EXPEDITION - Chief Scientist


Since our inception in 1997, Viking has grown to be the World’s leading river cruise line, with double-digit growth in recent years. With the launch of its ocean fleet in 2015, the company has also become the leader in small ship ocean cruising. With operational headquarters in Basel, Switzerland, Viking provides destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travelers who have an interest in geography, culture and history.

Viking currently operates a fleet of more than 80 vessels, state-of-the-art ships that have received numerous accolades since their launch from industry experts and travelers alike. Viking was voted the #1 River Cruise Line by Condé Nast Traveler in their 2018 Readers’ Choice Awards, and for the third year in a row, has been named the #1 Ocean Cruise Line* by Travel + Leisure readers in the World’s Best Awards 2018.

Viking Expeditions is a new arm of Viking, and has been in guest operations since January 2022.  We have built two bespoke expedition vessels, designed to be optimal platforms for delivering expeditions suited to our intellectually curious guest demographic. Each expedition vessel has a highly efficient, long and slender ice strengthened hull (Polar class PC6); and from an industry-leading aft hangar operates a fleet of seventeen Milpro Mk5 zodiacs, two 13m long Boomeranger special operations boats, two U-Boat Worx Cruise 7 submarines, a dive-support RIB and a fleet of kayaks. 



Our expedition vessels are also designed to be superlative ‘ships of opportunity’ support platforms for a wide variety of primary research, with a well-appointed 40 sqm wet-lab onboard, a variety of underwater sampling equipment (including an Aegir 50 ROV, Maritime Robotics OSV, CTD, BRUVs video sampling), and an extensive suite of automated oceanographic instrumentation. Each vessel has a NOAA weather balloon launch station installed, the first civilian vessels so equipped, enabling regular balloon releases; and on each vessel one of the two special operations boats are configured as a bathymetric survey vessel, mounted with a research-grade Kongsberg multibeam sonar.

Viking has convened a partnership of academic institutions, each world renowned in their respective disciplines and collaborating with Viking on a range of timely, relevant and interesting research fieldwork; overseen by an advisory group of partner representatives from their research leadership. Our lead Institutional partner is the University of Cambridge’s Scott Polar Research Institute, together with US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (NOAA GLERL), The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA).  We are also collaborating with not-for-profit research entities, including the Polar Citizen Science Collective and Oceanites, to support citizen science and penguin monitoring respectively.

All fieldwork is overseen by our onboard Chief Scientist, working with an assistant and regular visiting scientists.  Our aim is to deliver a collaborative, rigorous and credible scientific research program. Deliver a collaborative, rigorous and credible scientific research program.




This year-round role is to manage all field research activities and citizen science onboard, to liaise with our Academic partners, Viking Expedition shore management team and onboard Admin team; and to ensure that rigorous research is undertaken – a key contribution towards our vision of re-imagining the possibilities for an expeditionary ‘Ship of Opportunity’.  The Chief Scientists will work in regular rotation offshore and will liaise with the other Viking FRMs and Field Research Assistants (FRAs) when ashore.



Professional Skills

    • Strong leader, team player and an inspiration to others
    • Practical, problem solver
    • Excellent communication skills
    • Knowledgeable about expedition operations
    • Works well under pressure
    • Smart, presentable, friendly and excellent people skills
    • Excellent technical and computer experience (MS Excel, Word, PowerPoint)
    • English speaking and writing to a high standard


General Duties

  • Coordinate all scientific activities onboard, including the line management of a Field Research Assistant, and overseeing three specialist lecturers, a photographer, and up to two visiting scientists
  • Participate in expedition leadership meetings, as a senior member of the expedition team
  • Manage the onboard wet-laboratory
  • Oversee operation of a RIB-mounted multibeam sonar, for bathymetric surveys
  • Operate and maintain the ship’s onboard oceanographic instrumentation (‘FerryBox’)
  • Undertake interpretative science guiding for guests
  • Coordinate field work to collect data relevant to ongoing science projects, in liaison with the Expedition Leader and Expedition Admin team
  • Manage the collation, appropriate archiving and dissemination of onboard scientific data
  • Coordinate and advise the specialist lecturers and professional photographer onboard, to provide optimized guest enrichment
  • Assist in data and report preparation to produce scientific papers for publication
  • Socialize and be visible in guest areas as often as possible
  • Assist in any other general duties assigned by the Expedition Leader
  • Assist in any shipboard Crew Safety Duties

Mindset and Values

  • Be well groomed and of professional personality and focused on delivering 100% satisfaction
  • Operationally disciplined, able to rigorously ensure all research SOPs are followed
  • Adhere to schedules, always setting good standards
  • Be willing to travel regularly to various Viking offices and vessels


Communication & Coordination

  • Report to the onboard Expedition Leader, and Viking Head of Science and Sustainability at Basel HQ

Role Model

•     Lead by example

•     Work with the Expedition Leadership Team providing training and mentorship to all staff and crew

•     Ensure a positive working environment

Your profile

  • Marine fieldwork experience – essential
  • Bachelor's degree in relevant scientific discipline
  • Previous experience in the management of marine fieldwork
  • Enthusiastic team member
  • Proactive problem solving
  • Well organized, efficient and positive
  • Technically minded, with ‘mechanical sympathy’ and diligent with equipment maintenance
  • Understand guest needs
  • Good time management
  • Reliable and pressure resistant
  • Proactive in upholding Viking standards of excellence
  • Small boat license (RYA Powerboat level 2 or equivalent / higher)
  • Marine Radio Operator’s license (VHF) or equivalent
  • Higher degree in a relevant scientific discipline - Advantageous
  • Previous technical support experience and lab management - Advantageous
  • Demonstrated experience in the expedition cruise industry - Advantageous
  • Previous experience in polar regions and/or Great Lakes - Advantageous
  • Experience in small boat handling, expedition tendering and cruising - Advantageous
  • STCW - Basic Fire Prevention & Fire Fighting
  • STCW - Personal Survival Techniques
  • STCW - Personal Safety & Social Responsibilities
  • STCW - Elementary First Aid
  • STCW - Crisis Management and Human Behavior
  • STCW - Certificate of Proficiency in Security Awareness
  • STCW - o Crowd Management Training
  • Valid Norwegian Medical Certificate


Guidelines and Regulations

  • Implement Standard Operating Procedures & STAR Service Standards within the department
  • Ensure appropriate appearance and clothing according to the updated Grooming Standards
  • For Polar regions - have passed the relevant field staff online assessment of IAATO/AECO
  • The company reserves the right to change/extend this job description, if necessary, at any point of time during her/his employment


“As for conditions — in terms of contracts, special benefits and vacations during the season — Viking is far above average within the industry.”

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