Postdoctoral Researcher or Staff Scientist in Paleontology (Fishes or Early Vertebrates Preferred)

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 researcher (PhD <5 years) or staff scientist position (PhD >5 years) in paleontology is available in the new Marine Macroevolution Unit at OIST. We seek a highly motivated researcher with a deep interest in and demonstrated knowledge of the fossil record of fishes, early vertebrates, or other aquatic life, a solid track record in paleontological methods. The researcher will pursue groundbreaking projects examining the origins and evolution of marine vertebrate and other aquatic life and the influence of environment on changes in marine ecosystems.


1919‐1 Tancha, Onna‐son, Okinawa, Japan 904-0495


  1. Lead innovative projects focused on the paleontological and paleoecological interests of the Marine Macroevolution Unit.
  2. Publish results in high-quality journals.
  3. Present at national and international conferences.



  1. PhD in Paleontology, or related field with dissertation focused on fossil data, and past Biology coursework.
  2. Broad understanding of the fossil record and anatomy of at least one clade relevant to the interests of the unit.
  3. Broad interest in macroevolutionary questions.
  4. Broad knowledge of various quantitative methods in paleontology (e.g. systematics, PCM, time series).
  5. Experience using museum collections and fossil specimens.
  6. Willingness to develop knowledge about clades and events of interest to the unit but outside of past experience (e.g. fishes, early vertebrates).
  7. Willingness to learn new methods as needed.
  8. Willingness to travel to museum collections domestic and abroad.
  9. Good spoken and written English skills, including familiarity with scientific terms and concepts. Japanese is not required but classes are provided to OIST employees and their families.


  1. Expertise in fossil fishes and/or early vertebrates, as demonstrated by prior publications.
  2. Proficiency in quantitative paleontological methods (e.g. systematics, Phylogenetic Comparative Methods, geometric morphometrics, time series, PaleoENM, CT scan data, etc).
  3. Proficiency in R or other programming language.
  4. Track record of projects and publications demonstrating broad interests in field, including descriptive, systematic and macroevolutionary.

Report to 

Prof. Lauren Sallan, Marine Macroevolution Unit.

Starting Date 

As early as possible, but with flexibility.

Term & Working Hours 

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

Working hours: Discretionary working hours

Compensation & Benefits 

Compensation in accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulations


  • Relocation, housing and commuting allowances
  • Annual paid leave and summer holidays
  • Health insurance (Private School Mutual Aid )
  • Welfare pension insurance (kousei-nenkin)
  • Worker’s accident compensation insurance (roudousha-saigai-hoshou-hoken)

How To Apply 

Apply by emailing your Submission Documents to:


(Please replace [at] with @ before using this email address)

Submission Documents 

Single PDF with Title “LastName_FirstName_PositionArea” including:

  1. Cover letter including brief statements of research interests and interest in the unit (3 pages 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 third-party administrators after a conditional offer of employment.

Application Due Date 

Initial review of applications will begin on June 1, but applications will be accepted until filled.


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