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Research Assistant (m/f/d) – full-time job; salary grade E 13 TV-L FU; limited to up to 3 years

Excellence Cluster Science of Intelligence (SCIoI)

Reference number: SCIoI-C4-40A

Application deadline: 25.11.2021


The Freie University invites applications for a research assistant position at the Cluster of Excellence “Science of Intelligence”.


What are the principles of intelligence, shared by all forms of intelligence, no matter whether artificial or biological, whether robot, computer program, human, or animal? And how can we apply these principles to create intelligent technology? Answering these questions - in an ethically responsible way - is the central scientific objective of the new Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence (, where researchers from a large number of analytic and synthetic disciplines - artificial intelligence, machine learning, control, robotics, computer vision, behavioral biology, psychology, educational science, neuroscience, and philosophy - join forces to create a multi-disciplinary research program across universities and research institutes in Berlin. Interdisciplinary research projects have been defined (, which combine analytic and synthetic research and which address key aspects of individual, social, and collective intelligence.


Working field

Project: Big Mouse Data: Designing “natural” tasks from a mouse-centric perspective

Field of activity: Analyzing intelligent behavior of mice in a semi-natural setting


In the behavioral part of the project, mice will be monitored under both standard laboratory conditions and in a semi-natural environment. A semi-natural enclosure provides a higher degree of environmental and social enrichment, which promotes a broader behavioral spectrum in mice. For home cage monitoring, an existing combined hardware-software solution, such as the MouseLiveTracker, and a custom system based on RFID sensors, cameras, and microphones are applied. Based on the generated database, “natural” cognitive tasks (i.e., sequences of behavioral primitives for each individual) will be designed in close collaboration with our computational collaborators. These sequences will then be taught to the mice using a primary and secondary reinforcer. Moreover, the key characteristics that constitute a good “learning curriculum” will be analyzed. To check whether the designed "natural" tasks are indeed easier to learn for the mice and to determine a potential correlation in performance, a sample of standard behavioral tests, such as the Barnes Maze, Y-Maze, and Novel Object Task, will be carried out.



  • Conducting experimental research in laboratory animal science
  • Design, execution, and analysis of behavioral tests to characterize cognitive behavior
  • Automated and manual evaluation of behavior
  • Interaction within the SCIoI cluster of excellence
  • Compilation of the results for presentations, project reports, and publications


Responsibilities include scientific research within the project and academic services in the Cluster. PhD position includes the enrollment in the Cluster's doctoral program. All positions require participation in research colloquia, lecture series and workshops, as well as an active engagement in the Cluster's research activities.



  • University degree in biology, veterinary medicine, neuroscience, cognitive science (master’s, diploma, state examination)



  • Extensive knowledge on behavioral biology and laboratory animal science
  • Experience in handling small mammals (including breeding and keeping)
  • Very good command of English, both written and spoken
  • A keen interest in understanding intelligence and the strong communicative skills required for interdisciplinary research
  • Good computer literacy as well as a conscientious work approach, flexibility, goodtime management, and ability to work in a team


Application procedure:

Candidates should upload their application preferably via the portal in order to receive full consideration.


On the given occasion and for the duration of the essential on-site operations by Freie Universität Berlin, we kindly ask you to apply electronically by e-mail. The processing of a postal application cannot be guaranteed.


Applications should include:

motivation letter, curriculum vitae, transcripts of records (for both BSc and MSc), copies of degree certificates (BSc, MSc, PhD if applicable), proof of English skills, abstracts of Bachelor-, Master- and (if applicable) PhD-thesis, list of publications and one selected manuscript (if applicable), two names of qualified persons who are willing to provide references, and any documents candidates feel may help us assess their competence.

With an electronic application, you acknowledge that FU Berlin saves and processes your data. FU Berlin cannot guarantee the security of your personal data if you send your application over an unencrypted connection.

Click here for the official job post in German. 

Contact person: Katharina Hohlbaum