Postdoctoral Researcher, Animal Cognition Research Group

Psychology Science

Competition No.  -    A108045027
Closing Date  -    Will remain open until filled.

The Animal Cognition Research Group (ACRG, in the Department of Psychology at the University of Alberta is hiring a full-time postdoctoral researcher to lead behavioral/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 and the Faculty of Science. Our laboratory space includes free-flight colony rooms for zebra finches, extensive laboratory space for customizable behavioral 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 five graduate students, several undergraduate honors thesis students, and several independent studies students.

The appointment will initially be for two-years with a salary starting at $40,000 (CAD) per yearwith annual increase and benefits. This post is renewable for up-to two additional years subjectto satisfactory performance. Starting date is negotiable but preferred start dates are between September 2021 to January 2022. Successful candidates will be expected to apply for external funding with the help of the Principal Investigator (PI). Those candidates invited to interview will be asked to outline postdoctoral funding opportunities to which they can apply (including deadlines and evidence that they meet eligibility requirements) from their home countries.

International applicants accepted.

The candidate possesses:

  • PhD in psychology or related field (e.g., behavioral ecology, animal behaviour with an interest in animal cognition/learning)
  • Experience conducting behavioral 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
  • Experience working with birds (desirable)

Responsibilities include:

  • 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


  • Candidates must have completed their PhD within the past five years. These time limitsmay be extended due to circumstances requiring an interruption in the candidates research career
  • Open to candidates from all countries

To apply please forward the following:

(1)  A two-page statement of research interests

(2)  Your CV

(3)  Three pdfs of representative publications

(4)  Contact information for three references

(5)  A one-page diversity statement (applicants should identify their strengths and experiences with equity, diversity and inclusion, such as supporting diverse and/or underrepresented students)

Review of applications will begin on 15 July 2021 – position will remain open until filled.


How to Apply


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. 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 persons; 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.