GELIFES PhD scholarship Phenotypic plasticity and species divergence (1.0 fte)

Organisation
University of Groningen



Department
Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

The University of Groningen has an international reputation as a dynamic and innovative institution of higher education, offering high-quality teaching and research. Balanced study and career paths in a wide variety of disciplines encourage the 30,000 students and researchers to develop their own individual talents. The University of Groningen is proud to be among the global elite with a classification in the top 100 of the Shanghai ARWU, the QS World University Rankings, and the THE World University Rankings. It marks the 24th place in the global ranking of Best Places to Work in Academia, scoring 3rd best in Europe and 5th non-US university. Joining forces with prestigious partner universities and networks, the University of Groningen is truly an international place of knowledge.

The Groningen Institute for Evolutionary Life Sciences (GELIFES)
GELIFES, the largest institute of the Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences (FMNS) fills a special niche in the life sciences by covering and integrating mechanistic, evolutionary and ecological approaches, aiming to understand adaptation on all levels of biological organisation. Researchers pursue fundamental questions while collaborating with partners from industry, medicine and other realms of society. For its new research programme, called Adaptive Life, which is one of the four focus themes of FMNS, the institute received a large university grant.

Our research fields include behavioural biology, chronobiology, ecology, evolutionary biology, genetics and genomics, neurobiology, physiology and theoretical modelling, using a wide array of research tools. Research levels range from molecular and organismal to population and community, performed under laboratory, semi-natural and field conditions. Studying mechanisms within the framework of evolutionary adaptation allows for a large diversity of model organisms, for which we have extensive facilities. A wide array of species is studied, from microbes, algae, plants and insects to vertebrates such as fish, birds, rodents, marine mammals and humans. We are currently searching for candidates to fill a substantial number of open PhD positions within our Adaptive Life programme.

12 four-year scholarship PhD positions within GELIFES
GELIFES offers 12 four-year scholarship PhD positions for the most talented and motivated national and international students, starting between December 2016 and May 2017. All PhD positions are integrative by nature, spanning across different expertise groups and being strengthened by complementary PhD projects already in progress and in preparation.

PhD students will be required to develop their own research project within the scope of the research. They will receive excellent training through cutting-edge research projects, advanced courses and training opportunities, complemented by workshops on generic research, transferable skills and teaching. As a PhD candidate, you are committed to conduct independent and original scientific research, to report on this research in international publications and presentations, and to present the results of the research in a PhD dissertation, to be completed within 4 years.


Job description
Phenotypic and species divergence – Linking trait architecture, fitness and macro-evolution.

What is the role of phenotypic plasticity in species diversification? Plasticity may help to colonise new niches, but on the other hand it may weaken the strength of divergent selection. We address this question by studying visual plasticity in cichlid fish. We combine phylogenetic comparative analysis (species richness patterns) with experimental investigation of visual plasticity (retinal pigment expression) and its fitness consequences (growth and survival under competition).


Requirements
Successful candidates will have completed a master’s degree (or equivalent) in Biology or another field of science relevant for the position. They have good command of English (oral and written), are enthousiastic and have the ability to work in an interdisciplinary team, have a passion for science, are highly motivated to work within the life sciences, integrating evolutionary and mechanistic approaches, possess excellent communication skills and the ability to write scientific papers and deliver presentations.

Specific requirements for this position
Preferably strong interest in animal behaviour, ecology, evolution and biodiversity. Experience with experimental work in live animals and molecular genetics techniques. Other helpful competences include statistical proficiency (e.g. in the R software environment), possession of a driving license, and a license to perform animal experiments (art. 9 Wet op de dierproeven; the Dutch Experiments on Animal Act) or the willingness to obtain these.

Supervisors
Dr Martine Maan, Prof. Rampal Etienne & Dr Louis van de Zande.


Conditions of employment
The PhD training programme The PhD student will participate in the Faculty’s Graduate School of Science training programme for PhD students and will draw up a personal training and supervision plan. The Graduate School also provides a progress monitoring programme to ensure an efficient PhD process resulting in a PhD thesis within 4 years. A Career Perspectives curriculum is part of the training, which aims to prepare students for their (academic or non-academic) careers after the PhD trajectory. Information about the PhD training programme and scholarship can be found via: https://www.rug.nl/education/phd-programmes/phd-scholarship-programme/ How to apply Please send your complete application in English as a single PDF file before 11 September 2016, 23:59 Dutch local time. Please upload your entire application as "letter of motivation" by means of the application form (click on 'Apply' below on the advertisement on the university website). The submission should contain the following: 1. a cover letter introducing yourself, describing your motivation and qualifications to conduct scientific research and especially your choice for the particular project 2. a full CV demonstrating academic excellence, including publications and presentations (if applicable), and a copy of your passport 3. a certified copy or scan of your MSc diploma (or equivalent; provide a certified University letter stating when your graduation will be if between the application deadline and start of the project) and academic records 4. proof of sufficient competence in English 5. names and contact details of two academic references. After the initial selection, only top candidates for each position will be invited to independently write a 1-2 page research proposal in the context of the indicated research direction as listed above. The proposal should focus on the central research question, the proposed method of approaching and answering this question, as well as the project planning. Also interested in one of the other GELIFES offered PhD positions? It is possible to apply for multiple positions. Please apply for each position separately, indicating the vacancy number as specified above. For general information on the AL and/or PhD Programme, contact Dr C.M. Eising, administrative coordinator Adaptive Life Programme / GELIFES PhD coordinator, phone: +31 50 3639140, mail: c.m.eising@rug.nl. Unsolicited marketing is not appreciated.


Additional information
For additional information, please contact:
Dr Martine Maan (for information on the research proposal)
+31 50 3632196,
m.e.maan@rug.nl

In your application, please always include the job opening ID B042216
Extra informatie kan worden verkregen via een van de volgende links:

More information about GELIFES
More information about Adaptive Life programme

Digital application form