lundi 17 janvier 2011

5 PhD Positions in Animal Cognition and Communication

In recent years, Vienna has become an increasingly important centre for behavioral and cognitive research, with a strong research focus on comparative cognitive biology (cognitive ethology). The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and the University of Vienna have now supported this development, by funding a multi-level, integrative PhD training programme
(DK) on cognition and communication in humans and non-human animals.

The goal is to train graduate students to understand cognition and communication from a biological viewpoint, with a focus on how animals solve real-world problems, such as dealing with conspecifics in daily social life. Communication is studied as a window into social cognition, allowing us to design experiments, which test specific hypotheses developed through an innovative combination of field observations and experiments, and laboratory work on humans and other animals.

The PhD position is fully paid by the Austrian Science Fund (FWF) and is based at the Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna. It includes five faculty members (T. Bugnyar, W.T. Fitch, W. Hödl, L. Huber, K.
Kotrschal) and integrates behavioral studies of multiple aspects of cognition and communication. Although cognition research traditionally tends to focus on mechanisms, this programme explicitly incorporates all four of Tinbergen’s levels of analysis (phylogeny, adaptation, causation, ontogeny).

The trainees will learn to study animal and human behavior in a variety of cognitive and ethological frameworks - focused on social cognition and communication - in both the laboratory and in the field and will work with a diversity of model species including amphibians (frogs, salamanders), reptiles (tortoises, lizards), birds (pigeons, corvids, parrots), canids (wolves and dogs), humans, and nonhuman primates (squirrel monkeys, marmosets). See the following website for more information:

Letters of application including a photograph, CV, publication list, 2-3 letters of recommendation and a statement of research interests should be sent to Mrs. Petra Pesak, Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, A-1090 Vienna, Austria. Applications by email are particularly welcome (
The application deadline is Ferbruary 15, 2011.