vendredi 16 mars 2012

PhD Position in Primate Cognition

Hiring Organization:
University of Neuchatel

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We seek to fill a PhD position to study social cognition in free-ranging vervet monkeys at the Inkawu Vervet Project, near Swart Mfolozi, South Africa. The site is located in Kwazulu-Natal on a 12,000h private ranch where multiple groups of fully habituated vervet monkeys have been studied for several years. The project is operated by Dr Erica van de Waal, as part of a research collaboration between Professors Redouan Bshary (University of Neuchâtel), Carel van Schaik (University of Zurich) and Andy Whiten (University of St Andrews).

The aim of this project is to investigate aspects of social cognition in vervet monkeys, such as the degree to which individuals take the presence, identity and social role of other group members into account in their behavioural decisions. The project requires a strong commitment to experimental methodology and theoretical interest in cognitive evolution. The successful candidate will be supervised by Professor Klaus Zuberbühler in collaboration with Dr Erica van de Waal.

Required: Masters degree (or equivalent) in biology or related fields; research experience in animal behaviour; strong interest in animal cognition; good interpersonal skills to act as team leader; excellent knowledge of English; sufficient knowledge of French for undergraduate teaching. Beneficial: knowledge of primate cognition literature; field experience in Africa; research experience with primates, acoustic analysis, and experimental design.

The position is fully funded by the University of Neuchâtel (

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
Subsidised accommodation is available at the field site

Term of Appointment:
Initial appointment will be for 1 year, to be extended by a further 3 years following satisfactory evaluation. The successful candidate will take on a managerial function at the field station, to supervise collection of project data and ensure the delivery of scientific goals of the research collaboration. Estimated time in the field is at least 6 months per year, for the first 3 years. She/he will also be required to assist with undergraduate teaching at the Institute of Biology in Neuchâtel. Basic/intermediate knowledge of French is required.

Application Deadline:
31 May 2012

Applications should include a (1) letter of intent, (2) curriculum vitae, (3) research proposal (no more than 500 words), (4) sample of academic written work (no more than 2,000 words), (5) 2-3 letters of recommendation, and (6) copies of academic transcripts and degrees. Please send all documents to by 31 May 2012. Start date is negotiable from 01 August 2012.

Contact Information:
Klaus Zuberbuhler
Rue Emile-Argand
Neuchatel, Neuchatel 2000

Telephone Number:
+41 32 718 3105

E-mail Address: