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PhD position in Primate Cognition

The German Primate Center (DPZ) - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research is one of 96 research and infrastructure establishments of the Leibniz Association. It conducts basic biological and biomedical research in all fields in which non-human primates play essential roles: in particular in infection research, the neurosciences and organismic primate biology. Besides its research infrastructure in Göttingen the DPZ maintains four field stations to do research on and with primates.

For a new research network to be established together with the Georg-August-University of Göttingen, we recruit / offer a

PhD position in Primate Cognition (all genders welcome)

This is a 65% position (payment E13 TV-L, currently 25,9h/week) initially for two years, with the possibility for extension to four years. The earliest starting time for this position is Jan 1st, 2022. Across several projects, the research network will investigate how fundamental cognitive functions and their neurobiological foundations contribute to human and nonhuman primate social behavior and social interactions. The network is formed by a highly interdisciplinary consortium formed by systems and computational neuroscientists, data scientists, psychologists and behavioral and cognitive biologists.

In this project, we aim to study feedback-loops between social learning and social network position in wild redfronted lemurs. Assessing other’s expertise is key during social learning and observed experts can also become more valuable social partners; this, in turn, suggests that competence may predict social partner choice beyond other intrinsic traits, such as kinship or personality. To examine this dynamic bi-directional process, we will combine detailed behavioral observations with social learning experiments in several groups of redfronted lemurs at our field site Kirindy Forest in western Madagascar. The project is a collaboration between the groups of Claudia Fichtel (DPZ) and Alexander Ecker (University of Göttingen). In combination with a parallel PhD project in Alexander Ecker’s team, we will establish methods from computer vision to automatically track pose, body and head orientation or spatial positions of individuals during social learning experiments, requiring good team-work between PhD students.

Your profile:

  • MSc degree (or equivalent) in a relevant field
  • field experience (preferably in the tropics)
  • experience in conducting cognitive tests with (optimally wild) animals
  • good team-player qualities
  • experience in analyzing large data sets is highly desirable
  • basic French skills and very good command of English

The appointment at the DPZ follows the applied regulations of civil service. The classification follows the TV-L. Applicants with disabilities and equal qualifications will be given preferential consideration. We kindly ask you to indicate any disabilities in your application.

Please send in your written application as a pdf including a cover letter, CV, all certificates and the contact information of two referees until 01.12.2021 under the key word “PhD Primate Cognition” to Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH – Leibniz Institut für Primatenforschung – Personnel Office – Kellnerweg 4 – 37077 Göttingen or via mail to bewerbung(at)

For further information see, Contact: Claudia Fichtel, Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology Unit, +49 551 / 3851-467.

For more information about the Leibniz Association see