Postdoc position Animal Behaviour

Causes and consequences of social interactions in free-living house mice

A postdoctoral position (100%) in Animal Behaviour, is available at the University of Zurich working with Prof. Dr. Barbara König and her international team.

The social environment is a complex component of an individual’s environment because of its high degree of flexibility and intrinsic unpredictability. Since 2003 we study a natural population of house mice in a barn near Zurich. This study population is unique since mice can emigrate and immigrate, and can be individually followed from birth until they are found dead or leave the barn. We have pedigree information on the entire population, and use RFID technology to automatically monitor individual social behaviour in nest boxes where the mice rest, socialise and rear their litters. For further information on our research see: 

We offer a two year postdoc position to use social network analysis to address key questions referring to the evolution of social behaviour and social organisation, as follows:

  • using social network statistics and mapping genetic and morphological traits to identify what best explains an individual’s social position in the network,
  • revealing how differences in the social environment lead to differences in social interactions that translate into fitness differences between individuals,
  • testing predictions on how social groups respond to unpredictable instability,
  • testing the role of network architecture in the context of cooperation among females.

The ideal candidate will have a Ph.D. in biology, experience in generating and analysing data using bioinformatics, statistical skills in R, and at least one peer-reviewed paper as first author. She/he will oversee our long-term house mouse data base with individual behavioural and genetic information; will quantify social interactions over the life history of individuals; will contribute to data collection in our natural mouse population; will be part of a collaborative, international research environment; will have the opportunity to get involved in other components.

Our group is part of the Department of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies at the University of Zurich, which employs a multidisciplinary mixture of approaches from ecology, evolution and behaviour. The city of Zurich is Switzerland’s largest city, is famous for its lakeside location and its high standards of living, working and accommodation.


Applications should form a single PDF file including:

  • a cover letter explaining your background and motivation,
  • your C.V.,
  • names and contact details of two - three references.

Send the single PDF file to:

Review of applications will begin 14. June 2018. Interviews will take place during the last week of June. Starting date is flexible, the position is available immediately.

Last update: 2018-05-31