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  The evolutionary roots of overcoming the tragedy of commons: An investigation of social strategies in chimpanzees


   Department of Psychology

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  Dr Esther Herrmann, Dr Juliane Kaminski, Dr Rebecca Koomen  Applications accepted all year round  Self-Funded PhD Students Only

About the Project

Applications are invited for a self-funded, 3-year full-time or 6-year part time PhD project.

The PhD will be based in the Faculty of Sciences and Health, and will be supervised by Dr Esther Herrmann, Dr Juliane Kaminski and Dr Rebecca Koomen (University of Dundee). 

The work on this project could involve:

●  Examine behavioural strategies of chimpanzees in a common pool resource dilemma.

● Design new experimental paradigms to investigate whether chimpanzee groups can sustain a resource.

● Research field trips to East African countries.

Project description

Competition over common-pool resources (CPR) is a ubiquitous challenge for social animals. Many species face similar dilemmas, yet our understanding of the evolutionary trajectory of CPR social strategies is very limited. This project will investigate the behavioural strategies of chimpanzees, one of our closest living relatives, in a series of CPR dilemmas. The research will investigate chimpanzee behaviour, not only in dyadic but also in group-wide interactions. It will further expand to cross-group comparisons, allowing for a more comprehensive analysis of how social dynamics and social climate structure behaviour in CPR dilemmas.

General admissions criteria

You'll need a good first degree from an internationally recognised university (minimum upper second class or equivalent, depending on your chosen course) or a Master’s degree in an appropriate subject. In exceptional cases, we may consider equivalent professional experience and/or qualifications. English language proficiency at a minimum of IELTS band 6.5 with no component score below 6.0.

Specific candidate requirements 

Applicants should have experience in experimental research with primates.

You should have excellent writing skills, be competent in quantitative methods of data analysis and good interpersonal skills for engaging and communicating with non-academic partners in East Africa.

How to Apply

We’d encourage you to contact Dr Esther Herrmann ([Email Address Removed]) to discuss your interest before you apply, quoting the project code.

When you are ready to apply, please follow the 'Apply now' link on the Psychology PhD subject area page and select the link for the relevant intake. Make sure you submit a personal statement, proof of your degrees and grades, details of two referees, proof of your English language proficiency and an up-to-date CV. Our ‘How to Apply’ page offers further guidance on the PhD application process. 

When applying please quote project code: PSYC5101023


Psychology (31)

Funding Notes

Self-funded PhD students only.
PhD full-time and part-time courses are eligible for the UK Government Doctoral Loan (UK students only).