Postdoctoral Researcher, Animal Cognition Research Group

SCI Psychology Science

Competition No.  -    A100151278
Closing Date  -    Will remain open until filled.

Department Summary:

The Animal Cognition Research Group (ACRG) in the Department of Psychology, Faculty of Science, at the University of Alberta is hiring a full-time postdoctoral researcher to lead behavioural/neural research examining how learning and cognitive abilities allow animals to solve problems they face in the wild (e.g., foraging, how to know what nest to build). Our work is currently focused on variation in cognitive abilities (e.g., sex differences in learning based on nest-building history, among-individual variation in cognitive abilities), social learning in foraging and nest building, and the trade-off between asocial and social information use. We are also looking to expand our work to include an invertebrate model system(s).

The ACRG is funded by an NSERC Discovery Grant, the Faculty of Science, and a Canada Research Chair (Tier 2) to the Principal Investigator (PI), Dr. Lauren Guillette. Our laboratory space includes free-flight colony rooms for zebra finches, extensive laboratory space for customizable behavioural testing, and a full histology and microscopy suite. We have laboratory space designated for team members to work/eat lunch which includes computer banks to download/stream videos from test rooms, general working space, projector, white-board, and team meetings. We also have access to two large and six small sound attenuating chambers and custom-designed acoustic operant discrimination chambers and a multi-choice playback chamber. The ACRG currently has three graduate students, one post-doctoral researcher, several undergraduate honours thesis students, and several independent studies students.

Position Summary:

The appointment will initially be for two years with a salary starting at $40,000 (CAD) per year with annual increase and benefits, one-time moving expense, and $2,000 per year for professional development. This post is renewable subject to satisfactory performance. Starting date is negotiable, but preferred start dates are between September 2023 to January 2024. Successful candidates will be expected to apply for external funding with the help of the PI, those candidates invited to interview will be asked outline postdoctoral funding opportunities to which they can apply (including deadlines and evidence that they meet eligibility requirements) from their home countries. International applicants are welcome and encouraged.


  • Design and implement projects related to the aims of the ACRG, in consultation with the PI and other research collaborators
  • Assist in oversight of research projects of graduate and undergraduate students, and other personnel, to achieve targeted research objectives within timelines, in consultation with the PI
  • Manage day-to-day operation of research laboratory, including maintaining equipment and supplies, overseeing troubleshooting of problems, and ensuring adherence to safety protocols
  • Analyze, interpret, and report research results; assist in preparation of publications and grant applications; present results in meetings, seminars, and conferences
  • Engage in public outreach with diverse audiences

Minimum Qualifications:

  • PhD in psychology or related field (e.g., behavioural ecology, animal behaviour with an interest in animal cognition/learning)
  • Experience conducting behavioural and/or neural experiments with animals in the laboratory or the field
  • Excellent communication and organizational skills
  • Strong record of publications, conference presentations, and public outreach
  • Ability to work on a team, lead a team, and also to work independently
  • Commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion in work practices
  • Candidates must have completed their PhD within the past five years (these time limits may be extended due to circumstances requiring an interruption in the candidate’s research career)
  • Open to candidates from all countries

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Experience working with birds (desirable)

Location: The successful candidate is expected to be located in Edmonton for this position at the University of Alberta.

How to Apply:

Please read application instructions carefully; incomplete applications will not be considered. To assist the University in complying with mandatory reporting requirements of the Immigration and Refugee Protection Act (R203(3) (e)), please include the first digit of your Canadian Social Insurance Number in your application cover letter. If you do not have a Canadian Social Insurance Number, please indicate this in your application.

Please submit the following documents online:

  1. A cover letter (attached under “Cover Letter”).

  2. CV (attached under “Curriculum Vitae”).

  3. Contact information for three references (referees will be contacted and asked to supply letters only if candidate makes the long list; please alert potential references in advance, as the reference letter collection phase will be limited in duration) (attached under “References”).

  4. Three pdfs of representative publications (attached under “List of Publications”).

  5. A two-page (max) statement of research interests (attached under “Research Plan”).

  6. A one-page (max) diversity statement (applicants should identify their strengths and experiences with equity, diversity and inclusion, such as supporting diverse and/or underrepresented students and include a plan to implement and expand their EDI work over the course of the appointment, attached under “EDI Philosophy”).

For more information, please contact Dr. Lauren Guillette at

The review of applications will begin on July 15, 2023 and the position will remain open until filled.

The ACRG, the Department of Psychology, and the University of Alberta is committed to an equitable, diverse, and inclusive workforce.

We welcome applications from all qualified persons. We encourage women; First Nations, Métis and Inuit; members of visible minority groups; persons with disabilities; persons of any sexual orientation or gender identity and expression; and all those who may contribute to the further diversification of ideas and the University to apply.

How to Apply

Apply Online

Note: Online applications are accepted until midnight Mountain Standard Time of the closing date.

All qualified candidates are encouraged to apply; however, Canadians and permanent residents will be given priority. If suitable Canadian citizens or permanent residents cannot be found, other individuals will be considered.