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The research group "Animal Navigation" headed by Prof. Henrik Mouritsen at the Institute of Biology and Environmental Sciences, University of Oldenburg has been awarded a 6-year ERC Synergy Grant for a project entitled QuantumBirds: Radical pair-based magnetic sensing in migratory birds together with Prof. Peter Hore, University of Oxford.

Applicants are invited for a

PhD-position in Animal Behavior (m,f,d)

(65% E13 TV-L, 4 Years)

starting from the next possible date in Oldenburg, Germany.

Working in QuantumBirds brings together behavioral biology, biochemistry, and molecular biology, quantum physics and spin chemistry, in a unique, ambitious, imaginative and genuinely synergetic research programme. We are working with lab-controlled testing conditions for the behavior of migratory songbirds and aim to prove magnetic detection occurring in the birds’ retinas involves the quantum spin dynamics. You will be working in the project being in charge for the behavioral experiments, analyzing behavioral changes due to interference of the magnetic sensing mechanism., Further, the project includes histochemical and molecular biological lab work. The position is ideal, if you like to work with birds, doing behavioral experiments on an exciting question in an international and interdisciplinary group of researchers.

You would work in an international and interdisciplinary group of researchers, who regularly publish their findings in the very best scientific journals (including e.g. 7 papers in Nature since 2009).

Your Qualifications

  • Master`s degree in biology or veterinary medicine
  • Experience with behavioral experiments and enjoying to handle birds
  • Experience in animal navigation mechanisms and magnetic sensing mechanisms
  • Some experience in Molecular Biology and/or Physiology
  • Intrinsic motivation for a career in academia
  • High levels of enthusiasm, motivation and ability to work effectively as part of an interdisciplinary team
  • Having enough physical understanding and ability to independently manipulate magnetic fields
  • Fundamental understanding of Statistics and experimental planning
  • Willingness to work in unusual hours (evening and night) in the migratory season
  • Good spoken and written English

What we offer

The QuantumBirds ( project is located at the University of Oxford, UK (physical and chemical aspects) and at the University of Oldenburg, Germany (behavioral and molecular- biological, as well as biochemical aspects), and collaborates with research groups from around the world. You will be located in Oldenburg and become part of a large diverse team working closely together on related questions and will have access to a wide range of superb modern equipment, techniques and expertise. We do like to give you a good start for a possible career in academia.

Our working group is member of the DFG funded PhD program "Molecular basis of sensory biology" and of the graduate school program "Neurosensory sciences and systems", which helps you to gain soft skills. For more information about our group, see and

Family and scientific career is supported by us and the University of Oxford and the University of Oldenburg.

We and the University of Oldenburg are aware of the power of diversity. In order to increase the percentage of female faculty and staff members, female candidates with equal qualification will be given preference. Applicants with disabilities will be preferentially considered in case of equal qualification

How to apply

Your application should include a letter of motivation, a detailed CV, a publication list, names and phone numbers of at least two personal references, University and high school certificates.

Please send your application as a single pdf-file to Dr. Beate Grünberg . All applications received before the 18th of May, 2021 will be considered. 


(Stand: 30.04.2021)