IUSSI logo
IUSSI North-west European section

International Union for the Study of Social Insects

who's wherevacanciesINSECTSmail


Here you will find details of social insect related job vacancies, studentships and grants currently available. If you have any social insect related vacancies that you would like to have advertised here, please e-mail to INSECTS@bio.ku.dk. All advertisements must include either a closing date for applications, or a date on which they may be removed from the web site. This page was last modified on Monday, March 18, 2019

Overview of vacancies on this page:

Lab manager: Behavioral Ecology and Social Evolution, Mainz, Germany

PhD: Self-assembly in weaver ants, Macquarie University, Australia

Postdoctoral Position: Social Evolution in Sweat Bees, Exeter

Postdoc: Bumblebee Cognition, University of Austin, Texas

Postdoc: Microbial interactions between ants and social parasite beetles, CalTech

PhD: Pathogenomics of Stingless Bees, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Graduate Opportunities, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Houston

Lab manager: Behavioral Ecology and Social Evolution, Mainz, Germany

Job announcement In the Faculty 10 Biology, Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution, Group Behavioral Ecology and Social Evolution at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany is looking for a:

Lab Manager(EG 9 TV-L; No: 3019-10-ml) from July 1st 2019 for a permanent position.

We invite applications for a Lab Manager (technical assistant) position in Behavioral Ecology and Social Evolution group of Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik at the Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution. This young international research team focusses on the evolution, behavior, genetics and chemical ecology of social insects. (https://www.blogs.uni-mainz.de/fb10-evolutionary-biology/research-groups/). Excellent research conditions are available at the newly built biocenter at the JGU Mainz. For further information, please contact foitzik@uni-mainz.de. We are seeking a highly motivated technical assistant with a strong background in evolutionary or behavioral genomics and / or bioinformatics. The successful candidate should be interested in evolutionary or behavioral questions and social insects. A proficiency in chemical and genomic methods (e.g. GC-MC, qPCR, RNAseq) is required. Possibility to conduct research projects independently and participate in field trips abroad will be offered. The working language of the lab is English, yet a willingness to learn German is required. 

Requirements of appointment:

Applications from older applicants are strongly encouraged. Similarly, qualified candidates with disabilities will be preferred. The University of Mainz hosts many excellent scientific institutions (http://www.uni-mainz.de/eng/) and Mainz is a historic city located on the Rhine River with many students and a rich social and cultural life. Interested candidates should send an application (as a single e-mail attachment) including the job number (3019-10-ml) containing a CV, training certificates, a letter of motivation, and references to:

Abteilung Personal - PA 4 - der Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz, 55099 Mainz

Closing date for the application is March 19th, 2019

Starting date for the position is negotiable, earliest possible date is July 1st 2019

Prof. Dr. Susanne Foitzik
Institute of Organismic and Molecular Evolution 
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Hanns Dieter Hüsch Weg 15
D-55128 Mainz
Tel: +49 (0) 6131 39 27 840
Fax: +49 (0)6131 39 27 850

Posted 18/3/2019

PhD: Self-assembly in weaver ants, Macquarie University, Australia

I am looking for a highly motivated PhD student to participate in our project "Ant-inspired rules for self-assembly in swarm robotics and complex systems" at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. This is a fixed term-position for three years (at standard PhD stipend rate), funded by the Australian Research Council (ARC).

Project description:
This Project aims to investigate self-assembly in weaver ants (Oecophylla smaragdina) – where individual workers join their bodies together using simple rules at the individual-level to build complex structures at the group-level. This project will uncover the rules used by individual ants that lead to a range of functional self-assembled structures, by inducing colonies to form bridges, hanging chains and pulling chains in the laboratory and performing detailed behavioural analyses on the individual workers. The candidate will work with an international network of collaborators, including world experts in robotics and computer science, who will assist in building a modelling framework of analytical and simulation-based computer models derived from the ant behavioural rules. The models will be directly translated into novel swarm robotics control algorithms, which will be used to achieve two outcomes: i) testing whether the derived behavioural rules lead to successful self-assembly of the desired structure in a physical robot swarm, and; ii) upgrading robot swarms with ant-like capabilities of self-assembling into a variety of functional structures as needed, using a minimum of local information and no prior planning. The candidate will have the opportunity to test their findings on a brand new robot swarm purchased under this grant. The modelling framework may also provide insight into other, less accessible, complex systems, potentially leading to innovations in biomedical fields such as nanomedicine and bioengineering.

Successful candidates will have a Masters degree or equivalent in biology / computer science or a related field, good knowledge/experience in invertebrate behaviour, and an interest in biological complex systems and robotics. Candidates with strong interest (ideally with prior experience) in agent-based modelling and/or programming are highly desirable, though not essential. The ideal candidate will have very good oral and written communication skills in English.

Deadline for applications is 21/3/2019, to begin 1/5/2019 (or as near as possible).

For further information, please contact Dr. Chris Reid, email: chris.reid@mq.edu.au Applications should be a single pdf including a cover letter describing the motivation, previous research activities and current research interests, a CV with copies of BSc and MSc certificates, details of at least 2 referees and a list of publications if applicable.

Dr Chris R. Reid
ARC DECRA Research Fellow, Department of Biological Sciences
Macquarie University, NSW 2109, Australia
e-mail: chrisreidresearch@gmail.com / chris.reid@mq.edu.au
website: https://chrisrreid.wordpress.com
phone: +61 2 9850 6270

Posted 18/3/2019

Postdoctoral Position: Social Evolution in Sweat Bees, Exeter

A 2 year full time ERC-funded postdoctoral position is available starting 1 June 2019 in the research group of Professor Jeremy Field, based in the Centre for Ecology & Conservation, University of Exeter, Cornwall Campus, UK (http://biosciences.exeter.ac.uk/staff/index.php?web_id=Jeremy_Field).

The successful applicant will work on a project investigating the evolution of queen-worker caste differences and social behaviour in sweat bees (Halictidae: LasioglossumHalictus). Additional funding, beyond the initial 2 years, may be available depending on the needs of the project. 

The post will involve work that could include carrying out field transplants, behavioural observations and experiments, together with transcriptomic work relating behaviour to gene expression (see Field et al. 2010 Current Biology 20:2028-31 for an example of our behavioural work). The successful applicant will have relevant experience in evolutionary or behavioural ecology and/or transcriptomics with non-model organisms.

The closing date for completed applications is 31 March 2019. Interviews are provisionally expected to take place during 22-30 April 2019.

For full details, including how to apply, enter the job reference number (P66687) as a keyword in the University of Exeter job search engine at:

Posted 18/3/2019

Postdoc: Bumblebee Cognition, University of Austin, Texas

A postdoc position is available in the research group of Dr Felicity Muth at the University of Texas at Austin, to work on questions in the cognitive ecology of pollination using bumblebees. The postdoc will have the opportunity to develop their own projects within the general lab areas of interest, which include exploring learning, memory and decision-making dynamics in relation to ecologically realistic foraging scenarios. Research will be primarily experimental work based in the lab and in greenhouse facilities available at the Brackenridge Field Laboratory, Austin but there is also the possibility for field-based projects.

Requirements: The candidate must have previous experience working and publishing in topics in animal cognition. While previous experience working with bees is preferred, it is not essential.

Duration and start date: The position would be full-time, benefits-eligible, and would start between September 2019 and December 2019. The position is initially for one year, but may be renewed on an annual basis for up to two years.

Salary: $47,476

Application: Please send a statement of interest, full CV including publications, and the contact information for two references to fmuth@unr.edu. Evaluation of candidates will begin at the end of March and will continue until the position is filled.

For more info see www.beecognition.com

Background Checks: A criminal history background check will be required for finalist(s) under consideration.

Equal Opportunity Employer: The University of Texas at Austin, as an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer, complies with all applicable federal and state laws regarding nondiscrimination and affirmative action.

Felicity Muth, PhD
Department of Biology,
University of Nevada, Reno. +15206123801

Currently recruiting: https://www.beecognition.com/join-the-lab/

Posted 18/3/2019

Postdoc: Microbial interactions between ants and social parasite beetles, CalTech

Research focus: A postdoctoral position is available to study the impact of endosymbiont microbes on animal-animal symbiotic relationships in the lab of Joe Parker at the California Institute of Technology.

Work in the Parker lab is focused on social and symbiotic relationships between animals. We use a unique system to explore these phenomena: the convergent evolution of social parasitism of ant colonies by rove beetles (family Staphylinidae). Rove beetles comprise the largest metazoan family (64,000 species), and include multiple lineages that have evolved to infiltrate ant societies, employing behavioral, anatomical and chemical adaptations. The Parker lab studies these adaptations at the molecular and neurobiological levels. We are now seeking a postdoctoral researcher to probe the endosymbiotic microbiota of rove beetles and their host ants, to address how communities of microbes and multicellular organisms influence each other¡¦s evolution and function.

The successful candidate will spearhead community metabarcoding and metagenomics of ants and social parasite rove beetles to uncover microbial interactions within and between these animal species. The focal system is a model ant-beetle symbiosis that has evolved in the South Western US, in which multiple rove beetle lineages have convergently evolved to infiltrate colonies of a single ant genus. This project involves fieldwork at local sites near Caltech, as well as in Southern Arizona. To better understand how microbes influence social and symbiotic interactions between these species, experimental laboratory manipulations of beetle and ant microbiomes will be pursued, together with phenotypic analysis of behavior and chemical ecology. Inferences about how the evolution of animal interactions impacts the microbiome will be pursued by comparative studies of the microbiota of parasitic and related, free-living beetles. There is substantial opportunity to collaborate with other microbiology labs at both Caltech and the University of Southern California, as well as collaboration with theoretical biologists to develop empirically-based models of multilevel, microbe-animal networks.

The following papers illustrate the rove beetle-ant symbiosis:

Applications are encouraged from talented and motivated individuals who have a Ph.D. or are nearing completion of their Ph.D. with experience in microbial ecology, microbiome sequencing, bioinformatics and metagenomics. Interest or experience in insect biology, behavioral analysis and chemical ecology is desirable but not essential. Top candidates will have a strong track record of research productivity, excellent communication skills, enthusiasm for basic research and a collegial approach to science. Candidates should provide a cover letter, a detailed CV, and names and contact details for three references. For more information, or to apply, please contact joep@caltech.edu

Start Date and Project Duration: The start date is flexible and depends on the candidate. Preference is for candidates who can start in Fall 2019. The position is funded for two years at least and potentially longer depending on progress. The California Institute of Technology Caltech is consistently ranked among the top research universities in the world and hosts a diverse and collaborative scientific community. Caltech is located in Pasadena, California, a vibrant city 10 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles and minutes from the Parker lab's fieldwork sites in the San Gabriel mountains. More info about the Parker lab: https://www.beetles.caltech.edu/

We are an equal opportunity employer and all qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, or national origin, disability status, protected veteran status, or any other characteristic protected by law.

Joe Parker, Ph.D.
California Institute of Technology
Division of Biology and Biological Engineering
1200 E. California Blvd.
MC 216-76
Pasadena, CA 91125
Tel: +1 626 395 8729

Posted 18/3/2019

PhD: Pathogenomics of Stingless Bees, Porto Alegre, Brazil

I am seeking one highly motivated Ph.D. student interested in the evolutionary genomics of host-parasite systems.

The project focuses on the use of large scale sequencing and metagenomics to study the dynamics of the pathogens found in several species of the genus Melipona of Brazil.

Positions are available for 2019. The student in my lab will be supported by CNPq scholarship. Support is guaranteed for four years, contingent upon performance.

Basic knowledge of Portuguese is required.

Please visit: http://www.ufrgs.br/ppgbm/?lang=en for departmental information and www.ufrgs.br/genomicaevolutiva for information on my research interests.

Inquiries are welcome via email to: karen.haag@ufrgs.br

Karen L. Haag Lab, Department of Genetics
Post Graduation Program of Genetics and Molecular Biology (PPGBM)
Federal University of Rio Grande do Sul, Porto Alegre, Brazil

Posted 18/3/2019

Graduate Opportunities, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Houston

The Department of Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Houston (UH) welcomes applications for its graduate program in Ecology & Evolutionary Biology for Fall 2018. The following faculty in the areas of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology have opportunities available for their labs:

If you are interested, you should look at the relevant faculty members' web sites and then contact them directly for more information:


For more information regarding the Evolutionary Biology and Ecology graduate program at UH see:


If you have any questions regarding the application process, please contact:

Ms. Rosezelia Jackson (biograd@central.uh.edu)

The early deadline for application of prospective students is February 1st, 2019. Evaluation will continue after that date, but students are encouraged to apply as early as possible.

N.B. Both Blaine Cole and Diane Wiernasz work on social insects, and encourage applications from those interested.

Posted 30/12/2018

Vacancies will be advertised on this page until the closing date for applications, or, where no firm closing date is given, for a maximum of 3 months. If a position has been filled in the meantime, please let the webmaster know.

This site is maintained and promoted on the Internet by David Nash. email to: DRNash @ bio.ku.dk
Last modified Monday, March 18, 2019