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International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology, Germany: PhD Position on Computational Approaches to the Experimental Study of Animal Collectives

(posted 2017-11-28)

The International Max Planck Research School for Organismal Biology is a joint cooperation between the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the Department of Biology at the University of Konstanz. The Department of Collective Behaviour headed by Prof. Iain Couzin at the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology and the University of Konstanz invites applications for a

PhD position (f/m) on 'Computational Approaches to the Experimental Study of Animal Collectives'

Understanding collective action in biological processes is a central challenge, essential for achieving progress in a variety of fields ranging from the organization and evolution of neural decision-making circuits, to the coordinated communication among cells, or animals, to the dynamics of information exchange among sophisticated organisms, and the emergence of complex societies. Consequently the study of collective behavior naturally spans scales, from how neural circuits control individual behavior, to the analogous issue of determining the structure and function of the communication network among organisms that gives rise to emergent group, and population-level, behavior. Insights and paradigms from the study of collective behavior help reveal unifying principles, as well as important differences, across scales of biological organization.

Your profile: We seek PhD candidates with an interest in developing and employing computational approaches (2D/3D computer vision, machine learning, closed-loop virtual reality environments etc.) to study of collective animal behavior in the lab or field. Expertise in programming is essential, and it is anticipated that candidates may have backgrounds in computer science, physics, applied mathematics, quantitative biology or engineering science.
Our offer: The PhD project is fully funded for at least 3 years. The salary will be paid according to the collective agreement for civil service employees (TVöD). The program offers a dedicated teaching program, high quality research experience, and outstanding research facilities in an inspiring research and living environment. The working language is English. Each PhD student receives individual supervision and mentoring and is guided in her/his research work by a PhD advisory committee.

Application: Please apply exclusively on our online application portal on no later than Jan 15, 2018. Given the broad nature of this search it will be extremely helpful if applicants can let us know "what excites you about collective animal behavior, and what may you want to work on?”. Interviews with the applicants are scheduled for Mid‐March. Candidates accepted into the program may start latest October 2018.
The University of Konstanz and the Max Planck Society are equal opportunity employers that try to increase the number of women in research and teaching. As family-friendly institutions, they are committed to further the compatibility of work and family life and prefer disabled applicants when qualification is equal.

Interested? For further information about the position, please contact Iain Couzin, More information at and