Job offer from November 26, 2021
Applications are invited for a full-time scientist position in computational ethology at the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology in Jena, Germany to work in the Social Behavior group headed by Dr. Yuko Ulrich.
We are looking for a dynamic, creative, and collaborative scientist to join an interdisciplinary team working at the intersection of behavioral ecology and evolutionary biology.
Our research focus
The group’s current work is centered on the drivers and consequences of social behavior. We seek to understand how individual traits, the social environment, and the epidemiological context shape individual and collective behavior using experimental, computational, and molecular approaches in an uniquely accessible social insect, the clonal raider ant. This asexual species produces genetically identical offspring in discrete cohorts, making it possible to precisely control and replicate the size and composition of colonies in experiments. For more information about our work, please visit
The successful candidate will develop and implement computational tools for the study of social behavior and disease spread in ant colonies. We are therefore looking for a team member with a strong quantitative background and experience in the acquisition and analysis of large-scale image-based behavioral data using computational tools.
Experience working on group-living species and designing behavioral assays are a plus. Candidates must have excellent (written and oral) communication and organizational skills, experience working collaboratively in interdisciplinary teams, and a track record of addressing scientific problems in an innovative and rigorous manner. Whatever your background, a keen interest in animal behavior and a positive mindset are a must.
- Evaluate, select, and adapt existing tools for specific applications
- Develop and implement custom computational pipelines to analyze (detect, classify, characterize, quantify) specific individual, social, and collective behaviors in ant colonies Assist lab members in the design and troubleshooting of behavioral experiments
- Conduct experiments independently
- If desired, the option to mentor MSc and PhD students is available
- Communicate results and observations to colleagues in meetings
- Manage data storage and computational resources for the group
- A MSc or PhD in computer science, engineering, biology, or related fields
- Good knowledge of the field of computational ethology (incl. tools and methods)
- Experience developing and using computational ethology tools (e.g., video-based automated tracking, pose estimation using deep-learning)
- Experience analyzing large-scale behavioral datasets to address biological questions
- Knowledge of at least one major programming language (e.g., Python, MATLAB) Creative problem-solving ability, attention to detail
- Ability to work independently and as part of a team, self-motivation, adaptability
What we offer
The Max Planck Institute for Chemical Ecology provides a thriving, international, and multidisciplinary research environment, state-of-the-art facilities and equipment, and world class colleagues working on insect chemical ecology, neuroethology, and evolutionary biology. The working language of the institute is English. For more information, please visit www.ice.mpg.de. We offer a competitive salary, as well as generous holiday entitlement and pension scheme. The Max Planck Society is committed to equal opportunities and diversity (www.mpg.de/equal_opportunities). We welcome qualified applicants from all backgrounds.
How to apply
To apply, please send your CV, a cover letter (≤ 2 pages) stating why you are applying for this position and what your proposed research goals are, along with the names and contacts of 2-3 references as a single PDF to
firstname.lastname@example.org. Review of applications will start on January 3, 2022 and will continue until the position is filled. Preferred starting date is March 2022 but flexible. Informal inquiries about the position can be addressed to Dr. Yuko Ulrich (email@example.com).