Director of the Museum and Institute of Zoology of the Polish Academy of Sciences announces a competition for a PhD student

INSTITUTION Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences

CITY Warsaw, Poland

POSITION PhD student


POSTED         19.06.2020

EXPIRES        31.07.2020


KEY WORDS    phylogenetics, Staphylinidae, genomics, morphology, evolutionary  biology

DESCRIPTION (field, expectations, comments):

The research group led by Dr Dagmara Żyła at the Museum and Institute of Zoology, Polish Academy of Sciences (MIZ, PAS) is looking for candidates for a PhD position. The PhD project is part of the larger project entitled: „The Impact of the Paleocene-Eocene Thermal Maximum on diversification dynamics in Paederinae rove beetles” funded by the Polish National Science Centre. The main goal of this larger project is to investigate the evolutionary response of Paederinae predatory beetles to the most rapid and significant climatic warming event in Cenozoic. To do so, a set of innovative methods, such as machine learning for species identification, Next Generation Sequencing, and Bayesian statistical phylogenetics will be combined with modern approaches in insect systematics.


The PhD project is entitled: “Phylogenetic relationships and evolution of Paederinae rove beetles (Staphylinidae) based on genomic and morphological data” and will be primarily focused on the phylogeny of Paederinae with some flexibility in joining other parts of the larger project, depending on the student’s interests, abilities, and performance. The main aim of the PhD project will be to build the first large-scale phylogeny of Paederinae rove beetles based on Ultraconserved Elements (UCEs) and morphological data of extinct and extant species. This will be the first genus-level phylogeny using genomic data in the whole family Staphylinidae and will allow introducing the group to macroevolutionary research.

The project will also give the opportunity to attend several field trips (e.g. to South America) and international conferences (e.g. Evolution Meeting) as well as to visit museum collections.


Scope of work

– performing laboratory work, i.e. DNA extractions, library preparation, enrichment with UCE baits, sequencing

– processing and preparing raw sequences for the phylogenomic analysis

– participating in morphological data matrix preparation

– participating in data analysis and interpretation of the results

– writing publications with other members of the team

– presentation and dissemination of the obtained results in the form of conference talks and scientific papers

– participation in lectures and other activities required by the PhD School



– MSc degree in biological sciences or a related area, awarded or to be awarded before October 2020

– experience with working on rove beetles or interest in learning the group to the extent that would allow interpretation of the results

– experience in following molecular lab protocols or willingness and ability to learn this in a reasonable time

– theoretical knowledge on phylogenetics and evolutionary biology

– experience in bioinformatics and/or phylogenetics is an advantage

– fluency in English (at least B2 level)

– enthusiasm for science

– communication and organizational skills

– creativity, high motivation and ability to work alone and in a team

Conditions of employment and study:


The PhD student will be based in the Museum and Institute of Zoology in Warsaw. The fellowship starts on 1.10.2020 (if the epidemic situation allows) and is expected to be completed with the thesis submission within 3 years.


A tax-free stipend is available for the PhD student in the amount of 5000 PLN (~ 1100 EUR) per month. This is sufficient to cover the life expenses of a single person and assures a good standard of living in Poland.


The successful candidate will be required to enroll in the BioPlanet Doctoral School of the Polish Academy of Sciences The School does not charge tuition fees and provides classes for PhD students. All classes are in English.


Research environment 

The research at MIZ is focused on a broad range of themes in animal biology, including systematics, biogeography, evolutionary biology, ecology and population genetics. Dagmara Żyła’s research group will be part of the Department of Systematics, Zoogeography and Ecology of Invertebrates led by Prof. K. Wioletta Tomaszewska focused on insect systematics, taxonomy, evolution and phylogeny. MIZ laboratories contain modern equipment for genomic analyses, including the Illumina MiSeq System, as well as tools for studying morphology, like SEM and micro-CT. The Museum’s zoological collection is among the largest and most valuable in Europe. The institute and PhD School offers an international working atmosphere with a multicultural PhD student community.


Application process

The deadline for submitting the application is 31.07.2020 11:59 pm GMT+2.

The application must be in English. Please submit the documents as one PDF file named with your surname to with the email subject “Application for a PhD position”.

The file must include:


  1. A copy of your MSc degree certificate (or a document confirming your enrollment in a MSc programme together with a letter from the MSc supervisor stating the expected completion date)


  1. Cover letter (max. 1 page)


  1. CV including the list of publications and/or manuscripts in preparation, with the following statement provided at the end:

“I give my consent to the processing of personal data provided in my application documents by the Museum and Institute of Zoology PAS for the purpose of the recruitment process, pursuant to the Personal Data Protection Act of 10 May 2018 (Journal of Laws 2018, item 1000) and in agreement with Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the protection of natural persons with regard to the processing of personal data and on the free movement of such data, and repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data Protection Regulation; L 119 from 04.05.2016)”.


Important: Applications that do not include this statement will not be considered.


  1. Contact details of two persons who could provide references.


The candidates will be assessed based on the information in the submitted documents. The shortlisted candidates will be invited for a Skype interview and the results are expected in mid-August 2020. The selected candidate will be requested to submit the application to the Doctoral School and attend an interview (via Skype or in person) shortly after the final results.


All interested candidates, irrespective of age, gender, race, disability, religion or ethnic background are encouraged to apply.


According to the National Science Centre (NCN) guidelines, the scholarship commission will take into account three criteria, i.e.:

1) candidate’s scientific achievements, including publications in scientific journals (50% of the final grade);

2) achievements resulting from conducting scientific research, scholarships, awards and scientific experience gained in the country or abroad, workshops and scientific training, and participation in research projects (20% of the final grade);

3) ability to carry out specific tasks in the research project (30% of the final grade).


The competition may be extended until a suitable candidate is found.


Additional information:

Warsaw is the capital and largest city of Poland and the 7th most populous capital city in the European Union. It is a significant cultural, political, academic, and economic hub and a major international tourist destination. Warsaw is a diverse city with lots of activities available and a thriving art and restaurant scene. You can read more here:,


The PhD student will be based in one of the institutes of the Polish Academy of Sciences, which is a Polish state-sponsored network of research institutes of higher education.