University of Turku

Postdoctoral researcher in Biology

2023-12-08 (Europe/Helsinki)
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About the employer

The University of Turku has a unique, creative and inspirational work environment. Here you will work with top experts, pedagogues and researchers.

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The Faculty of Science at the University of Turku invites applications for a 3-year fixed term postdoctoral researcher position at the Department of Biology from 1.1.2024 to 31.12.2026. Employment starts on 1.1.2024 or as agreed.

We are hiring 2-3 postdoctoral researchers in an ERC-project called “KinSocieties”, led by professor Virpi Lummaa. The postdoctoral positions are funded by the EU and will be based at the University of Turku, Finland.

Job description

Family, friends, and complex social networks are important in all human societies and other group-living non-human animals. Social interactions can improve health, support and resources, but close contact with conspecifics can also increase disease exposure and stress, and lead to competition and conflict. We are looking for 2-3 postdoctoral researchers to study the benefits and costs of sociality in our two complimentary study systems: humans and Asian elephants. Both species are currently facing drastic changes in social structures due to break-down of kin networks.

The postdocs will test how translocation to new areas with or without kin, friends or the familiar social group is associated with health outcomes, reproduction and mortality risk. They will flexibly use our two longitudinal datasets on:

(1) Life events of >100,000 Karelian war evacuees displaced during WW2 due to loss of territory and resettled elsewhere either individually or with their previous entire village maintaining old social bonds

(2) Follow-up data on translocations of semi-captive Asian elephants coupled with information on their group compositions, personalities, friendships, longitudinal health records (e.g. diseases, injuries) and various endocrinological stress measures and physiological health indexes

Who we are looking for

The candidate should hold a doctorate degree in Biology or related areas, and the following specific skills:

  • Expertise in social evolution, evolutionary demography and/or health studies;
  • Experience in methodological tools of network analyses and statistical methods such as survival analyses, multivariate analyses, discrete time-event analyses and generalized linear mixed models;
  • Experience in handling and combining large and complex datasets;
  • Experience in interdisciplinary collaborations and creative thinking;
  • Experience in publishing research articles in international peer-reviewed scientific journals;
  • Fluent oral and written communication skills in English.

We value equality and diversity in our work community and encourage qualified applicants, regardless of background, to apply for our open positions.

Desirable qualifications

We seek a highly motivated, enthusiastic and hard-working candidate with passion to learn more. The applicant must show good interpersonal skills and be willing to work in close collaboration with the project PI and other members of the international and interdisciplinary project team, as well as have the ability to work independently.


We offer you responsible and interesting tasks and the opportunity to develop your professional skills in a versatile operating environment. You get a professional and inspiring team to support your work. We take care of your well-being at work and the functionality of your everyday life, e.g. with the help of flexible working hours and our well-being services.

Please read more about University of Turku as an employee from our Come work with us! pages.

The European Commission has awarded the University of Turku the right to use the HR Excellence in Research logo. The logo is a token of the University's commitment to continuous development of the position and working conditions of researchers according to the guidelines set forth in the European Charter for Researchers. 

The university offers good support and orientation for international hires. Please learn more about the Finnish culture and relocation to Finland:

Salary and trial period

The salary for the position is determined in accordance with the university salary system for research personnel. For the postdoctoral researcher salary follows the levels 5-6 of teaching and research staff (3150,54 - 3673,96 EUR/month). In addition, a personal work performance component will be paid. The personal work performance component is 6-50% of the task specific salary component. All standard pension benefits and occupational health care are provided for university employees.

The salary will be commensurate with qualifications and experience based on the University salary system and will in the beginning of the employment be approximately 3600 - 4000 €/month.

The position has a trial period of six months

How to apply

Please submit your application through our online recruitment system. The closing date for applications is Friday 8.12.2023 at 16.00 (EEST GMT+3 / at 13:00 UTC).

Please write your application and accompanying documents in English. 

Applicants should enclose with their application:

  • motivation letter, including statement of motivation, summarizing scientific work and research interest
  • CV, including education, positions, professional experience, names and contact details of two academic referees
  • list of publications
  • degree certificate(s) 
  • other documents that may influence the filling of the position (attach to other attachment)

Further information

For further information about the position, please contact: professor Virpi Lummaa, virpi.lummaa(at)

With questions about the application process, please contact: HR-specialist Kaisa Ketomäki, kaiketom(at)

Department of Biology

In the Department of Biology, we explore life and biological evolution in a range of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Empirical experimentation in the field and laboratory is widely applied when digging into the structure and function of individuals, populations, communities and ecosystems. The Department of Biology is one of the scientifically most productive units of the University and successfully educates experts at all degree levels. It also harbors the Center of Evolutionary Applications that supports academic research and provides molecular genetic analyses for conservation needs outside the University.

The University of Turku is an inspiring and international academic community of 25,000 students and staff in Southwest Finland. We build a sustainable future with multidisciplinary research, education, and collaboration. With us, your work will have a significant impact and relevance in the changing world.

See our open vacancies

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Job details

Postdoctoral researcher in Biology
Vesilinnantie 5 Turku, Finland
Application deadline
2023-12-08 16:00 (Europe/Helsinki)
2023-12-08 15:00 (CET)
Job type
Save job

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About the employer

The University of Turku has a unique, creative and inspirational work environment. Here you will work with top experts, pedagogues and researchers.

Visit the employer page

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