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Postdoctoral Fellowship in Eco-Physiology and Molecular Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Copenhagen

A two-year postdoctoral fellowship on the eco-physiology of fungus-farming ants is available from June 1, 2018 in the Section for Ecology and Evolution within the Department of Biology at the University of Copenhagen in Denmark.  
 
The fellowship will be part of a 5-year research project financed by an ERC Starting Grant. Led by Assistant Professor Jonathan Shik (www.jonathanshik.com), the project will be based in the thriving research environment of the Centre for Social Evolution (http://socialevolution.ku.dk/home/), and will involve fieldwork in the Panamanian tropical rainforests at the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute (http://www.stri.si.edu/).   The successful applicant will have experience and interest in ecology, evolution, physiology, microbial ecology, and molecular techniques. 
 
Project Overview 
The project will focus on the remarkable lineage of leafcutter ants (genus Atta) that harvest fresh vegetation and use it as compost to produce domesticated fungal crops in huge underground nests that feed massive super organismal colonies with millions of workers. We will explore how leafcutter ants have managed to grow a single cultivar lineage from Texas to Argentina, thriving across extreme contemporary rainfall and temperature gradients and across diverse climates over millions of years. Projects will combine field experiments in Panamanian rainforests and integrative laboratory studies of cultivar gene expression to resolve the mechanisms governing the resilience of industrial-scale fungus farming in ants within diverse tropical insect communities. 
 
Qualifications 
a) PhD in biology or similar 
b) Experience with microbiological techniques. 
c) Experience with sequencing, including -omics. 
d) An interest in fieldwork, eco-physiology, and symbiotic interactions. 
e) Creativity and ability to be both team-oriented and independent. 
f) Embrace of an international research environment and interdisciplinary research. 
g) A proven record of excellent English speaking, reading and writing skills. 
 
Procedures and shortlisting 
After the expiry of the deadline for applications, the authorized recruitment manager will select applicants for assessment on the advice of the Appointments Committee. All applicants are then immediately notified whether an expert committee will assess their application. Selected applicants are notified of the composition of the committee and each applicant has the opportunity to comment on the part of the assessment that relates to the applicant him/herself. The Head of Department, based on the recommendations of the assessment committee, will make the final selection of the successful candidate. 
 
Place of employment and principal place of work 
University of Copenhagen, Department of Biology, Section for Ecology and Evolution, Universitetsparken 15, Building 3, DK-2100 Copenhagen East. The University of Copenhagen provides a top-notch research environment and the city of Copenhagen provides a vibrant cultural scene.   
 
Salary and terms of employment 
Terms of appointment and payment according to the agreement between the Ministry of Finance and The Danish Confederation of Professional Associations on Academics in the State. While negotiation for salary supplement is possible, the starting salary is currently up to 419,771 DKK/year including annual supplement (+ pension up to 71,780 DKK/year).  
 
Further information can be obtained from Dr. Shik (e-mail: jonathan.shik@bio.ku.dk).   
 
How to apply 
Applications must include: (1) a cover letter, (2) statement of research interests and reasons for applying to this position (max 2 pages), (3) curriculum vitae (including a list of publications), (4) copies of relevant diplomas (Master of Science and PhD), and (5) the names, e-mails, telephone numbers and addresses of 3 referees. In addition to the fulfilment of the above-mentioned qualifications, the main criterion for selection will be the research potential of the applicant, the match with the project, and good interpersonal skills. 
 
The deadline for applications is February 15, 2018 at 11:59 PM CET. Please forward your application via the Job portal of The University of Copenhagen at Job Portal. Press “APPLY NOW” to fill in the application form. Applications received after the deadline, not using the online application form, or not including the required documents will not be considered. 
 
The University of Copenhagen wishes to reflect the diversity of society and welcomes applications from all qualified candidates regardless of personal background. 
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Part of the International Alliance of Research Universities (IARU), and among Europe’s top-ranking universities, the University of Copenhagen promotes research and teaching of the highest international standard. Rich in tradition and modern in outlook, the University gives students and staff the opportunity to cultivate their talent in an ambitious and informal environment. An effective organisation – with good working conditions and a collaborative work culture – creates the ideal framework for a successful academic career.

Info

Application deadline: 15-02-2018
Employment start: 01-06-2018
Working hours: Full time
Department/Location: Biologisk Institut

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