13.08.2020 - 05:37
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Department of Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture

Deutscher Platz 6
04103 Leipzig

phone: +49 (0)341 3550 - 315
fax: +49 (0)341 3550 - 333

e-mail: cissewski@eva.mpg.de

Curriculum Vitae

Name: Roman M. Wittig
Citizenship: German

CV to download
(additional information)


Professional Employment

since 2019Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (D), Departments of Primatology & Human Behavior, Ecology and Culture, Scientific Staff
since 2013Head of Max Planck Research Group, Taï Chimpanzee Project, Senior Scientist (W2)
2011 – 2019Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (D), Department of Primatology, Scientific Staff
2008 – 2011University of St Andrews (UK), School of Psychology, Research Fellow
2004 – 2008University of Pennsylvania (USA), Department of Biology, Research Fellow

Scientific posts

since 2018Editorial Board member of American Journal of Primatology
2014 - 2017
Member of the Human Sciences Section of the Scientific Council of the Max Planck Society


2004University of Leipzig (D) & Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology (D), Dr. rer. nat. in Biology (Supervisor: Christophe Boesch, Co-referees: Frans de Waal, Peter Kappeler)
1996University of Bielefeld (D), Diplom in Biology (Supervisor: Hubert Hendrichs, Co-referee: Jürgen Döhl)

Field Experience

Since 2013Director of the Taï Chimpanzee Project (Côte d’Ivoire)
Full responsibility for the Taï Chimpanzee Project in Côte d’Ivoire.
2008 – 2010Budongo Conservation Field Station, Budongo Forest (Uganda), Assistant Director
Studying the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes schweinfurthii) of the Sonso community for 2½ years, conducting field experiments (playback and object presentation), behavioural observations, urine collection for hormonal analysis and fecal collection for genetic analysis.
2004 – 2005Babooncamp, Okavango Delta (Botswana), Post-doc Researcher
Studying Chacma baboons (Papio hamadryas ursinus) at the long-term study site of Dorothy Cheney and Robert Seyfarth for 1½ years, conducting playback experiments and fecal collection for hormonal analysis.
1996 – 1999Taï Chimpanzee Project, Taï National Park (Côte d’Ivoire), Camp Manager
Studying the chimpanzees (Pan troglodytes verus) of the North community for 3 years, conducting behavioural observations for my PhD thesis.

Teaching Experience

starting 2019

NEW international Master course: Integrative Biology, University Leipzig Block module: Cognitive Ethology in Primates

since 2014

Lecturer, Master of Science in Biology, University of Leipzig                Course: Bridge Seminar - Social intelligence

since 2011Coordinator & lecturer, International Max Planck Research School for Human Origins Course: Comparative and Molecular Primatology
2011Substitute lecturer, School of Psychology, University of St Andrews
Module: Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology

Invited Talks (selection)

2018Duke University, Durham, NC (USA), Department for Evolutionary Anthropology, Seminar Hare Group
Naturhistorisches Museum, Wien (A), Talk Series in relation to the exhibition: War. 
2017African Primatological Society, Plenary Keynote at the Inaugural Conference in Abidjan / Bingerville (CIV)
Georg August University & German Primate Center, Göttingen (D), Colloquium Series: Understanding Social Relationships.
2016Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago (USA), Keynote on Social Living - Chimpanzee in Context, 'Understanding Chimpanzees' Symposium Series
International Society for Anthrozoology, Plenary Keynote - ISAZ Meeting 2016, Barcelona (E)
2015Wuppertaler Zoogespräche (D), Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Philosophisches Seminar
Konrad Lorenz Institut für Vergleichende Verhaltensforschung, Wien (A), Wilhelminenberg Seminar

Université de Neuchâtel (CH), Department of Comparative Cognition, Group Seminar

2014Society for Tropical Ecology, Plenary Keynote - Conference of the Society for Tropical Ecology, Munich (D)


Lorentz Center Leiden (NL), Workshop: Obstacles and Catlysts of Peaceful Behavior

2012Université de Rennes (F), Department of Animal and Human Ethology, Ethos Seminar
2011 University of Stirling (UK), School of Nature Sciences, Behavioural Ecology Research Group Seminar
University of Zürich (CH), Institute for Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies, Behaviour Ecology Environment and Evolution Seminar.
2010Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin (D), House Seminar
2007Lincoln Park Zoo, Chicago (USA), Chimpanzee Mind Conference, 'Understanding Chimpanzees' Symposium Series
2006Emory University (USA),Yerkes Primate Research Centre, Living Links Colloquium
Harvard University (USA), Department of Anthropology, Anthropology Colloquium

Professional & Public Services

Ad-hoc reviewer

  • Journals: American Journal of Primatology, Animal Behaviour, Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, Behaviour, Biology Letter, Current Biology, Hormones & Behavior, Human Evolution, International Journal of Primatology, Naturwissenschaften, Primates, Proceedings of the Royal Society London B, Science.
  • Grant Bodies: Leakey Foundation, Wenner-Gren Foundation

Conference organisation

  • Symposium: 40 Years of Taï Chimpanzee Project, 29 - 31 May 2019, MPI EVA, Germany.
  • XIV Conference of the Gesellschaft für Primatologie, 11 - 13 Feb 2015, MPI EVA & University of Leipzig, Germany
  • Great Ape Health Workshop – International Conference on the Health Threat for Great Apes in Research and Tourist Sites, 21 – 24 Aug 2009, LAICO Lake Victoria Hotel, Entebbe, Uganda.

Consulting (selection)

  • Consultant for the exhibition 'WAR - KRIEG'. Landesmuseum für Vorgeschichte Halle, Halle (D).
  • Consultant on baboon behaviour for the BBC Natural History Series ‘Planet Earth’ (2005-2007).
  • Consultant on ape behaviour and evolution for the exhibition ‘Mensch und Tier: eine paradoxe Beziehung’ (2002-2003). Deutsches Hygienemuseum, Dresden (D).
  • Consultant on chimpanzee conservation for the exhibition ‘Gorillas in the soup’ (2000-2001). Bushmeat crisis campaign of the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EU).

Professional Membership

1998Ethologische Gesellschaft e.V.
1995International Primatological Society & Deutsche Gesellschaft für Primatologie

Honors and Awards

2018Member and Co-initiator of the Max Planck Synergy Research Group Evolution of Brain Connectivuty (Max Planck Society)
2016Nominated participation in the German American Frontiers of Science Symposium (Humboldt-Foundation and National Science Foundation USA)
2015Invitation to join the DFG Researcher Consortium: The oxytocin system of the socio-emotional brain (invited by Dr. Valary Grinavich, University of Heidelberg, GER)
2014Member of the DFG Researcher Consortium: Sociality and Health in Primates (SoHaPi)
2012Young Investigator award of the Society of Behavioral Neuroendocrinology (jointly with Catherine Crockford)
2010Invited Guest of the Wissenschaftskolleg zu Berlin
2006Research Fellow of the German Science Foundation (DFG) for two years
2004Conference Grant of the German Science Foundation (DFG)


Research Grant Awards

2019PI on Research Grant: Presidential Funds of the Max Planck Society: Evolution of Brain Connectivity (total: € 1.627.000)
2017PI on Research Grant: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - SOHAPI in collaboration with RKI (total: € 450.000)
2016Co-PI to ERC starting grant Ape Attachment of C. Crockford (total: € 1.500.000)
2015PI on Research Grant: Wenner-Gren Foundation in collaboration with A. Mielke & C. Crockford: US$ 6000
2014Co-PI on Research Grant: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft - SOHAPI in collaboration with RKI: € 230.000
2013Co-PI Conservation Grant: European Association of Zoos and Aquaria in collaboration with RKI, WWF & Zoo Leipzig: € 21.000
2013PI on Research Grant: Leakey Foundation in collaboration with A. Preiss & C. Crockford: US$ 12.800
2009Co-PI on Research Grant: Wenner-Gren Foundation together with C. Crockford, T. Deschner, T. Ziegler & K. Zuberbuhler: US$ 25.000
2009Co-PI on Research Grant: Leakey Foundation in collaboration with C. Crockford, T. Deschner & K. Zuberbuhler: US$ 22.500
2006Post-doc fellow grant: Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft