Assistant Professor Animal Behavior Utrecht University, Department in Biology Netherlands

Assistant Professor Animal Behavior (0.9 FTE)


Job description

Are you a Behavioural Biologist with a strong affinity for statistical analyses and innovative ideas concerning research and teaching? Then we may be looking for you!


The Animal Ecology research group at the Biology Department of Utrecht University is currently looking for an Assistant Professor (UD), who will be committed to:

  • teaching (0.6 FTE) at both Bachelor and Master level. The Bachelor level teaching encompasses courses in the study trajectory ‘Behavioural Biology’ for the Bachelor Biology and supervision of bachelor research and theses. The teaching at Master level encompasses master research and several master courses. The new staff member will contribute to the teaching of up-to-date scientific content and scientific skills. In addition, (s)he is proficient in teaching and supervising statistical analyses concerning animal (social) behaviour. 
  • research (0.3 FTE). The new staff member conducts cutting-edge research on social behaviour of animals, preferably primates, and can attract external research funding by successful grant applications. The new staff member collaborates with the other researchers, and, where needed, provides them with statistical advice for their research.



We are looking for a candidate with:

  • an interest in both research and teaching;
  • a PhD degree and conducts research on Animal Social Behaviour, preferably primates;
  • (ideas about) an own research line and a track record of international publications in leading journals in the field;
  • proven qualities in teaching on Animal Behaviour;
  • a BKO (Dutch University teaching qualification), a foreign equivalent of a BKO, or is willing to obtain this qualification;
  • excellent statistical knowledge and proven qualities in conducting biostatistical analyses, using R.



The candidate is offered a 0.9 FTE position for a year with the possibility of an extension. The gross salary is in the range between €2,709 and maximum €4,274 per month (scale 10 Collective Labour Agreement Dutch Universities). Salaries are supplemented with a holiday bonus of 8% and a year-end allowance of 8.3% per year. In addition, Utrecht University offers excellent secondary conditions, including an attractive retirement scheme, (partly paid) parental leave and flexible employment conditions (multiple choice model). Here you'll find more information about working at Utrecht University.

About the organization

A better future for everyone. This ambition motivates our scientists in executing their leading research and inspiring teaching. At Utrecht University, the various disciplines collaborate intensively towards major societal themes. Our focus is on Dynamics of Youth, Institutions for Open Societies, Life Sciences and Sustainability.

The city of Utrecht is one of the oldest cities in the Netherlands, with a charming old center and an internationally oriented culture that is strongly influenced by its century-old university. Utrecht city has been consistently ranked as one of the most livable cities in the Netherlands.


The Faculty of Science consists of six Departments: Biology, Pharmaceutical Sciences, Information and Computing Sciences, Physics and Astronomy, Chemistry and Mathematics. The Faculty is home to 5,600 students and nearly 1,500 staff and is internationally renowned for the quality of its research. The Faculty's academic programmes reflect developments in today's society. Read the overall impression 2016 of the Faculty of Science.

The Animal Ecology research group at the Biology Department currently consists of one full Professor, two part-time Assistant Professors, one Staff Assistant and three PhD candidates. Its main scientific focus is on the evolution of animal social behaviour. This broad scientific framework is used as a base for the teaching that is hosted by the group, which consists of the study trajectory ‘Behavioural Biology’ for the Bachelor Biology and the track ‘Behavioural Ecology’ in the English Research Master ‘Environmental Biology’ of the Graduate School of Life Sciences. The group’s teaching enjoys a broad interest from both bachelor and master students.

The research group conducts fundamental research on animal social behaviour, with a particular focus on primates. Primates with their complex group life and their seemingly higher cognitive capacities, as well as their close relatedness to humans, are an ideal model to investigate the biological mechanisms of sociality. In primate social groups not only competition, but also cooperation between group members are crucial for the adequate functioning of group processes. The opposing forces of competition and cooperation have led to the evolution of higher cognitive capacities, such as Theory of Mind, yet how these cognitive capacities are reflected in social strategies has remained largely unclear. The research of Animal Ecology therefore focusses on the biology of successful group living, where both competition and cooperation are investigated in conjunction with cognitive capacities. This research is conducted by employing observational and behavioural-experimental methods both in captivity and the wild, as well as computer simulations of primate behaviour. In addition, studies on similar topics involving human children are conducted in collaboration with the Faculty of Social Sciences. This offers the exciting possibility to investigate primate and human behaviour in similar behavioural contexts from a comparative psychological perspective.

Additional information
Additional information about the vacancy can be obtained from Prof. Dr. Liesbeth Sterck, via or (030) 253 54 05.

To apply please attach a letter of motivation, curriculum vitae and (e-mail) addresses of two referees. The first job interviews are scheluded in week 10 and 11 (march). As part of the selection procedure, the candidate is expected to give an outline of his/her research plans in a written report and an oral presentation.


To apply, please click the application button below.

The application deadline is

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