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1. Research Fellow – AR2012SB

University of St Andrews – School of Psychology & Neuroscience

Start: 1 February 2018 or as soon as possible thereafter.
Fixed term for 3 years.

Applications are invited for the position of full time Post-doctoral Research Fellow within the Mechanisms of Behaviour (MoB) research group based at the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, to work with Dr Karen Spencer and Dr Pralle Kriengwatana (University of Glasgow) on a BBSRC funded project entitled “Laboratory soundscapes: optimising acoustic environments for avian welfare”. The post holder will be responsible for organising and carrying out a range of techniques, including behavioural tests (e.g. preference tests and cognitive tests using operant techniques), collecting biological samples and analysing physiological parameters (e.g. hormone levels, immune function).  This is an exciting opportunity to join a vibrant and active research group and to undertake high quality research at an internationally-renowned institution.

This project will address 3 important questions 1) how can we create ecologically relevant enriched acoustic environments for captive birds? 2) How does long-term exposure to enriched soundscapes affect welfare indicators? and finally 3) can using these soundscapes refine behavioural testing, resulting in a reduction in animal usage? The research team will gather longitudinal data on behavioural (e.g. breeding success, neophobia, anxiety) and physiological (e.g. immune function, hormone levels, oxidative stress) responses of zebra finches that experience differential exposure to enriched soundscapes during both adulthood and development. Importantly the team will utilise preference tests at the start of the grant to determine which sounds are preferred by zebra finches in order to design appropriate enriched soundscapes. Finally the team will use birds from two generations to determine the effectiveness of our soundscapes on performance in behavioural tasks, probing associative and spatial learning.

The successful candidate will have a PhD in a relevant area, have extensive experience of running behavioural experiments, including using operant techniques, have an in-depth understanding of avian acoustics and have some experience of analysing physiological samples. This position also requires excellent interpersonal and organisational skills and the ability to train and supervise junior team members.

The post is fixed term for 3 years starting 1 February 2018.

Informal enquiries are strongly encouraged and can be made to Dr Karen Spencer (karen.spencer@st-andrews.ac.uk).

The University of St Andrews is committed to promoting equality of opportunity for all, which is further demonstrated through its working on the Gender and Race Equality Charters and being awarded the Athena SWAN award for women in science, HR Excellence in Research Award and the LGBT Charter;  http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/hr/edi/diversityawards/.

2. Research Assistant – AR2010HM

University of St Andrews – School of Psychology and Neuroscience

Start Date: 1 February 2018, Fixed Term for 3 years.

Applications are invited for the position of Research Assistant within the Mechanisms of Behaviour (MoB) research group based at the School of Psychology and Neuroscience, to work with Dr Karen Spencer and Dr Pralle Kriengwatana (University of Glasgow) on a BBSRC funded project entitled “Laboratory soundscapes: optimising acoustic environments for avian welfare”.  The post holder will be responsible for assisting the project team (including a dedicated postdoctoral researcher) with a range of tasks, including behavioural tests (e.g. preference tests), collecting biological samples and analysing physiological parameters (e.g. hormone levels, immune function). This is an exciting opportunity to join a new project and be part of a vibrant and active research group.

This project will address 3 important questions 1) how can we create ecologically relevant enriched acoustic environments for captive birds? 2) How does long-term exposure to enriched soundscapes affect welfare indicators? And finally 3) can using these soundscapes refine behavioural testing, resulting in a reduction in animal usage? The RA will assist with all aspects of the project and be able to gain experience in a range of techniques. The successful candidate will have a BSc (or equivalent) or Master’s degree in a relevant area, have experience of running behavioural experiments and be proficient in analysing physiological samples. This position also requires excellent interpersonal and organisational skills and the ability to train and supervise junior team members.

This post is fixed term for 3 years, starting 1 February 2018.

Informal enquiries are strongly encouraged and can be made to Dr Karen Spencer (karen.spencer@st-andrews.ac.uk).

The University is committed to equality for all, demonstrated through our working on diversity awards (ECU Athena SWAN/Race Charters; Carer Positive; LGBT Charter; and Stonewall).  More details can be found at http://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/hr/edi/diversityawards/.

This role does not meet the minimum requirements set by the UKVI to enable sponsorship of migrant workers. Further information can be found at https://www.st-andrews.ac.uk/staff/policy/immigration/.

 

 

 

PhD projects available within the Mechanisms of Behaviour group at the University of St Andrews.

Below are a few PhD projects that we are looking to fill for the 2017 entry.  The type of funding and information about competitions is listed under each project.

Anyone interested should first contact me about application procedures: karen.spencer@st-andrews.ac.uk. Potential applicants can also email me if they are interested in these general areas too. I am happy to chat about other possible projects.

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