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Post-doctoral Junior Researcher position in Mathematical modelling of animal behaviour

Job description

The Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science, Czech University of Life Sciences seeks for a postdoctoral scientist with strong research interest in mathematical modelling of animal social behaviour. The successful candidate will develop, in the research group of Marek Špinka, a conceptual and mathematical model linking proximate mechanisms, ontogenetic development and evolutionary dynamics of animal play behaviour.

The mathematical model will be developed along the following lines:

· At the proximate level, the model will address the emotional, motivational and kinematic underpinnings of animal play, including the typical features of deliberate loss of control and repetitiveness.

· At the ontogenetic level, the model will investigate the specific possible developmental mechanisms underlying the different functional hypotheses of mammalian play, including ‘training for the unexpected’, self-assessment, motor training and social skills hypotheses.

· The model will be developed at two levels of complexity, namely, for purely locomotor play and for interactive social play.

· The modelling methods may include, among others, agent-based and game-theory approaches with or without explicit inheritance rules.

The junior researcher will work within a recently established research group lead by Marek Špinka. The group is focused on experimental and theoretical investigations of animal, human and inter-species play and cooperative behaviour. Besides working on the model, the junior researcher will also have the opportunity to participate in designing, evaluating and interpreting experiments investigating play, cooperative behaviour and cognitive processes in laboratory Norway rats, domestic pigs, dogs, primates and human children. English is the working language of the group.

The mobility is funded within the project “Supporting the development of international mobility of research, technical and administrative staff at CZU Prague”, reg. no. CZ.02.2.69 / 0.0 / 0.0 / 18_053 / 0016979.


- PhD degree in biology, mathematics or related fields

- Experience with mathematical modelling

- Good publication track (at least two publishing outputs in three last years)

- Proficiency in English (spoken and written)

Application should contain:

- Diploma, diploma supplement (with nostrification, if necessary)

- Structured CV with publication list

- Documents showing research activities outside the Czech Republic for at least 2 years in last 3 years (can be proven in a professional CV)

- Statement of Interest containing your motivation, intended research approach with respect to the current state of art and an Open Access publication plan

Application deadline:

Please apply before June 20 , 2021 by sending all required documents to


1. Position available as soon as possible for maximally 23 months (the mobility must end no later than 30.06.2023)

2. Full time position

3. The estimated gross monthly wage with obligatory employee taxes at full time is 2, 350 EUR and the estimated net monthly wage at full time is 1, 800 EUR

About the Employer

University of Life Sciences in Prague is a public university with strong background in life sciences research, ranking number one in its environment-friendly profile among the Czech universities. Department of Ethology and Companion Animal Science at the Faculty of Agrobiology, with modern animal facilities and equipment produces high quality research focused on the interactions between humans and non-human animals and spanning the levels from physiology through to animal behaviour, animal welfare, animal-assisted therapies and conservation.

Prague is a vibrant, beautiful city with rich history, an international metropolis in the heart of Europe renown for its charming location, abundance of green areas and excellent public transport.

Areas of research

  • Animal Behaviour
  • Mathematical modelling
For more details visit the ResearchGate website