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3 year PhD position / Non-flight related adaptations in insect wings [Germany]

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  • 3 year PhD position / Non-flight related adaptations in insect wings [Germany]

    Dear colleagues,
    there is a new PhD position available in my lab:

    The Morphological Dynamics workgroup of Dr. Blanke at the Institute for Zoology of the University of Cologne invites applications for an EU funded PhD position.
    The PhD project will be focused on non-flight related functional adaptations in insect wings over macroevolutionary timescales. The overall goal is to understand the interplay of shape, mechanics and ecological niche variations on wing variation of selected insect taxa.

    We are seeking a highly motivated applicant, ideally with a background in evolutionary morphology, biomechanics and/or imaging and with a Master degree or equivalent in Biological Sciences, or Engineering Sciences or Computer Sciences. Prospective candidates should have proven skills/background in at least 50% of the following topics:

    • Insect morphology (a previous focus on insect wings is a plus but not mandatory).
    • Insect palaeontology
    • Theory of evolutionary processes
    • Geometric morphometrics applications.
    • Statistics and the related analysis workflows in R or Matlab.
    • Skills in one additional programming language (besides R or Matlab) such as Python, Java or C/C++.
    • Analysis of large image datasets (Histological and microCT based) using state-of-the-art workflows and software packages.

    The project will involve both experimental and computational approaches and visits to collections of natural history museums in Germany and abroad. The successful candidate will need to be able to work independently, as well as part of a team. While training will be available, the student will also be expected to develop proficiency in the analysis types outlined above via attendance of workshops and self-motivated learning. The successful applicant will also have the opportunity to present the project at national and international conferences, and to collaborate with other research groups at an international and interdisciplinary level.

    The position is paid at TV-L E13 65% for 36 months.

    Applications should contain a letter of motivation (1 page or less), your 3 favourite publications from other research teams (not necessarily related to insect wings), a CV, your 2 favourite own publications (if you have any), a summary of previous research and programming/scripting experience (1/2 page or less) and contact details of 2 references. Inquiries can be made with Alexander Blanke (

    The application (as a single pdf file) should be sent to the secretary of the Neurophysiology Department ( with the
    reference number Wiss1804-17. The deadline for application is November 15th 2019, the start date for the position is February 1st 2020.

    The University of Cologne promotes equal opportunities and diversity in its employment relations. Women are expressly encouraged to apply and given priority in accordance with the Equal Opportunities Act of North Rhine-Westphalia (Landesgleichstellungsgesetz LGG NRW). We expressly welcome applications from individuals with severe disabilities or people of equivalent status. Severely disabled applicants of equal merit and qualifications will be given priority.

    This is an exciting project with cooperation partners who are strong in the research fields of palaeontology and biomechanics. Pleaase feel free to circulate this job opening among your colleagues and prospective students.

    Link to the online version:

    The contract has to start on the 1st of February 2020, a later start date unfortunately is not negotiable. An earlier start date can be discussed.

    Thank you for your time reading this,