Konstanz: Postdoctoral position (m/f/d)

Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior: Postdoctoral position (m/f/d) on learning and culture in orangutans

The Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior at its sites in Konstanz and Radolfzell offers an international, interdisciplinary, and cooperative environment that opens up unique research opportunities. The goal of our basic research is to develop a quantitative and predictive understanding of the decisions and movements of animals in their natural environment.

For the Development and Evolution of Cognition Research Group at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior we are looking to fill the following position starting in summer or fall of 2023.

Postdoctoral position on learning and culture in orangutans (m/f/d)


We are looking for a postdoc to work on research questions centered around individual and social learning, and culture in wild orangutans. The candidate will analyze existing long-term data on wild Sumatran orangutans. These data include multiple aspects of orangutan behavior as well as environmental parameters of the study area. All data are incorporated in an established and continuously growing Access and MySQL database. In the frame of this position, we will look at learning, the acquisition of skill repertoires through different life stages, and cultural behavioral differences between individuals and matrilines. We will link repertoire development with indicators of individual and social learning as well as investigate the distribution of cultural elements across individuals to test assumptions about learning strategies.

Your profile:

We are looking for a candidate with a PhD in Biology, Primatology, Anthropology, Psychology, or a related field. Our team is highly collaborative and aims at creating a friendly and jointly productive research environment. We are looking for a team player and enthusiastic scientist. Applicants should bring experience in:

  • Working with behavioral data
  • Using MySQL or Microsoft Access databases
  • Statistical analysis tools such as mixed models
  • R or another coding language to analyze and visualize data
  • Agent-based learning models and/or social network analysis tools
  • Writing and publishing manuscripts (including published or accepted first-author papers)
  • Excellent verbal and written communication skills in English

Our offer:

The Development and Evolution of Cognition Research group is a growing, international research group (https://www.ab.mpg.de/265257/schuppli) led by Dr. Caroline Schuppli. At the moment, our group consists of two postdocs, three PhD students, three technicians, as well as several MSc and BSc students. We are embedded within the stimulating research environment of the Max Planck Institute of Animal behavior (https://www.ab.mpg.de). The position will start in the summer or fall of 2023 and is planned for a minimum of 18 months, with possible extensions. The candidate will be based in Konstanz, remote work is possible after an initial on-site phase. Field trips are not planned in the frame of the position but can be discussed. Aside from offering promising planned projects, the vast existing data sets offer plenty of opportunities to implement and develop the candidates’ own research ideas according to their existing expertise and future research goals.

We offer an interesting job in an open-minded team, a responsible and varied workplace in a growing interdisciplinary and international research institute. The payment is made in accordance with your experience and qualification and the collective agreement for the public service (TVöD-Bund). The Max Planck Society endeavors to employ more severely disabled people. Applications of severely disabled persons are expressly welcome. The Max Planck Society strives for gender and diversity equality. We welcome applicants from all backgrounds. Please see https://www.mpg.de/797963/diversity-inclusion.

Are you interested? Then we are looking forward to receiving your application until May 31st, 2023, with your CV containing your academic track record, the contact information of two references, and a concise motivation letter in which you introduce yourself and briefly outline how your research background matches the requirements of the position. Please submit your application documents through the link https://www.ab.mpg.de/322153/job-offers. Questions about this position will be answered by Dr. Caroline Schuppli (cschuppli(at)ab.mpg.de).

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