30.09.2020 - 10:31
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Stellenangebote

PhD and Postdoc for Comparative Oceanic Languages Project

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology unites scientists with various backgrounds (natural sciences and humanities) whose aim is to investigate the history of humankind from an interdisciplinary perspective with the help of comparative analyses of genes, cultures, cognitive abilities, languages and social systems of past and present human populations as well as those of primates closely related to human beings.

The Max-Planck-Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology in Leipzig offers:

Position in Phylogenetics and Language/Cultural Evolution


Deadline for applications is the 1st of October 2020.

The Comparative Oceanic Languages Project in the Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution is offering PhD and postdoctoral positions to researchers with strong backgrounds in computational linguistics, historical linguistics, anthropology, evolutionary biology, or related disciplines.

The Department of Linguistic and Cultural Evolution aims to answer big picture questions about human history. Our focus is on describing and explaining the major patterns of linguistic and cultural variation across the globe. We tackle these questions by developing novel language documentation methods, global linguistic and cultural databases, and analyses using evolutionary theories and computational methods.
As a researcher in this project, you will have the chance to explore human prehistory, to actively assist the development of new methods for quantitative historical linguistics and typology, and to shed light on general processes of language change and evolution among Pacific cultures.

Possible topics include:

  • Comparative and computational phylogenetic analysis of language families to infer human prehistory in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Comparative analysis of cultural and linguistic paradigms to infer human prehistory in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Testing hypotheses about large-scale processes shaping linguistic diversity.
  • Developing new quantitative or phylogenetic methods for modelling, investigating, and understanding language evolution and human prehistory.

Selection Criteria:

  • Good computational skills with a knowledge of R, Python or other language.
  • A MA (for PhD applicants) or PhD (for Postdoc applicants) in biology, computer science, statistics, linguistics, anthropology, or related field with an outstanding academic record.
  • Strong proficiency in both spoken and written English.
  • Strong analytical skills and proven self-motivation to complete independent work.
  • Strong team player qualities (you will work in an interdisciplinary and international team where communication is crucial for the success of the project).
  • Research experience on Pacific Island cultures, languages, societies is beneficial.

Our Offer:

  • Full-time position, starting a soon as possible, initially limited to 3 years with the possibility of extension of 2 more years.
  • Salary based on experience according to the German TVöD.
  • According to German labor laws, benefits include 30 days holiday per annum plus Bank Holidays and Christmas closure days as well as an attractive pension proposition.
  • An inspiring, international, interdisciplinary environment with leading domain scientists at our department and in various Max Planck Institutes and universities.
  • Space, freedom, support and resources to do all the things described above.


Please submit your application in English, including the following:

  • Cover letter, explaining research experience and reason for interest in this project, along with a proposed research project (max. two pages).
  • Your CV and copies of degree certificates (Bachelor’s/Master’s/PhD diplomas or transcripts).
  • Names and contact information (including email and phone) for 2-3 referees. Note these individuals will be automatically contacted to provide a reference letter.

Please apply online

The Max Planck Society seeks to increase diversity of our workforce in areas where it is underrepresented and therefore explicitly encourage women and members of underrepresented groups to apply.

Information regarding the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology can be found at www.eva.mpg.de.

For queries, please contact: Simon Greenhill (greenhill@[>>> Please remove the brackets! <<<]shh.mpg.de) or
Mary Walworth (walworth@shh.mpg.de).

The Max Planck Society is committed to equal opportunities and to employing individuals with disabilities and explicitly encourages them to apply.

We look forward to receiving your completed online application .

We look forward to receiving your completed online application at https://www.eva.mpg.de/ career .

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Further information on the research agenda of the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology is available on our website : www.eva.mpg.de.


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