Postdoctoral Scholar or Staff Scientist /Macroevolution Unit

The position

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST; see is a dynamic new graduate university of science and technology in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The university is located on 85 hectares of protected forestland overlooking beautiful shoreline and coral reefs. The campus is striking architecturally, and the facilities are outstanding (OIST campus video tour). There are no academic departments, which facilitates multidisciplinary research. Outstanding resources and equipment are provided and managed to encourage easy access and collaboration. English is the official language of the University, and the university research community is fully international, with more than 50 countries represented. OIST is rapidly gaining recognition in the worldwide academic community as a model for excellence in education and research.

Position summary:

A postdoctoral scholar (PhD <5 years) or staff scientist position (PhD >5 years) is available in the Macroevolution Unit at OIST. We seek a highly motivated and creative researcher with a background in macroevolution (e.g. phylogenetics, evolutionary processes, organismal biology, and/or paleontology) and a deep interest in reconstructing the evolution of vertebrate life and biodiversity dynamics (extinction, diversification, innovation), and a desire to develop their own projects. The researcher will pursue novel work involving data and methods such as phylogenetic comparative methods, trait analysis, and/or fossil record occurrences.

This position is open to both paleontologists and researchers working on living groups, models, and molecular data, with a preference for those interested in fishes or other aquatic life. Exact projects will be developed through discussions with PI Sallan based on the skills, interests, and ideas of the selected researcher.

*The start date is negotiable. Promising senior graduate students and postdocs with time remaining in their current positions are encouraged to apply.

  1. Develop and lead innovative projects related to the interests of the Macroevolution Unit.
  2. Publish results in high-quality journals.
  3. Present at national and international conferences.


  1. PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Paleontology, Organismal Biology or related field with dissertation focused on macroevolutionary or biodiversity questions.
  2. Experience and interest in macroevolutionary phenomena (e.g. diversification dynamics, evolutionary rates, trait origins, global events).
  3. Willingness to develop knowledge about areas and clades of interest to the unit if outside of past experience (e.g. fishes).
  4. Willingness to learn new methods as needed.
  5. Willingness to travel to museum collections as needed.
  6. Willingness to collaborate with other relevant labs at OIST and outside.
  7. Good spoken and written English skills, including for scientific terms and concepts. Japanese is not required but classes are provided to OIST employees and their families.


  1. Familiarity with the evolution and ecology of fishes, as documented by prior work.
  2. Proficiency in fossil work, phylogenetic comparative methods, and/or obtaining and processing molecular data as needed.
  3. Track record of work demonstrating a broad interest in macroevolution.
Compensation and Benefits

In accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulations


Submission Documents

Single PDF with Title “LastName_FirstName_PositionArea” including:

  1. Cover letter including brief statements of research interests and interest in the unit (3pages max).
  2. List of top three representative publications (or manuscripts in prep) with one paragraph summary of key findings and scientific value for each.
  3. Contact information for 3 recommendations (will be contacted after first evaluation)
  4. Full CV including publication list

* Prior to the start of employment all new hires are required to successfully complete a background check. Personal information including employment history and academic background should be submitted to OIST after a conditional offer of employment.

  • OIST Graduate University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, students and staff. The University strongly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.
  • Information provided by applicants or references will be kept confidential, documents will not be returned. All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications.
  • Please view OIST policy for rules on external professional activities
  • Further details about the University can be viewed on the OIST website
Job Type
Starting Date
01 March 2024
Employment Term

Full-time. A postdoctoral position (PhD<5 years) is initially for one year and can be renewed to 2 more years based on performance and mutual agreement. A staff scientist position (PhD>5 years) is initially for one year and can be extended further based on performance and mutual agreement.

Working Hours

9:00-17:30 (Discretionary)


Report To
Prof. Lauren Sallan, Macroevolution Unit.
Job Location
Main Campus: 1919-1 Tancha, Onna-son, Kunigami-gun, Okinawa
Application Due Date
Applications will be accepted until all positions are filled.
*Application will be closed once the position is filled.

We thank all those who apply but only those selected for further consideration will be contacted.

If you have any question, please contact us