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10 PhD Positions in Philosophy, University of Vienna

The University of Vienna invites applications for ten fully funded four-year PhD positions as part of the doctoral research project Forms of Normativity: Transitions and Intersections (FoNTI). Applicants will pursue their specialized research on normativity within a structured research and teaching program. Relevant subfields include – but are not limited to – epistemology, (applied and meta) ethics, political philosophy, philosophy of gender, philosophy of language, philosophy of science, philosophy of biology, philosophy of mind, philosophy of mathematics, logic, and social ontology.

Call of Applications


PhD position in parrot cognition

We seek candidates for a three year PhD position (funded by the Austrian Science Fund, FWF) at the University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna in collaboration with the ‘Science of Intelligence’ cluster of excellence (SCIoI, Technical University of Berlin;


Project Title: Innovative problem solving and tool use in a parrot


Project Location: 

Goffin Lab of the Messerli Research Institute for Human Animal Interactions


Academic Supervisors: 

Ass. Prof. Priv.-Doz. Dr. Alice Auersperg (University of Veterinary Medicine Vienna)

Prof. Dr. Oliver Brock (Technical University of Berlin)

Prof. em Dr. Alex Kacelnik, FRS (University of Oxford)


Project Description:

The Goffin's cockatoo is not a population-wide tool user and lacks traits that are usually associated to the onset of tool use in birds. Nevertheless, it shows highly adaptable extractive foraging techniques, a psychological drive to combine objects, the ability to instantly memorize profitable motor sequences and the ability to innovate and socially transmit tool use and manufacture in the lab. 

This PhD project will investigate perceptuall and cognitive mechanisms underlying Goffin’s tool-related abilities such as their perception of the relationship between the shape of the tool and that of the substrate it operates upon. We will also look at decision-making processes during tool-related problem solving. We are particularly interested in the extent to which reasoning processes such as deduction, induction or even abduction are involved.


Deadline and project start:

Please send your application before 4th of April 2021. The successful candidate can start anytime after admission is completed



-       A Master's or equivalent degree

-       A piece of previously completed research with a topic related to

        Animal Cognition/Animal Behaviour or Artificial Intelligence

-       At least some experience in testing animals 

-       Comfortable with direct contact with parrots

-       Statistical knowledge (preferably experience in General Linear Mixed Models,

        PCA, Survival Analysis etcetera.)

-       Experience with R

-       Excellent command of English (German competence is a benefit)

-       Good teamworking and communication skills


How to apply: 

Please send a motivation letter and full curriculum vitae