Working at the SAFE Project

There are two ways to work at the SAFE project: through the SAFE Volunteer Marketplace or through a formal reviewed project proposal. The workflows for these two routes are described below but before you go any further:

Sign up as a new user
In order to access our booking and planning forms you will need to register on this website. We do review new registrations, so it might take a day or so before you will be able to log in. You will get an email when your registration has been processed.

The Volunteer Marketplace

If you are looking to do an undergraduate project at the SAFE Project or simply want to gain field experience then this is the route for you. You should submit a volunteer offer telling us who you are, what you are interested in working on and when you are available. You should also look at requests for help from reviewed projects, which will be posted by project coordinators to get specific field assistant help for their research. Once you've found someone you want to work with, contact them directly to ask about working on their project.

Note that undergraduate and volunteer work will always be embedded in an approved research project: this gives you better research support and allows us to monitor fieldwork more effectively.

All researchers working at the SAFE Project must provide health and safety details and follow our biosecurity actions before you arrive in the field (see below).

Reviewed Project Proposals

We welcome all researchers wanting to conduct their own research in the landscapes being used by, and generated for, the SAFE Project. In order to conduct postgraduate or higher level research at SAFE, you will need to to work at the SAFE Project, you will need to complete the following steps:

1) Check research requirements

Before starting, check the requirements we make of researchers working at SAFE, including our data policy. You will need to agree to meet these conditions before being given permission to work at the project sites.

2) Submit a research proposal

You then need to submit a short proposal explaining what it is you want to do and how you expect to do it. You will also need to tell us who is on the research team for the project - all researchers, including field workers and collaborators, will also need to be registered on the website.

Please read the longer description of the proposal process before going to the online research proposal form.

3) Obtain research permits

When your proposal has been approved, it is up to you to obtain the necessary permissions to conduct that research. It is essential that all non-Malaysian scientists working at SAFE obtain approval from the Sabah Biodiversity Centre and Maliau Basin Management Committee BEFORE commencing field work.

The processes to obtain research permit change reasonably frequently, so for the most up to date information look at the page on the SAFE project wiki.

4) Create a research visit proposal

Once your research project proposal has been approved and you have obtained any research permits or ethical approval needed, you need to submit a research visit proposal. This will allow you to request accomodation at SAFE and Maliau, any transfers between sites and any research assistant support.

Note that we require at least 14 days notice to approve research visits and you will not be able to submit research visits with shorter notice. We also have restricted bed space at SAFE and you should check availability on the online calendar before making your plans.

In case of problems with planning research visits online, please contact the Deputy Scientific Coordinator.

5) Check research costs

Both the SAFE Project and the Maliau Basin Field Studies Centre have facilities and research infrastructure that can be used to support your work. These, obviously, come with a cost and you will need to check that your research funds are sufficent to cover your field expenses.

In addition to our webpage on the costs and logistics of working at SAFE, the research visit planning page provides a link that allows to download a spreadsheet of your proposed timetable that includes approximate costs.

6) Submit your research visit proposal

Once you have put your research visit proposal together and checked the costs, you need to submit the proposal from the research visit proposal form to get approval for your requested accomodation, transfers and support. Beds are provisionally booked when you create a request but no reservations are final until the visit has been approved.

Before arriving in the field

Before arriving in the field, all researchers will need to take the following steps:

Health and safety information

Before arriving in the field, you will need to provide our field team with basic health and safety information about yourself including insurance and emergency contacts and any medical conditions that might impact your safety in the field. You must complete the form before you can work in the field and you are responsible to keep the information updated.


When you come to the field, we expect you to comply with our biosecurity protocols, designed to protect the ecosystem in which we operate.