mardi 10 avril 2012

Postdoctoral fellowship in wild primate cognition

Hiring Organization:
University of the Free State, Qwaqwa

Date Posted:

Position Description:
We are looking for a postdoctoral/early career researcher to investigate the link between fear and cognition (both physical and social) in Sykes’ monkeys (Cercopithecus mitis erythrarchus). This project will examine how fear may influence the cognitive abilities of habituated groups of Sykes’ monkeys as part of the Primate & Predator Project based at the Lajuma Research Centre in the Soutpansberg Mountains, South Africa. Thanks to the long-term monitoring of these monkeys’ primary predators in this area (leopards, Panthera pardus, and African crowned eagles, Stephanoaetus coronatus), we are able to create a “Landscape of Fear” which enables us to identify high and low risk areas within the monkeys’ home range. Using this multi-predator approach, the postdoctoral fellow will evaluate monkeys’ cognitive abilities through a series of field experiments.

The successful applicant will be expected to apply for funding through the Claude Leon Foundation by 31 May 2012, with extensive help and guidance from the projects’ principal investigators. The anticipated start date for the postdoctoral fellowship is January 2013. This project will be co-supervised by Dr. Aliza le Roux, who is establishing a new Behavioural Ecology Research Group at the University of the Free State, Qwaqwa, and Dr. Russell Hill, PI of the Primate & Predator Project from Durham University, England. This grant funds two years’ salary for living and working in South Africa, including support for international conference attendance in the second year of the project.

Candidates have to be in the possession of a relevant doctoral degree, or anticipate successful completion of a doctoral degree by the end of 2012. The ideal candidate will have experience in independent fieldwork (preferably with primates/ mammals), non-invasive behavioural experimentation, and successful grant applications. Furthermore, s/he should be comfortable with working in rural conditions (including at the Primate & Predator Project in South Africa and the Qwaqwa campus of the University of the Free State). There are no citizenship restrictions.

A successful applicant will obtain a post-doctoral salary for two years, as well as funds for international conference attendance. It will be possible to apply for supplementary funds, including support for a research visit to Durham University.
For further details/ questions, please contact Dr. Aliza le Roux (

Term of Appointment:
Jan 2013- Dec 2014

Application Deadline:
27 April 2012, with telephonic/ web-based interviews in the following week.

To apply, email the following to
• A cover letter expressing motivation
• curriculum vitae (including publication list and previous grants)
• contact information for three references

Contact Information:
Aliza le Roux
South Africa

E-mail Address: