mercredi 27 mars 2013

Two PhD-student positions in Ethology

Two PhD-student positions in Ethology at the Department of Zoology. Reference number SU FV-0987-13. Deadline for applications: May 2, 2013.

Two PhD-student positions in Ethology at the Department of Zoology.

Project: Multilevel analysis of the costs and benefits of evolving an advanced brain
We are seeking to recruit two PhD-students who will work within a multidisciplinary project on brain evolution. The project uses mainly the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) and the house mouse (Mus musculus) as models to experimentally test the possibilities and consequences of evolving a more advanced brain. More specifically, the project addresses the costs and benefits of evolving a more advanced brain in terms of brain morphology and also if strong selection on cognitive ability affects brain morphology. As such, the project spans over multiple disciplines including assays of behaviour, physiology, life histories, primary and secondary sexual traits and state of the art analyses of the genetic architecture that orchestrates brain morphology and cognitive ability. The existing selection lines of large- and small-brained guppies will form the basis of the project but additional selection experiments on various aspects of brain morphology and cognitive ability will also be undertaken. The overall aim of the project is thus to increase our understanding of the factors that have generated the enormous variation in brain morphology that exists at all taxonomic levels among the animals.

The work will mostly be lab-oriented but includes also the possibility of field work on Trinidad. The project will require hard work but at the same time provide excellent opportunities for personal initiatives and development towards a successful academic career. An important task will be to collect and analyse complex data in a way that controls for the setups of replicated artificial selection designs.

Qualification and competence
To be qualified for research studies in the program, the applicant must have completed a Master degree (or equivalent) or have passed at least 120 hp (2 years) of biological studies, including an approved independent project of at least 30 hp at advanced level within Ethology, Zoology, Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Biology or a related subject. Applicants who have in principle acquired the corresponding competence in Sweden or in another country are also qualified.

We are looking in particular for candidates with a strong interest in brain evolution, with excellent analytical ability and experience from quantitative analyses of behaviour and other traits of interest. Experience in working with aquatic and/or terrestrial animals in the lab is especially meriting.

Criteria for selection
Among qualified applicants, selection is made according to the ability to profit from the studies. The criteria to be used are properly documented competence within the described research area, capabilities with regards to speaking and writing in English, analytical thinking, creativity, initiative, independence, and team work performance. The applicant’s earlier experience within the field of research can be of relevance especially when further documented by university courses, independent research work, personal references, interview and an application indicating the applicant’s motivation in written form. The decision cannot be appealed.

Job details
The PhD-studies, which are aimed to start in autumn 2013, include 48 months of full-time studies. During the first year an appropriate study support will be supplied (15 500 SEK/month) which will later be changed into full employment as a PhD-student (23 200–26 800 SEK/month) with full social benefits.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.

Contact for further details Associated Professor Niclas Kolm, telephone 

Union representatives
Anqi Lindblom-Ahlm (Saco-S) and Lisbeth Häggberg (Fackförbundet ST), telephone +46-(0)8-16 2000 (switch board), and Gunnar Stenberg (SEKO), telephone +46-(0)70-316 43 41.

The application should contain: 1) maximum one A4-page letter including personal presentation and motivation for the project, 2) complete CV (including list of methodological skills), 3) copy of independent project thesis, 4) copies of degree certificates and transcripts of academic records (attested), and 5) reference letters and contact details from two academic referees. A research plan is not needed at this stage.

In order to apply for these positions, please use the Stockholm University web-based application form.

Welcome with your application no later than May 2, 2013.