Postdoctoral Scholar or Staff Scientist in Systematics and Phylogenetic Comparative Methods

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) in macroevolution and phylogenetic comparative methods is available in the new Marine Macroevolution Unit at OIST. We seek a highly motivated, expert researcher with a track record of excellence and deep interest in phylogenetics, including the use of morphological and molecular data, application of Bayesian models, and the use of phylogenetic comparative methods. The researcher will pursue groundbreaking projects on the systematics of living and fossil fishes, the role of trait changes and environmental shifts in diversification, and the reconstruction of ancestral states and evolutionary rates, as well as pursue model development.


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


  1. Lead and assist with innovative projects focused on the macroevolutionary and systematics interests of the Marine Macroevolution Unit.
  2. Lead development and implementation of phylogenetic analyses and phylogenetic comparative methods using fossil and living groups.
  3. Publish results in high-quality journals.
  4. Present at national and international conferences.



  1. PhD in Systematics, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Organismal Biology or related field with dissertation focused on phylogenetic comparative methods.
  2. Deep experience and understanding of systematics and current phylogenetic comparative methods.
  3. Interest in macroevolutionary phenomena (e.g. diversification dynamics, evolutionary rates, ancestral trait inference).
  4. Proficiency in evolutionary model development and implementation in R or other programming language.
  5. Proficiency in Bayesian phylogenetic inference using different models and molecular and morphological data.
  6. Proficiency in phylogenetic dating approaches.
  7. Willingness to develop knowledge about areas and clades of interest to the unit if outside of past experience (e.g. fossil fishes).
  8. Willingness to learn new methods as needed.
  9. Willingness to collaborate with other relevant labs at OIST and outside.
  10. 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. Track record of PCM package development, as documented by publications, github or CRAN.
  2. Track record of work incorporating fossil data, morphological data, and/or nonultrametric trees.
  3. Familiarity with the evolution and ecology of fishes, as documented by prior work.
  4. Proficiency in obtaining and processing genomic data as needed.
  5. Track record of publications demonstrating broad interests in systematics, phylogenetic comparative methods and macroevolution.

Report to 

Prof. Lauren Sallan, Marine Macroevolution Unit.

Starting Date 


Term & Working Hours 

Full-time. A postdoctoral position (PhD<5 years) is initially for one year and can be extended 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: 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.


  • 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.
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Job Description PDF