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PhD in primate sociality and communication

lundi, 02 septembre 2019 19:22 Study

Hiring Organization:
Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan, Poland

Date Posted:

Position Description:
Project: Understanding origins of social brains and communication in wild primates
Understanding the evolution of language is one of the most important questions in establishing whether or not humans are truly distinct from other animals. In seeking to infer the evolution of language, a primary focus has been to understand communication in primates. A logical extension of this line of research is to use social network analyses to explore the associations between the social relationships of primates and their patterns of communication. Such analyses will reveal how primates use communication and other behaviours to maintain their networks of family and friends, much as humans use Facebook to maintain their social networks. This project will examine how the complexity of social system influences intelligence in primates and determine whether the complexity of communication allows for larger social groups to emerge during evolution. Gathering this data will enable us to answer the question whether the evolution of the larger brains in hominins took place to increase the cognitive complexity underpinning communication and this in turn enabled us to live in more complex and dynamic social groups. Specifically the aim of this project is to collect the valuable data on the dynamics of social relationships and communication in several groups of wild primates. Thanks to the results of this project, the international community will gain the tools for more effective protection of wild primates that have been stimulating the imagination of biologists and anthropologists for centuries. The pioneering character of this research was confirmed by the publication of preliminary results in the prestigious journal Nature Communications. Overall, this research will transform our understanding of communication and sociality in primates and also allow us to address a central question of interest to all: what makes us human?
A 36-month full time PhD position is available at the Department of Anthropology, Faculty of Biology at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, funded by Sonata 14 The co-investigator on this project is Dr Sam Roberts, who is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Liverpool John Moores University, UK. The position involves field work, data analyses and publication of the results as well as presentation at the international conferences. The successful candidate will be primarily based at the Adam Mickiewicz University where they will write their PhD thesis in English and attend doctoral school but will also spend 12 - 18 months in the field, where they will collect communication and social data from wild primates. As part of their training, they will spend some time (1 - 2 months) in Liverpool, UK to conduct data analyses.

The details of the evaluation criteria has been posted on the following website in English and Polish: (
Applicants are expected: 
- to have good master's degree in Biology, Evolutionary Anthropology or a related area
- to have documented interest in this field of study
-to have good standards in scientific writing, data management skills and dissemination
- to have experience conducting behavioural observations with wild primates
- to be able to work in harsh climate and difficult terrain for long hours
- to be culturally sensitive and have necessary social skills to thrive in an intercultural research team 
- to have experience and ability to live in isolated place with limited access to amenities 
- to have excellent spoken and written English skills

PhD stipend is 3000 Polish zloty per month. Additionally, all travel and research expenses as well as additional expenses during the stay in UK and at conferences will be covered. Inoculations, medication and food will not be covered.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
not applicable

Term of Appointment:
The position starts in October 2019 (non-negotiable)

Application Deadline:
The deadline for the arrival of posted applications in Poland is 30th of August, 2019. The applications stamped as arriving in Poland after 30th of August 2019 will be rejected. The shortlist and final selection will be done in September 2019. International candidates will be interviewed via Skype. Please do not hesitate to contact us if you have any further questions - we are happy to answer queries before you formally apply. If you decide to apply, please send an email with a copy of your application to Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser. and Cette adresse e-mail est protégée contre les robots spammeurs. Vous devez activer le JavaScript pour la visualiser..

The applicants submit the application electronically ( and by post. 
The details of the application procedure can be found on the following website: ( in English and Polish. To apply, doctoral candidates shall submit: 1) cover letter with an indication of the scientific discipline in which they would like to obtain the academic degree discussing their suitability for this position, 2) personal questionnaire ('Personal data') whose specimen is available on the website, 3) CV with documented scientific and other achievements as indicated in the list of documents ('list of scientific achievements', 'list of other achievements') - please note that these have to be documented within the application (e.g. provide certificate of the completion of a fieldwork study, copy of the papers), 4) preliminary proposal of the research project (up to 8 pages of the standard typescript) - this proposal should outline your specific interests in this study, 5) copy of the diploma of graduation from a higher education institution confirming that the second cycle degree has been obtained, and in the case of graduates completing their education in the academic year 2018/2019 a certificate of graduation confirming completion of second cycle education in the academic year 2018/2019, 6) the Diploma Supplement (in the case of two-cycle programs - from first-cycle and second-cycle programs). If the education was obtained in non-English speaking country, scan of the document confirming applicant education (a copy) in the original language and a certified translation into, respectively, English or Polish, together with the supplement. If you obtained your master diploma outside Poland please look here:,, 7) 35 mm x 45 mm color photograph, 8) 20 x 25 mm color photograph, with a resolution of at least 300 dpi (on an electronic data medium), 9) consent to the processing of personal data for the purposes of the admission procedure, 10) confirmation of payment of the admission fee for the Doctoral School (PLN 200 or the equivalent in EURO). The fee should be paid to the bank account: IBAN: PL77 1090 1362 0000 0000 0000 3601 7903; SWIFT: WBKPPLPPLPP with a note on the transfer slip: admission fee to the Doctoral School - name and surname, 11) scan/copy of the passport, 12) contact details of three referees.
The applicants of any nationality or age may apply.

Contact Information:
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