Submitted: 8 March 2022
Department: Anthropology
Institution: University of Zurich
Job type: Other
Apply by: 25 March 2022
Application email: [email protected]

We are offering a 4-year fully-funded PhD position in the Ape Behaviour & Ecology Group of the Department of Anthropology at the University of Zurich ( to study hunter-gatherer material culture in Central Africa.

The PhD candidate will work within the Comparative Human and Ape Technology (CHAT) Project, which is funded through a SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship (‘Phylogenetic and Ontogenetic Origins of Ape Material Culture’). The overall goal of the CHAT Project is to enhance our understanding of the evolution of technology and to shed light on what made humans the uniquely technological ape. This research will apply a comparative developmental approach (Koops & Sanz, in press), which integrates the study of the development of tool use and object manipulation while considering the influence of ecological and socio-cognitive drivers, across species. The CHAT Project compares chimpanzees, bonobos, gorillas, and humans. The research for this PhD project will focus on hunter-gatherers and includes behavioural observations and ecological data collection.

The successful candidate will join an interdisciplinary team of researchers working on the evolution of tool use and culture. Excellent collaborative, independent working and time management skills are essential. Previous field experience (incl. behavioural data collection, ideally on humans) and French language skills are required. Experience working in remote places under basic and challenging living conditions is highly recommended. The Ph.D. project will require 18-24 months of field work in the Republic of Congo, split into a number of field seasons.

Candidates should have a M.Sc. degree or equivalent, a relevant background in Biology, Psychology, Anthropology or a related discipline, a strong interest in human/primate behaviour, advanced scientific writing (in English) and strong data analytical skills (in R). Start of the position is 1 August 2022. The position is fully funded for max. 4 years.

Please submit your application as soon as possible in a single PDF to [email protected]. We will consider applications until the position is filled. Feel free to get in touch if you have any inquiries about the position. Applications should include: 1) cover letter stating your motivation and how your expertise fit the project (max. 1 page), 2) Curriculum Vitae, 3) copy of highest degree obtained, 4) names and contact details of two referees, 5) reprints of 1-2 selected publications or writing samples.

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