European Research Council

Research Fellow of Ancient DNA

This job offer has expired

    University of Tartu
    Recognised Researcher (R2)
    15/10/2020 18:00 - Europe/Athens
    Estonia › Tartu
    H2020 / ERC


Duties and responsibilities

Research, development and creative activities, at least 70% of working time

  • Participation in RDC activities in frame of the project under the supervision of a professor, associate professor or senior research fellow.
  • Internationally recognised research in five years at least in the volume equivalent to that of 1.5 doctoral thesis.
  • Development of skills necessary for RDC activities, and professional development.
  • Generate 400 aDNA libraries from ancient skeletal material.
  • Perform human population genetic analyses on 400 genomes from this project as well as comparative published aDNA data.
  • Write at least one publication on the results of the population genetic analyses and contribute to group publications.

Teaching and activities related to the administration and development of teaching, up to 20% of working time

  • Teaching, using modern teaching methods and educational technology, primarily supervising students of the first and second level of higher education.
  • Professional development to enhance teaching and supervising skills.

Participation in the governance and institutional development of the university and social and public activities, up to 10% of working time

  • Participation in the work of the university’s decision-making bodies is recommended.
  • Popularisation of the specialisation.

See also job description.

Required qualifications

PhD in Archaeogenetics, Bioarchaeology, or Biological Anthropology or an equivalent qualification.

See also requirements for teaching and research staff.

Required experience

  • Ability to participate in organising RDC activities in the specialisation.
  • Internationally recognised professional research, the volume of which so far is equivalent to that of at least one doctoral thesis.
  • Experience of working in a clean room and of ancient DNA wet lab protocols including sampling, drilling, extracting, purifying DNA, building NGS libraries and target capture.
  • Experience of ancient DNA bioinformatic analysis and of current software used.
  • Have extensive experience collecting, organising, sampling, extracting DNA and building NGS aDNA libraries from teeth and bones.
  • Have extensive NGS data bioinformatic skills and be able to perform population genetic analyses through a command line interface.
  • Be able to work independently and contribute positively to the project group as well as the wider aDNA group.
  • Be able to generate and carry out the analyses needed to answer high-impact research questions.
  • Have a publication record demonstrating excellent synthesis and writing skills.

Required language skills



Starting at 01.01.2021, temporary contract to 31.12.2024.

Workload: 1,00.

Salary: 33 200.00 EUR/year (negotiable dependent on experience level). Net salary after all taxes (incl. coverage of medical insurance and pension) is 25 603.84 EUR/year. 

See also UT salary rules.

Additional info

The Institute of Genomics was formed in 2018 through a merger of the Estonian Genome Centre and the Estonian Biocentre bringing together world class expertise in medical, population and evolutionary genomics. We host the Estonian Biobank (www.biobank.ee) which has 200 000 participants and is connected to national health registries for phenotypic information. We run a brand-new ancient DNA laboratory, a core facility for DNA/RNA sequencing and genotyping and have access to a High-Performance Computing centre (www.hpc.ut.ee). We publish widely in top journals and sport a vibrant and international research community of 70 researchers and students.

This project tests alternative models of prehistoric inequality and deathways. To investigate social relations in life, it uses osteobiography, reconstructing life stories from skeletons through scientific data on identity, health, diet, mobility and kinship. To understand deathways, it employs a second new methodology, funerary taphonomy. Combining osteobiography and taphonomy allows us to connect ancient lives and deaths. Peninsular Italy provides a substantial test sequence typical of much of Europe. 400 individuals from three key periods (Neolithic, 6000-4000 BC; Final Neolithic to Early Bronze Age, 4000-1800 BC; Middle Bronze Age to Iron Age, 1800-600 BC) will be analysed for aDNA. The results will allow us to evaluate for the first time how inequality affected lives in prehistoric Europe and what role ancestors played in it.

We are looking for a motivated postdoctoral researcher with a proven track record in ancient DNA data generation and analysis to join our European Research Council funded project: ANCESTORS. How did politics and inequality work in prehistoric Europe? Traditionally, politics has been seen in terms of discrete political ranks identified through differential treatment of individual burials. But this results in classifying much of prehistory, where the dead were treated in ways which effaced individual identity, as egalitarian. The result is an artificially dichotomous history: Neolithic people had landscapes, rituals and ancestors, Bronze and Iron Age people had politics and inequality. In the last two decades this approach has been strongly critiqued and has never been tested empirically.

Estonian Biocentre, ancient DNA research group. Supervisor: Dr. Christiana Scheib

If you have any further questions, please contact: Christiana Scheib: cls83@ut.ee or Merilin Raud, 737 5063, merilin@ebc.ee or Mait Metspalu, mait@ebc.ee.

Application documents and notification of results

In order to be considered for the position, the candidate must submit to the UT Human Resources Office (email: personal@ut.ee; postal address: 18 Ülikooli St,Tartu 50090 ESTONIA; employees of the UT should submit their documents via intranet) following documents:

  1. a letter of application to the Rector,
  2. curriculum vitae in the established format,
  3. a list of research publications (if necessary, enclosing copies or offprints of more important publications),
  4. a copy of a document (including its annexes) which shows the candidate to hold the required qualification (authorized translation into Estonian, English or Russian if the credential is not in one of these languages). A candidate can be required to submit the original or a certified copy of the document (including its annexes) showing the candidate to hold the required qualification. If the candidate has acquired the higher education in question abroad, he or she may be required to submit an assessment issued by the Academic Recognition Information Centre (the Estonian ENIC/NARIC) of his or her qualification in respect of the qualification requirements for the position;
  5. other materials considered relevant by the candidate (a list of such materials must be included in the application or annexed to it).

Number of copies: 1

Notification of results: The candidate will be notified of election results within two weeks following the election. The assessments drawn up in respect of the candidate and the documents specified in paragraph 5 of the list of documents will be returned to the candidate. Unsuccessful candidates can also request the return of documents specified in paragraphs 2 -4 of the list.

See also Application documents and notification of results

Web site for additional job details


More Information

Work location(s)
1 position(s) available at
Institute of Genomics
Riia 23b/2

EURAXESS offer ID: 519266


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