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Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, Panama: Staff Scientist Research Position in Animal Behavior

(posted 2017-09-08)

The Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (STRI;, headquartered in the Republic of Panama, is seeking an outstanding behavioral biologist to establish an independent world-class research program in animal behavior. The successful candidate will apply a deep understanding of natural history to resolve basic questions about behavioral mechanisms, evolutionary processes, and adaptive function. Areas of specialty may include, but are not limited, to behavioral ecology, evolution of behavior, sensory and neuroethology, chemical ecology of behavior, behavior developmental physiology and functional morphology, and the genetic basis of behavior. Candidates working on any animal taxa, marine or terrestrial, will be considered. Previous experience working in the tropics is not required. The successful candidate will have opportunities to mentor pre- and post-doctoral fellows drawn from an international community, and collaborate with the entire Smithsonian staff.

STRI has state-of-the-art research facilities, as well as terrestrial and marine field stations, and reserves throughout the country. There are environmental monitoring facilities, a large, multilingual support staff, and a library with extensive holdings in the natural sciences, as well as electronic access to all the Smithsonian libraries. The Republic of Panama and the adjacent regions of tropical America are phenomenally rich in terrestrial and marine habitats. The new staff member will join a vibrant scientific community of 30 staff scientists, and an international community of over 1500 scientific visitors per year, including fellows and interns supported through the Smithsonian. Staff scientists maintain diverse research programs covering ecology, evolution, physiology, development, and behavior of marine and terrestrial organisms and ecosystems, both ancient and modern, and the role of human interactions in shaping tropical environments. Staff scientists are not limited to conducting their research in or near Panama.

The position consists of full-time research. Internal funds are provided for laboratory setup, core ongoing research and travel. Staff scientists may supplement their basic yearly research budget by competing for additional intramural and external research funds. Staff scientists are evaluated on their research accomplishments. There is no official tenure, but rather a system of periodic reviews that allows for long-term research projects. For more information on working at STRI see the FAQ:

No formal teaching is required, but in addition to mentoring post-doctoral fellows, students, and interns, STRI scientists are encouraged to teach in graduate training programs with affiliated universities, and to participate in outreach to local and international audiences.

Early- to mid-career candidates are encouraged. Annual salary is commensurate with experience. Compensation packages are internationally competitive, and include allowances to support educational expenses for dependent children at international schools. The position is based in the Republic of Panama. Relocation expenses are provided.

Qualifications: A Ph.D. and post-doctoral research experience in a relevant field, an outstanding publication record, demonstrated success in obtaining research grants, a history of successful collaborative research, and demonstrated skill in communicating science to the public.

To Apply: Please submit the following as PDF files: a cover letter, curriculum vitae, statement of research accomplishments and interests in animal behavior and related fields, PDFs of three to five significant publications, and the names and contact information of three references to Address inquiries to Dr. Rachel Page, Chair, Animal Behavior Search Committee, at

Positions are open until filled; review of applications will begin on November 15, 2017 and interviews will commence shortly thereafter.

STRI is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to diversity in its workforce. Appointments are made without regard to nationality. In addition this position in animal behavior, STRI is currently filling staff scientist positions in terrestrial microbial ecology, forest biology and marine biology, and is supportive of the needs of dual career couples. For more information on the positions STRI is offering, please see our webpage: