Postdoctoral Fellow in Song Learning in Birds
Stockholm University Department of Zoology

Postdoctoral Fellow on Song Learning in Birds Stockholm

Ref. No. SU FV-2750-20


at the Department of Zoology. Closing date: 15 August 2020.

The Department of Zoology consists of five divisions: Ecology, Ethology, Functional Morphology, Population Genetics, and Systematics and Evolution. At present the department accommodates 45–50 staff and a similar number of PhD students. The advertised position will be part of the Division of Ethology. There is a long-standing tradition for researchers at the Division of Ethology to collaborate with researchers from other fields, such as evolutionary ecology, theoretical evolutionary biology, and the study of cultural evolution.

Project description

A postdoctoral research position focused on song learning in birds is available in David Wheatcroft’s research group in the Department of Zoology at Stockholm University. The aim of this project is to disentangle the roles of early life experience and genetics in song learning. Among other topics, the project could focus on cross-generational inheritance of song in the wild, manipulation of song experience and assessment of song learning in captive-reared juveniles, as well as development of the auditory brain regions in these birds. In addition, the applicant would lead the development of sex and stress hormone manipulation and assays in captive and wild birds. Research would focus on wild and captive songbirds, primarily pied (Ficedula hypoleuca) and collared (Ficedula albicollis) flycatchers and their hybrids.

Main responsibilities

Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. This position is 100 % research within the project described above.

Qualification requirements

Postdoctoral positions are appointed primarily for purposes of research. Applicants are expected to hold a Swedish doctoral degree or an equivalent degree from another country. 

Assessment criteria

The degree should have been completed no more than three years before the deadline for applications. An older degree may be acceptable under special circumstances, which may involve sick leave, parental leave, clinical attachment, elected positions in trade unions, or similar.

PhD degrees should preferably focused on Ethology, Behavioural Ecology, Evolutionary Biology or a related subject.

We are looking in particular for candidates with a strong interest in the role of early experience in the development of sexually selected traits. The candidate must have excellent analytical ability, and experience with quantitative analyses of behavioural data as well as large, complex datasets. Experience with acoustic analysis, hormone assays, basic molecular techniques (e.g., PCR and nucleic acid extractions), and songbird neurobiology are particularly beneficial. An ideal candidate would have substantial knowledge and long-term experience studying song learning and conducting related experiments in captive birds.

In the appointment process, special attention will be given to research skills. We are searching for a candidate with experience in the fields of ethology and evolutionary biology. Criteria used to assess this ability are: the applicant’s publication record and documented knowledge and achievements within the described research area, the candidate’s capabilities with regards to speaking and writing in English, analytical thinking, creativity, initiative, independence, and team work performance.

The applicant’s earlier experience within the field of research can be of relevance especially when further documented by courses, independent research work, personal references, interview and an application indicating the applicant’s motivation in written form.

Terms of employment

The position involves full-time employment for a maximum of two years, with the possibility of extension under special circumstances. Start date as per agreement.

Stockholm University strives to be a workplace free from discrimination and with equal opportunities for all.


Further information about the position can be obtained from Dr. David Wheatcroft (host and project leader), telephone: +46 7222 38 327,, Hemsida:

Union representatives

Ingrid Lander (Saco-S), telephone: +46 708 16 26 64,, Alejandra Pizarro Carrasco (Fackförbundet ST/Lärarförbundet), telephone: +46 8 16 34 89,, and (SEKO).


Apply for the position at Stockholm University's recruitment system. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure that the application is complete in accordance with the instructions in the job advertisement, and that it is submitted before the deadline.

Please include the following information with your application

  • Your contact details and personal data
  • Your highest degree
  • Your language skills
  • Contact details for 2–3 references (reference letters will be requested only from shortlisted applicants) 

and, in addition, please include the following documents

  • Cover letter
  • CV – degrees and other completed courses, work experience and a list of publications
  • Research proposal (no more than 3 pages) describing:
    – why you are interested in the field/project described in the advertisement 
    – what makes you suitable for the project in question
  • Copy of PhD diploma
  • Publications in support of your application (no more than 3 files).

The instructions for applicants are available at: Instructions – Applicants.

You are welcome to apply!

Stockholm University contributes to the development of sustainable democratic society through knowledge, enlightenment and the pursuit of truth.

Closing date: 15/08/2020


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