The Acoustic Research Institute of the Austrian Academy of Sciences

is currently offering a

PhD position: Musicality and Bioacoustics in humans and budgerigars

The Acoustics Research Institute (ARI) is an interdisciplinary research institution of the Austrian Academy of Sciences. Researchers at the institute produce top-level research in psychoacoustics and experimental audiology; acoustics phonetics; physical and computational acoustics; and mathematics and signal processing. Close interaction of the working groups allows innovative research approaches through the synergistic effects of multidisciplinary research. The ARI employs ~40 academic, technical and administrative staff.

The Institute is currently building a new research group led by Dr. Marisa Hoeschele called “Musicality and Bioacoustics”. The goal of this group is to study the biology of music.

Music is found even in the most isolated human cultures and plays a role in every human’s life. Though there are differences in how music takes shape across cultures, all musical systems are founded in the same core human abilities. These core abilities, known as musicality, are part of human biology and are the focus of this group.

This project involves comparing humans to budgerigars (Melopsittacus undulatus), a small parrot species, that has many parallels to humans in terms of musicality, such as the ability to learn new vocalizations and being able to track and move to a beat.

We are looking for a highly motivated PhD student to conduct behavioural experiments of musicality and perform acoustic analyses with humans and budgerigars.

The focus of the PhD thesis will be negotiated depending on the candidate’s specific interests and/or skills. However, priority will be given to applicants with previous experience conducting behavioural experiments with animals, experiments in music cognition, and/or bioacoustics or other related areas of research. As the project is highly interdisciplinary, we do not expect candidates to have experience in all related fields. This position is part-time 75% (30 h/week). The gross salary is EUR 29,196.30 per year (before taxes, 14 payments a year) according to the academy’s collective agreement. The position has a preliminary period of 1 ½ years. An extension for an additional 2 ½ years is planned if the candidate fulfils the expectations.

The applicant will be part of two distinct research environments:

  • The Acoustics Research Institute at the Austrian Academy of Sciences with experts in acoustic research from different backgrounds such as mathematics, computer science, and linguistics. The applicant will be employed here. This will be his/her main affiliation. -
  • The Department of Cognitive Biology at the University of Vienna where the budgerigars are housed. This department also conducts comparative behavioural studies on many other species including dogs, wolves, marmoset monkeys, frogs, pigs, and many other avian species including ravens, magpies, pigeons, doves, and kea.

Further information about these research environments:


Austrian Academy of Sciences
Acoustics Research Institute
Dr. Marisa Hoeschele
Wohllebengasse 12–14/1st floor
1040 Vienna, Austria
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please send a CV, master certificate (taken courses and grades), and short (1 page) motivation letter

Deadline: November 7, 2018

Expected starting date: December 1,, 2018

The OeAW is an equal opportunity employer. In cases where two applicants have the same level of qualification, females or members of an under-represented social group will be ranked higher.