placement & POSTGRADUATE Programme

AFRICAN BAT CONSERVATION (ABC) offers a tailored programme for students wishing to conduct their industrial / PTY / professional training placement or MSc/PhD with us. Under this scheme we offer students the option to conduct their research project with us as part of the placement, as well as offering MSc and MRes opportunities for students from any University.

Placements and MRes / MSc projects are offered for periods of 1  to 10 months at any of our field sites. You can view the current suggested MRes/MSc and PhD project options here.

Joining ABC gives you a unique opportunity to work in a range of sites across the diversity that Malawi has to offer, from the remote unspoilt African wilderness of Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve (VMWR), the hub of African city life in Lilongwe to the shores of Lake Malawi. From VMWR we also conduct satellite field trips to our other research sites in Nyika and Kasungu National Parks and surrounding areas. Placements are a great opportunity to experience a full range of training and skills, as you can choose to spend time at each of our field camps. We have fully kitted camps at each site, with accommodation, offices, solar and lab space.


2018 is an exicting year for ABC as we partner with Natures Gift Ltd and Kumbali Lodge to create a Conservation Research Centre (CRC) just outside Lilongwe nestled in the native woodlands near State House. The CRC is fully equipped to serve as the base of all our research and conservation actvities in country. At the CRC we can accommodate up to 30 volunteers and students, have a lab space, education centre, and teaching space.


Placement students join ABC in the field research sites. You will have the opportunity to gain a diverse range of new skills including field research techniques such as bat mist netting and bat handling, acoustic surveys, internal roost surveys, endescope work, emergence surveys, roost mitigation and conflict work, community engagement, insect trapping and habitat surveys. You can also gain lab based skills including acoustic ID, call analysis, GIS and insect pinning and processing.


  • Roosting ecology of bats
  • Bat species diversity and abundance across habitats
  • Bat genetics
  • Species specific dietary composition
  • Echolocation calls of bats
  • Bat box occupancy
  • Insect based research
  • Dung beetle research
    Pllacements and MRes / MSc projects are offered for periods of 1  to 10 months at any of our field sites. You are free to suggest your own project idea and discuss it with us or you can view the current suggested MRes/MSc and PhD project options here.

Key facts

  • Duration: 1 to 10 months (longer stays are also possible, please get in touch)
  • Requirements: age 18+, and in good health
  • Locations: Vwaza Marsh Wildlife Reserve, Lake Malawi, Lilongwe City, Malawi
  • Activities: Field research, marketing, education, community engagement: including bat mist netting and harp trapping, vegetation surveys, habitat assessments, insect trapping, data collation; community surveys and questionnaires
  • Arrival airport: Lilongwe International
  • Dates: We take placement students at any time of year, and have set arrival and departure dates. Please note we are closed between 23rd Dec and 2nd Jan each year for Christmas/New Year break.


The costs of your placement vary according to how long you stay and include a donation to the project. Extensions to booked placements can be arranged at the project but are subject to availability. Minimum required stay is 1 month (due to the travel time to site). If you are interested in applying for our placement programme please download the application form and email it to:


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