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Cluster of Excellence Science of Intelligence 

Reference number: SCIoI-C5-52

starting at 01/06/23; limited for 2 years and 6 months;  applications deadline 24/11/22; salary grade E 13 TV-L

The Humboldt University 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.

Excellence Cluster Science of Intelligence (SCIoI)

Reference number: SCIoI-C5-52 (starting from 01/06/23 / for 30 months (2 years and 6 month) / closing date for applications 24/11/22)

Working field

Project: Evolution of collective cognition in response to novel selection pressures – how individual-level adaptations shape group-level outcomes

Postdoctoral project: Evolution of collective cognition in response to size-selection in experimentally harvested zebrafish populations

The experimental postdoctoral researcher will conduct behavioural and neurophysiological studies using zebrafish as the experimental model system. The experimental model are zebrafish selection lines that were produced through selection for large, small or random body-size for five generations and are reared and maintained at IGB Berlin ( in the IFishMan lab ( Using fish from these selection lines, the postdoc will measure associative, reversal and inhibitory learning abilities in a variety of assays to test for individual and collective cognition, and will conduct experiments to test the consequences of altered collective intelligence in survival. The postdoc will also conduct neurobiological assays in collaboration with other scientists to measure different parameters of gross brain anatomy like neuronal and non-neuronal cell count and density and brain size and density. All analysis will follow a comparative experiment of experimental evolution, where inferences are drawn by comparing selection lines against controls. Experiments will be informed by outputs from agent-based models developed by a previous post-doc of the IFishMan lab (Sbragaglia et al. 2022, American Naturalist).

The experimental work will happen in close collaboration with a second Postdoc that will develop agent based models.

Responsibilities include scientific research within the project and academic services in the Cluster. The postdoc positions requires participation in research colloquia, lecture series and workshops, as well as an active engagement in the Cluster's research activities and close collaboration with a second theoretical postdoc hired in the same project.


Applicants must hold a PhD degree in Biology or a related field and should have proven skills/background in following topics:

·       Conducting behavioural experiments and cognitive assays, preferably in fish, and scoring, visualizing and analyzing behavioural data, including fish husbandry                                                                                

·       Very good statistical skillset in languages/software such as R, Statistica, SPSS, STATA, Python

·       Publication record in the topic of search    

·       Laboratory experience in neurohistology (like brain dissection and estimation of cell count and density) is an advantage

·       Fluency in English for oral and written communication is required.

·       Team orientation as well as independence in scholarship


Previous experience with working in collaborative research activities including multidisciplinary teams is a plus, and a strong interest in interdisciplinary research at the interface of biology, physics, and computer science is expected.

Application procedure:

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

Applications (in one combined PDF) should include: a max. 1 page cover letter, a max. 2 page motivation letter, curriculum vitae, list of publications and one selected manuscript, copies of degree certificates (PhD), two names of qualified persons who are willing to provide references, and any documents candidates feel may help us assess their competence.


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