Job offer available in Scotland Post-doctoral Research Assistant – AR2232AS at University of St Andrews

A postdoctoral position is available for 3.5 years (starting 1 August 2019) in Professor Christian Rutz’s research group at the University of St Andrews, to investigate the tool behaviour of captive Hawaiian crows. The post is part of a BBSRC-funded project, involving close collaboration between Professor Rutz (PI; School of Biology), Professor Josep Call (Co-I; School of Psychology and Neuroscience), Dr Ron Swaisgood and Bryce Masuda (overseas project partners; San Diego Zoo Global), Dr William Hoppitt (statistical consultant), and several other team members.

It was recently discovered that the critically-endangered Hawaiian crow is a highly dexterous tool user (Rutz et al. 2016, Nature 537, 403–407). The principal aim of the present project is to identify correlates of individual variation in birds’ ability to use, make and invent tools (‘technical competency’). To achieve this, we will run the world’s entire captive adult population of Hawaiian crows (>100 birds) on a newly-developed behavioural test battery (measuring aspects of subjects’ technical competency, cognitive performance, and general behavioural disposition), and combine this dataset with extensive complementary information (incl. subjects’ sex, age, morphology, and genetic and social background).

The post-holder will be in charge of organising and running behavioural experiments, involving annual visits to Hawaii (USA) of ~6 months. In-between field trips, they will be based in the Centre for Biological Diversity at the University of St Andrews, to analyse and write-up data, to liaise with collaborators, and to contribute to outreach activities. The post-holder will work as part of a larger team, and share some project-management and supervision responsibilities.

Candidates must hold a doctorate in a relevant subject area (e.g., Biology, Zoology, Psychology), and have proven skills in conducting behavioural experiments, processing and analysing data, and publishing papers in leading journals in the field. The post requires a high degree of self-motivation and independence, effective communication and team work, meticulous data collection and record keeping, and excellent organisational, time-management and practical problem-solving skills.

Informal enquiries (with CV) can be addressed to Professor Rutz (, but all applications must be submitted via the University’s vacancies link below.

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through our working on diversity awards (ECU Athena SWAN/Race Charters; Carer Positive; LGBT Charter; and Stonewall).  More details can be found at

Please Quote Reference: AR2232AS

Closing Date: 12 July 2019

Further Particulars:AR2232AS FPs.doc


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