Thursday, 31 August 2017

Job Opportunity at Apopo: Postdoctoral Behavioral Researcher


Organization: APOPO
Country: United Republic of Tanzania
Closing date: 15 Oct 2017
APOPO is a Belgian NGO that has developed an innovative method using African giant pouched rats, nicknamed “HeroRATs”, to detect landmines and tuberculosis using their extraordinary sense of smell. APOPO’s Head Office is based in Morogoro, Tanzania. For more information about APOPO, please check out the website at
To further advance our internal organisation, APOPO is currently seeking inquisitive and motivated Post-doctoral researchers to join our research team conducting basic and applied research with global impact relevant to the scent detection abilities of the HeroRATs.
Candidates should hold a Ph.D. in psychology, anthropology, neuroscience, biology, or other related field.
Keen attention to detail and a solid track record of original scientific research are required. Candidates with prior experience examining olfactory learning or discrimination behavior in rodents are strongly encouraged to apply.
The successful candidate will work closely with APOPO’s training and research team at our headquarters in Morogoro, Tanzania where opportunities for research related to our ongoing operations in landmine and TB detection also exist.
Key responsibilities and deliverables
  1. To assist in the design, execution, and analysis of research studies intended to further advance APOPO as a centre of excellence in animal scent detection;
  2. To assist in the publication of manuscripts describing APOPO’s research findings;
  3. To assist in presenting APOPO’s work at appropriate scientific conferences;
  4. To assist in writing and submitting proposals seeking funds to support APOPO’s research and activities;
  5. To assist in using the scientific method to develop and evaluate operational scent-detection systems of humanitarian value;
  6. To provide support to APOPO’s management and research teams;
  7. To build research and scientific capacity by training other APOPO staff members.
Doctoral degree relevant to Discrimination Learning and Scent Detection by Rats
  • 3-10 years of experience in conducting behavioral research
  • 3-10 years of experience in supervising research
  • Experience in securing funds to support research
  • Familiarity with scientific manuscript preparation and publication process
Coordinate, monitor, and support basic research projects
  • Assist with designing, executing, and supervising the relevant research, including development of SOPs and training protocols;
  • Regularly monitor, analyze, and report progress and results;
  • Actively participate in R&D meetings by engaging in discussions, which may be related to: Experimental design, trouble-shooting performance, apparatus design, data analysis, manuscript preparation, conference attendance, current literature review, etc.;
  • Identify and recommend opportunities for staff capacity building;
  • Conduct skills training seminars with assistance from management and other research team members;
  • Identify potential new and innovative applications of rat scent detection technology.
Ensure that the behavioural research described under the TB Research Plan and TB Strategy is conducted appropriately
  • Supervise and support research in TB laboratory;
  • Develop protocols and proposals to address the goals of the research plan;
  • Through collaboration with management and other research team members, provide suggestions for carrying the work forward in a competent fashion, including altering procedures from the research plan, as necessary;
  • Supervise rat session data entry and reporting via the TB database;
  • Regularly report results of ongoing research and case finding;
  • Supervise rat evaluation sessions, as needed.
Conduct research related to monitoring and improving the Mine Detection Rat (MDR) program
  • Supervise and support ongoing training at the training field;
  • Develop protocols and proposals to address new MDR needs;
  • Conduct experiments intended to improve the overall effectiveness or efficiency of the MDR program;
  • Summarize and analyze training progress including identifying any areas of concern.
Assist in publishing APOPO’s findings
  • Prepare and submit manuscripts describing any APOPO data deemed worthy of publication by the research team (e.g., TB data, mine field data, other application data);
  • Assist the CEO, Head of Training & Research, and others, as requested, in preparing summaries of APOPO’s research and progress reports for submission to agencies that have funded the research and other appropriate parties.
Assist in broadening APOPO’s scientific network by actively attending conferences
  • Identify and actively attend appropriate and diverse scientific conferences;
  • Present research in either platform or poster format;
  • Update platform presentations with research and operational results as requested by APOPO management.
Assist in writing grant proposals
  • Identify and suggest possible sources of funding;
  • Work with other members of the research team to consider the funding needs of all of APOPO’s research and development activities;
  • Assist with grant proposal preparations and submissions.
Build scientific capacity by training other APOPO staff members
  • Assist APOPO staff undergoing animal training courses;
  • Assist in HR management by providing tools ensuring proper compliance with SOP’s.
Provide support to APOPO’s management team
  • Participate in all management meetings to which you have been invited;
  • Report any new and important scientific results or research opportunities;
  • Proactively report any concerns regarding training or research activities.
APOPO is an Equal Opportunity Employer and considers applicants for all positions without regard to race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, gender identity, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability, military/veteran status or citizenship status.
Please join APOPO's dynamic international team and help us make a difference! Send your CV and motivation letter
The closing date of this position is October 15th, 2017.
Only shortlisted candidates will be contacted for an interview.
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