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Research Assistant (m/f/d) with expected full time, salary grade E 13 TV-L HU (third-party funding limited for 3 years, intended to be hired as of 01.10.2022)

Reference-number: SClol-C4-41B

The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute for Biology, invites applications for a Postdoc position for 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: Self-Organized Criticality in Animal Collectives

Postdoctoral project: Adaptive models of self-organized critical dynamics in spatial groups 

The objective of this postdoctoral project is the development of bio-inspired multi-agent models of collective decision making. Based on experimental observations of natural fish schools, this project shall explore mechanisms for self-organized criticality, i.e. self-tuning of system parameters towards a critical point of a phase transition, where collective systems are predicted to exhibit maximal sensitivity towards environmental cues such as predator attacks. A particular question is whether and whether such collective systems are able to tune in a self-organized way their distance to criticality to navigate the robustness versus sensitivity trade-off and intelligently adapt to different environmental conditions and contexts. Corresponding adaptive multi-agent models are meant to provide a blue-print for artificial multi-agent systems (e.g. robotic swarms) with functionalities such as high-responsiveness or optimal propagation of information within the collective in appropriate context. The postdoctoral candidate is expected to closely collaborate with a second postdoc, who will investigate collective dynamics of fish schools in field and lab experiments.

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


  • completed university degree and PhD in physics, biophysics, applied mathematics, computer science, electrical engineering or similar
  • background in applied mathematics / statistical physics
  • Strong programming skills in Python, C/C++, Julia or similar
  • Simulation of (self-organized) swarm/multi-agent systems
  • Interdisciplinary background / interest in biology and computer science/engineering
  • Excellent English skills
  • Previous experience with working in collaborative research activities including multidisciplinary teams is a plus

Please include a link to your GitHub profile in the application!


Application procedure:

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

Applications should include: motivation letter, curriculum vitae, transcripts of records (for both BSc and MSc), copies of degree certificates (BSc, MSc, PhD), proof of English skills, abstracts of Bachelor-, Master- and 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.

HU is seeking to increase the proportion of women in research and teaching, and specifically encourages qualified female scholars to apply. Researchers from abroad are welcome to apply. Severely disabled applicants with equivalent qualifications will be given preferential consideration. People with an immigration background are specifically encouraged to apply.

Please visit our website, which gives you access to the legally binding German version.

Contact person: Pawel Romanczuk