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ATTENTION: This job expired Jun. 1, 2016 and is no longer linked from the job list. If you are the job poster and would like to renew the listing, please access it through "My Job Listings" (available when logged in only).

Volunteer Research Assistant

Hiring Organization:
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology

Date Posted:

Position Description:
The position is for a research assistant to fill a one-year position starting in June 2016 (I might hire a second person to start in October 2016,also for a one year position). The position in Bwindi Impenetrable National Park, Uganda primarily consists of data collection on habituated mountain gorillas, data entry, assisting other project members, and various other logistical tasks to keep the project running. It also involves conservation education activities with three local primary schools. The person needs to be able to work independently and responsibly. The assistant cannot conduct an independent research project, but depending on the person’s interests and abilities, there is the possibility for collaborative research in the future. We currently collect behavioral and ecological data on three groups of gorillas. The project has been running since 1998. The main topics of research are: the influence of ecology on social relationships,ontogeny of social relationships, reproductive strategies, and feeding ecology.
Please look on the website for more information of ongoing research.
The terrain in Bwindi consists of endless series of steep-sided hills with very dense understory growth at an altitude of 2000-2700m. It is not an easy place for hiking. The assistant is expected to spend a minimum of 20 days per month making observations on the gorillas. We usually stay with the gorillas for only 4 hours per day, so the typical working day is from 8 am until 2-4 pm, depending on how far away the gorillas are. We work rain or shine.
Living conditions are basic. The field site is located about 2 hours drive from the nearest major town (Kabale), but there is a village on the edge of the forest and many people live nearby. There is a research institute (Institute for Tropical Forest Conservation - ITFC) at Ruhija where the assistant would be based. Accommodation consists of shared housing (with anywhere from 1-5 researchers from Uganda and other places), with no running water, and the only electricity source is solar power. sometimes it is necessary to camp to more easily locate the gorillas. We use 3 camps located about 1-3 hours hike away from
ITFC. These camps are very basic – all the cooking is done over a fire, no running water, no electricity. Most of the time, the assistant will be camping with 4-5 Ugandan field assistants (all men). We can easily buy fresh fruits and vegetables from the nearby town and villages, but the diet largely consists of beans and a variety of starches.

-Must have completed a Bachelors degree, preferably in biology, anthropology, or related field.
-Must have some field experience, preferably in Africa.
-Experience with data collection and data entry, preferably with a behavioral research project.
-Must be able to live and work independently and as part of a multicultural team.
-Must be fluent in English
-Should be in excellent physical condition.

150 euros per month to cover living expenses.

Support provided for internship/volunteer positions (travel, meals, lodging):
-Housing is provided (as well as camping gear and all
equipment for the project).
-One round-trip airfare to Uganda, as long as the assistant completes the one-year position.
-Basic health insurance will be provided.

Term of Appointment:
approximately June 2016 - June 2017 (one year committment necessary for payment of airfare); I may also hire another person to start in October 2016.

Application Deadline:
April 15, 2016

Interested candidates should send a cover letter explaining why they are qualified for the position, similar experience, and their career aspirations. Also send a CV and a list of 3 people that can be contacted via email as references. Please only apply via email. Please do not send repeated inquiries. Applications will be considered as they arrive, so it is advantageous to not wait until the deadline to apply.

Contact Information:
Martha Robbins
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology
Leipzig 04013

Telephone Number:
+49 341 3550 210

Fax Number:
+49 341 3550 119


E-mail Address:

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