UK: PhD studentship in Cooperating in a dynamic social environment at University of Exeter

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Description:A PhD studentship is available (as soon as possible) funded by the Danish Research Council. The student will be based in Psychology (Streatham Campus, Exeter) at the College of Life and Environmental Sciences, University of Exeter.


Dr Safi Darden, University of Exeter

Dr Darren Croft, University of Exeter

Prof Torben Dabelsteen, University of Copenhagen

The majority of animal species live in dynamic groups where individuals regularly interact and cooperate with non-kin, this presents an evolutionary conundrum. All mechanisms proposed to underpin cooperation, including kin and group selection, are founded on some form of social viscosity generating assortment by cooperation in physical, social or phenotypic space. Co-operators can prevail because they interact with one another and through this assortment, clusters of co-operators gain higher fitness payoffs than defectors in the population. The key to solving the conundrum of cooperation lies in understanding how positive assortment of co-operators arises in animal populations, particularly in systems where cognitive abilities are limited. Using the Trinidadian guppy as a model system this PhD will work to uncover biological mechanisms underpinning social interactions among non-kin in the context of cooperation. In additional to experimental behavioural work in the lab and field, the project will include a large molecular component.

The student must have obtained, or be about to obtain, a First or Upper Second Class UK Honours degree, and/or an MSc, or the equivalent qualifications gained outside the UK, in a relevant subject. The studentship will cover a stipend and tuition fees at the UK/EU rate (currently £3,850). The value of the stipend is expected to be at least £13,726. Students who pay international tuition fees are eligible to apply, but should note that the award will only provide payment of the tuition fees (currently £17,000) plus a small contribution for living costs. Studentships will be awarded on the basis of merit and are awarded for three years of full-time study (part-time pro-rata).

Application procedures: Please upload the following documents (preferred format for uploaded files is .pdf) to the studentship application form  – Click here to apply

  • CV (including any publications)
  • Covering letter (outlining your academic interests, prior research experience and reasons for wishing to undertake this project).
  • Transcript (this should be an interim transcript if you are still studying)

If you have any general enquiries about the application process please email or phone +44 (0)1392 725150/723706/723310. Project specific queries should be directed to the supervisors named above.

The closing date for applications is midnight Thursday 19th December 2013.

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