PhD student (f/m/d, E 13 TV-L, 65%)

University of Tuebingen
July 31, 2023
Offerd Salary:Negotiation
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Contract Type:Other
Working Time:Negotigation
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PhD student (f/m/d, E 13 TV-L, 65%) Institute for Archaeological Sciences

Application deadline: 31.07.2023

Hosted by the Palaeoanthropology section of the Institute for Archaeological Sciences, the growing Freigeist Research Group “Pathways to Language” funded by the Volkswagen Foundation and led by Dr. Marlen Fröhlich is currently looking for a

PhD student – Orang-utan Communication (f/m/d, 65%, E13 TV-L)

to study the coordination of social action in Sumatran orang-utans (Pongo abelii) living in wild and captive settings. This project is fully funded for four years and will be carried out in cooperation with the Development and Evolution of Cognition group at the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior (led by Dr. Caroline Schuppli).

Project summary

Arguably the most powerful social tool in the animal kingdom, language may have evolved as an adaptation to a new demand: the coordination of joint action. Coordinated joint action requires highly flexible adjustments in communicative behaviour regarding social context, interaction partner and ecological settings. Are the evolutionary roots of this plasticity to be found in our closest living relatives, the great apes? This hypothesis remains to be tested, because most comparative work focuses on population- or species-level variation rather than variation on the individual level. To tease apart variation on an individual, group and species level, we will gather comparative observational and experimental datasets on the coordination of joint activities in great apes and humans. The successful applicant will study social interactions among orang-utans in wild (Suaq, North Sumatra, Indonesia) and captive (various zoos in Europe) research settings.

Candidate profile

We seek an enthusiastic PhD candidate with experience in collecting and analysing behavioural and/or experimental data in primates. Ideally, this candidate will have fieldwork experience in tropical forests and under challenging field conditions, as well as good writing skills. We can only consider applicants with a MSc degree in Biology, Biological Anthropology, Comparative Psychology or a related field. Proficiency in English is required, some knowledge of Bahasa Indonesia is beneficial. Our research is highly collaborative, hence we are looking for a team player who is ready to temporarily live with limited personal space and is respectful of cultural differences.

Our offer

We offer an exciting four-year doctoral position in a small international and interdisciplinary team based at a highly renowned university, where you will have the possibility to conduct research with a high amount of autonomy, a collegial work atmosphere and ongoing career mentoring. The lab is embedded within the stimulating research environment of the DFG Centre for Advanced Studies “Words, Bones, Genes, Tools: Tracking Linguistic, Cultural and Biological Trajectories of the Human Past”.

We provide remuneration in accordance with the TV-L E13 / 65 % (collective agreement for public employees of the German federal states) as well as all corresponding benefits, e.g., extensive visa and onboarding assistance, 30 days/year of paid vacation, flexible working hours, discounted public transportation, etc.

How to apply

Applications should be submitted no later than 31.07.2023 to our administrative assistant Ursula Münster (ursula.muensterspam prevention@uni- and include a CV, a Cover letter (explaining why you are interested in the position, and how you would approach the topic from an empirical and theoretical perspective), as well as the contact details of two references.

The desirable starting date is November 2023. For any project-related information please directly contact Dr. Marlen Fröhlich (marlen.froehlichspam [email protected]). The university seeks to raise the number of women in research and teaching and therefore urges qualified women academics to apply for these positions. Equally qualified applicants with disabilities will be given preference in the hiring process.

The university is committed to equal opportunities and diversity. It therefore takes individual situations into account and asks for relevant information. The employment will be handled by the central administration of the University of Tübingen.

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