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Exzellenzcluster Science of Intelligence (SClol)

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-C4-41A

The Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Faculty of Life Sciences, Institute of Agricultural and Horticultural Sciences,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: Criticality in animal collectives

The main objective of this proposal component is to explore whether large fish schools that are subject to intense predation show characteristics of operating in a special parameter regime, near a critical point of a phase transition, where collective systems are predicted to be particularly sensitive to environmental cues such as predator attacks in field and laboratory experiments, we will study (a) whether and in which contexts fish schools show characteristics of criticality and (b) how individual fish change their interaction dynamics with conspecifics that might enable them to self-organized towards criticality. A bottom-up understanding of criticality is a challenge because single fish only have local information and interact with local near neighbors in the school. Throughout, the postdoctoral candidate is expected to closely collaborate with a second postdoctoral candidate with a theoretical/computational background working on mathematical models of self-organized criticality. This project will included a field component of working on fish schools in Mexico and offers an opportunity to combine field observations with highly controlled laboratory 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 Biology or related fields
  • strong background in the following topics:
  • Animal behaviour
  • Lab-based experiments with large number of fish
  • Animal tracking including the analysis of high-resolution tracking-data
  • Statistical data analysis including hierarchical (mixed) modeling and multivariate analysis
  • 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: Jens Krause