45,000 students and 8,000 employees in teaching, research and administration, all working together to shape perspectives for the future – that is the University of Münster (WWU). Embedded in the vibrant atmosphere of Münster with its high standard of living, the University’s diverse research profile and attractive study programmes draw students and researchers throughout Germany and from around the world.

The Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity at the University of Münster, Germany, is seeking to fill the position of a

Postdoctoral Research Associate
Wissenschaftliche/r Mitarbeiter/in
(salary level TV-L E 13, 100%)

from the earliest possible date. The position is within the externally funded project SFB/TRR 212. We are offering a fixed-term full-time position until 31 December 2025 corresponding to the duration of the project.

Your tasks:
The position is part of the Collaborative Research Centre (SFB/TRR 212) entitled: A Novel Synthesis of Individualisation across Behaviour, Ecology and Evolution: Niche Choice, Niche Conformance, Niche Construction (NC3), by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

This project focuses on individualised niches in the red flour beetle Tribolium castaneum, an upcoming and genetically tractable insect model species. Flour beetles modify the microbial community of their environment (the flour), which is mediated by chemical secretions from the beetles. The successful candidate will be involved in an ongoing project that aims to experimentally study, if and how the processes of niche construction and evolutionary capacitance facilitate evolutionary adaptation. It involves testing the hypotheses that (1) chemical communication via CHC profiles provides the basis for the transfer of individual experience into a group of beetles; (2) epigenetic processes contribute to the rapid adaptation facilitated by niche construction and evolutionary capacitance; and (3) rapid adaptation to new temporal niches is facilitated by evolutionary capacitance.

The successful candidate will draw on an ongoing experimental evolution study and existing beetle lines to identify the genetic and epigenetic underpinnings of evolved phenotypes, and study the chemical ecology of beetle communication and biological rhythms of beetles in relation to cryptic genetic variation that may facilitate temporal niche adaptation.

Our expectations:
The successful candidate will be a highly motivated scientist, interested in interdisciplinary work. They will have a doctoral degree (or a comparable qualification) in biology, preferentially with a focus on evolution, behaviour, ecology, genomics or related fields. They will also have a background, and ideally some postdoctoral experience, in at least one of the following areas: practical insect work, molecular skills, genomics and bioinformatics, as well as a good understanding of statistics. They will also have excellent communication skills and be able to work both independently and as part of a multidisciplinary team. The working language of the Institute and the lab is English, and good proficiency in spoken and written English is a requirement. German language skills are not a requirement, but a willingness to learn is desirable.

Advantages for you:
The Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity provides a stimulating research environment with a number of scientific groups researching diverse topics centred on different aspects of evolution. As a part of the Collaborative Research Centre SFB/TRR 212 (, the project will involve intensive collaboration with consortium partners at the Universities of Münster and Bielefeld.

The University of Münster is an equal opportunity employer and is committed to increasing the proportion of women academics. Consequently, we actively encourage applications by women. Female candidates with equivalent qualifications and academic achievements will be preferentially considered within the framework of the legal possibilities.

The University of Münster is committed to employing more staff with disabilities. Candidates with recognised severe disabilities who have equivalent qualifications are given preference in hiring decisions.

Positions can generally be filled as part-time positions if there are no compelling work-related reasons against doing so.

Are you interested? Then we look forward to receiving your application, written in English, in one single pdf file, by 13 January 2022. Applications should be sent to Prof Joachim Kurtz at: Please note that we cannot consider other file formats. Applications should include 1) a cover letter with a statement of research interests and motivation (max. 1 page), 2) a CV including details about research experience and publications, and 3) contact details for at least two referees.