Behavioural Ecology in Animal Populations

Join Us

Find out about opportunities to join the group.

Edinburgh is a fantastic city to live and work in, the Univeristy is one of the world's best and, on top of that, we work with a great community of colleagues both in our Institute and across the wider Edinburgh ecosystem. Please see below for ways to join us and get in touch if you would like to know more.

Current vacancies

European shag Isle of May

Post-doctoral Researcher (2 year post)

Wildlife populations naturally experience a wide range of infections and disease. Understanding how they circulate in the environment, how they are evolving over time and how different hosts are affected is key to understanding both their impact on different animal species and their potential to spill-over into domesticated animals and humans. We are currently experiencing a major outbreak of Avian Influenza that is having a major impact both on wild birds and commercial poultry at a global scale. This is a disease caused by infection by a group of Influenza A type viruses of which water birds are the natural host. These viruses usually circulate in wild waterfowl and shorebirds with relatively little impact. However, the past year has seen a significant change in the impact of one particular subtype of avian influenza called H5N1. Mortality reports in wild birds have been highest in seabirds with over 20,000 dead birds reported over a three month period in Scotland alone. These are novel hosts that up until this point have been relatively unaffected so we currently lack information about how this disease is impacting in these novel host populations, hindering our ability to make informed decisions about any potential mitigation strategies that might be put in place or evaluate their likely success. 

We are advertising the first of two posts to start in spring 2024 on our NERC grant 'ECOFLU': Understanding the ecology of Highly Pathogenic Avian Influenza in wild bird populations.  This is a great opportunity to be part of a collaborative project between the a range of Universities and Stakeholder Organisations. It will combine interests in avian ecology, disease and modelling. Please get in touch ( if you are interested. Deadline 31st January 2024.

Masters opportunities

Very occassionally we will take on students who are interested in gaining a Masters by Research. Please get in touch directly with your CV and a short description of your research interests and how they relate to the work we are doing.

An MSc by Research is based on a research project tailored to your research interests. It lasts one year full time or two years part time. 

The project can be a shorter alternative to an MPhil or PhD, or a precursor to either - including the option of an MSc project expanding into MPhil or doctorate work as it evolves.

Funding for Master's courses is generally provided by sources external to the university - confirmation of funding is required before a place to study can be awarded. You can find out more here.

PhD opportunities

We are now taking applications for PhD studentships to start from Autumn 2024 onwards. If you are interested please email with 'PhD enquiry in the subject heading (

Here are links to specific projects but please feel free to get in touch about other possibilities that may interest you as self-proposed projects that fit with the group's interests can also be supported.

And you can read more about the doctoral training programme here

The recruitment cycle generally starts in the autumn for commencing the following year but we are happy to start a conversation about joining us at any time of year, especially if you have your own ideas and are interested in co-creating a project rather than applying for one of our advertised projects. We generally advertise projects through the E4 DTP, Eastbio and The Darwin Trust and are happy to work with CASE partners to co-develop projects where our interests overlap.

Some of our students and post-docs have written some really helpful blogs about doing a PhD which you can find here.

General information

Specific PhD projects will normally be advertised around November, with application deadlines in late December/early January, to begin studies the following October. If you have your own research ideas, within the scope of our research interests, please get in touch as early as possible to discuss potential projects.

PhD scholarships (covering a stipend and tuition fees) are available on a competitive basis for both UK and international students. In most cases, funding is for 4 years. If you are considering an external scholarship (e.g. from your home country), please get in touch as early as possible to discuss feasibility.

You can find out more at :

Further information on postgraduate research in the School of Biological Sciences

PhD funding opportunities and how to apply

Post-doctoral opportunities

Fellowship applications

If you would like to join us because you have similar research interests but would like to develop your own project,  then you could consider applying for externally funded postdoctoral fellowships to be hosted in our group. We are happy to support applications where our interests align and you would like to develop your career. Please contact us with your CV and a short description of your area of interest to discuss how to take this forward.  The process of putting together applications and getting help from our research support team can take some time so please allow plenty of time ahead of any deadline. 

Potential funding sources include: