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Doctoral student (f/m/d) Ecology and intergroup dynamics in chimpanzees

The German Primate Center (DPZ) - Leibniz Institute for Primate Research in Göttingen conducts basic research in primate biology, infection research and neuroscience. It maintains five field stations and is a competence and reference center for research on and with primates. The DPZ is one of the 97 research and infrastructure facilities of the Leibniz Association.

The DFG Emmy Noether Group „ Cooperative Evolution“ (Dr. Liran Samuni) at the German Primate Center, Göttingen, is looking for a highly motivated

Doctoral student (f/m/d) Ecology and intergroup dynamics in chimpanzees

Earliest starting date: May 1st 2024. The position is fully funded for 3 years, and open to students of any nationality. The candidate will be affiliated with the Cooperative Evolution Laboratory at the German Primate Center, Göttingen.

The Cooperative Evolution Research Group focuses on the intersection between ecological variation, intra- and inter-group dynamics, and cooperation in our closest living relatives, chimpanzees and bonobos. We ask questions about how biotic and abiotic factors shape competition, cooperation, sociality, and behavioral diversity within and between individuals, groups, and populations. The doctoral student will conduct fieldwork to collect data on the demography, behavior, movements, and physiology of four chimpanzee groups. They will then combine these datasets with available long-term records to address questions about how environmental challenges impact intra- and inter-group social dynamics and collective action. The student will both contribute to ongoing long-term data collection efforts and develop their own specific questions within the scope of this broader project. Field work will take place with the Taï Chimpanzee Project in Côte d’Ivoire, a long-term site that has been conserving and monitoring multiple habituated chimpanzee groups for over 40 years.

What we expect

This project entails extensive behavioral ecology field work and quantitative behavioral and ecological analyses using programming, primarily in R. The ideal candidate should have experience in at least one of these areas and demonstrate eagerness for developing their skills in the other. Applicants should have a Master’s degree in a relevant scientific discipline including biological/evolutionary anthropology, biology, psychology, or related subjects, and are expected to show high independence and proactively develop and implement research ideas. Good writing and communication skills in English are required.

How to apply

The application should consist of

A. a single PDF file containing the following information in that order:

  1. an informative cover letter including a motivation statement and description of how the position fits the intellectual interests of the applicant
  2. CV including field work experience and a summary of funding and publications (when relevant)
  3. a brief (max. 1 page) research statement describing 1-2 scientific questions you would like to ask or hypotheses you would like to test within the described project.
  4. names and contact details of 2-3 references [name, affiliation, relation to candidate, and e-mail address].

B. an example of a scientifically-relevant writing sample such as a master thesis or a publication that the applicant wishes to be considered by the evaluating committee

We welcome diversity and therefore welcome applications from qualified people, regardless of their ethnic, cultural and social background, gender, religion, ideology, disability, age or sexual identity. Registered disabled applicants with equal aptitude and qualifications will be given preferential consideration. We kindly ask you to indicate a disability in your application. 

Employment at the DPZ is based on the civil service rules and regulations. The salary scale is in accordance with TV-L, with VBL pension scheme.

Please submit your application in electronic form under the key word "Doctoral student, Dr. Samuni” to bewerbung(at) by Jan 20th 2024 (Midnight CET). For further information please write to Dr. Liran Samuni lsamuni(at) or Dr. Erin Wessling ewessling(at) Interviews are expected to take place in February 2024.

For more information about the DPZ, please visit

Further information on the Leibniz Association can be found at