Applications are invited for multiple Ph.D. and postdoc positions in an ERC-funded interdisciplinary research project on the Neolithic Transition in Southwest Asia.

We seek applicants with backgrounds in molecular biology, population genetics, anthropology, archaeology, and computer science.

The work will be conducted at METU, Ankara, in collaboration with Hacettepe University, and major Neolithic excavations in the region, including Çatalhöyük and Aşıklıhöyük.


The successful applicants will join the 5-year research project “NEOGENE: Archaeogenomic analysis of genetic and cultural interactions in Neolithic Anatolian societies”, supported by a European Research Council Consolidator Grant.

Using state-of-the-art ancient genomics and modeling approaches, NEOGENE aims to shed fresh light on a most dramatic transition period in prehistory: the emergence of sedentism and farming 10,000 years ago in Anatolia. The project involves constructing genetic kinship networks in Neolithic villages, mapping inter-regional patterns of gene flow, describing the evolution and dispersal of domestic sheep, and joint modeling of material culture exchange and demic processes that drove the Neolithic Transition across West Eurasia.


The successful candidates will be working in one of the following fields:

  • Ancient DNA: Researchers with PhD or MSc degrees in biology or a related field, to conduct wet lab experiments, including experimental protocol development for DNA extraction, library preparation and capture.
  • Population genomics: Researchers with PhD or MSc degrees in population genetics, statistical genetics, or a related field, to work in genomic data analysis and population genetic modelling, including method development for demographic inference, kinship and selection estimation.
  • Human bioarchaeology: Researchers with an MSc/MA degree in anthropology, or a related field, with experience in human skeletal biology, to study bioarchaeological aspects related to Neolithization.
  • Archaeology: Researchers with PhD or MSc/MA degrees in archaeology, to work in archaeological data mining, digital archaeology, and statistical analysis.
  • Computer science: Researchers with PhD or MSc degrees in computer science or an informatics-related field, to work in archaeological modelling, evolutionary algorithms and simulation.


For postdocs, the positions are planned for 2 years, with possible extension.

For Ph.D. students, the positions will be for 4 years, and the students will complete the METU and/or Hacettepe University Graduate Programs. Note that METU programs are in English.

NEOGENE’s diverse and vibrant research environment is composed of the research groups run by Mehmet Somel (evolutionary genetics and computational biology, at METU Biological Sciences:, Füsun Özer (ancient DNA at METU Biological Sciences,, Yılmaz Selim Erdal (human bioarchaeology, at Hacettepe Anthropology:, Çiğdem Atakuman (Neolithic archaeology and material culture studies at METU Settlement Archaeology:, Elif Sürer (serious games and simulation, at METU Informatics Institute: We also closely collaborate with multiple archaeology teams working in the region.

METU is Turkey’s top public university, with the largest share of national science funding among the country’s universities. The METU student population stands at 27,000, and we host about 2,000 international students and staff.

The successful candidates will receive salary commensurate with experience. They will further enjoy access to on-campus housing. The METU campus includes a >3,000 hectare forest area and a lake, with access to a wide selection of recreational sports.


For further information on NEOGENE, please contact Mehmet Somel (

Postdoc and PhD candidates should send (1) a CV, (2) a statement of interest that mentions the part of the project the candidate plans to work in (max. 2 pages), (3) contact information for three referees, (4) an academic transcript (for PhD student applications only), via email to

The emails should be titled according to the type of application and your area of interest (e.g. “PhD application, computer science”, or “Postdoc application, ancient DNA”).

Applications will remain open until all positions are filled. The starting dates are flexible, but we expect the chosen candidates to start by Summer/Fall 2018.