, to deliver impactful and accessible products and data.

The individual will champion the implementation and delivery of the user research strategy under the Audacious project. A major part of the role will be to build relationships with internal and external stakeholders, lead engagement activities to collect feedback on user needs, challenges, and motivations, and to co-develop solutions for our products to meet user needs and deliver their intended impact. They will work with leads in Product, Program, Research, and externally, to agree on priorities for product engagement, develop user personas, or profiles, of key user groups (notably fisheries managers, MPA managers, government decision makers, international institutions or forums, NGOs, and researchers) in Global Fishing Watch priority countries across Africa, Latin America, Asia Pacific, and the Mediterranean, and develop user research plans to accompany our country engagement plans. This role will also support developing user research plans for new features, datasets and other program initiatives. Finally, they will identify new opportunities for engagement and impact through the formation and coordination of the GFW Product Advisory Committee, maintenance of stakeholder feedback channels and platforms, and collation of case studies and impact stories on how Global Fishing Watch data and products are or could be used.

The Global Fishing Watch Product team works closely with the Engineering and Data team in an agile environment, and we prioritize flexibility, intellectual curiosity and willingness to suggest and test out new technologies and creative approaches to problems. We are a small but fast-growing organization where excellent communication skills are required to effectively collaborate with designers, developers, product managers, and other relevant staff members or stakeholders. Our objectives are to:

  • Pioneer useful products to empower local and global community’s access to open ocean data, enable informed decision-making, and unlock new science
  • Enable Global Fishing Watch program objectives by accelerating country, market or stakeholder engagement through the use of new products, tools, data and analysis
  • Innovate and streamline long-term vision for Global Fishing Watch products and data offerings
  • Ensure all product outputs support our mission are consistent with our values

We are looking for an enthusiastic self-starter and team player with an interest in stakeholder engagement and user research to deliver on the product team’s vision and ambition and ensure our tools, datasets and products are fit for purpose and deliver value and impact to our stakeholders.

Note: Key stakeholders are government authorities, fisheries managers, MCS officers, port inspectors, NGOs, and researchers in priority countries/regions in Latin America, Asia Pacific, Africa, and the Mediterranean, as well as international institutions.

Principal Duties and Responsibilities

The user research team is newly formed and as such, duties and responsibilities may evolve over time.

Coordinate engagement with our users

  • Coordinate and provide administrative support for the GFW Product Advisory Committee
  • Support program team with government partner needs assessments, country and design workshops
  • Represent Global Fishing Watch at external events, conduct user interviews, and lead workshops
  • Maintain user feedback channels
  • Maintain templates, question banks, and other support materials for staff to carry out user research

Internal coordination to align work

  • Work closely with Product Managers, Program and Research leads, as relevant, on goals and priorities for stakeholder engagement, development of user research plans, and collation and response to feedback
  • Work together with the product, data and engineering teams to harness these user insights and perform data-driven prioritization of features to solve key user challenges
  • Lead regular internal communications on product team updates (e.g. Product Hour calls) to keep Global Fishing Watch team informed of product developments, roadmaps, and important milestones

Support user research and reporting to feed into product development

  • Implement the product team’s user research strategy through extensive engagement with internal and external stakeholders to collect feedback, understand user needs, and co-develop solutions
  • Engage with geographically diverse internal and external users to cultivate a deep understanding of user needs, develop and synthesize key user stories, use cases, user journeys, and requirements for products
  • Oversee templates, question banks, and other support materials for carrying out user research, as well as maintenance of user feedback channels to ensure coordinated approach to the development of new or existing datasets, APIs and front-end products


  • Support the communication of delivery timelines and reinforce internal and external expectations for product availability, ensure timely execution and alignment with the Technology and Innovation roadmap
  • Find interconnections between existing products and new user requirement
  • Support the project tracking and reporting progress to project funders and stakeholders, as needed
  • Internally reinforce product awareness and knowledge (training/awareness/FAQs)
  • Support external communications including newsletters, webinars and events
  • Willingness to travel on a fairly regular basis
  • Flexible working hours to accommodate global organization needs and time zones

Candidate description


  • Bachelor degree, or equivalent professional experience
  • Fluent English speaker and proficient writer
  • Interest and experience in stakeholder engagement or user research, including establishing and maintaining productive working relationships both internally and externally
  • Inquisitive nature and approach to engagement to derive insights and opportunities to support the product development process
  • Highly organized, analytical, detail oriented and self-motivated
  • Ability to work quickly and efficiently to a very high standard of detail
  • Ability to take ownership of projects and communicate project updates to stakeholders in a transparent and proactive manner
  • Ability to manage multiple priorities under tight deadlines while performing in a fast-paced, collaborative environment


  • French, Spanish and/or other languages
  • Experience in user research for digital product development
  • Knowledge of vessel tracking systems and their role in fisheries management
  • An understanding or interest in learning about sustainable fisheries and biodiversity
  • An understanding of the complexities and internal communications surrounding collaboration in a global matrix and remote organization