New Caledonian crows can infer the weight of objects from their movements in a breeze.
(Jelbert, Miller et al. 2019, Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences)
March 2012-February 2016
PhD in Cognitive Biology
University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria
September 2010-August 2011
MSc in Evolutionary and Comparative Psychology
University of St Andrews, St Andrews, UK
September 2008-June 2010
Advanced National Certificate in Zoo Animal Management
Sparsholt College, Sparsholt, UK
September 2004-August 2008
MA in Psychology
University of Glasgow, Glasgow, UK
1 February 2021 - date
Principal Investigator on 2 independent research projects, University of Cambridge, UK
Animal Cognition/ Behaviour & Applied Conservation research: as set out below, including securing funding to support my research team.
1. “Cognition in Animal Conservation with critically endangered Bali myna” Project: combining cognition/ behaviour research in captive birds (inc UK zoos) to integrate with conservation initiatives and achieve improved reintroduction success in Bali to save and protect these birds and other threatened species. Confirmed collaborations with 2 reintroduction programmes in Bali & with Prof Stuart Marsden (Manchester Metropolitan University). Pre-print publication available Nov 2021.
2. “ManyBirds” Project: a multi-site Open Science collaborative project on the evolution of avian cognition & behaviour (created Twitter handle: @TheManyBirds), aim to increase species & sample size representation & transparency. Multiple collaborations confirmed worldwide. Manuscript in press (publication 29), inc avian cognition review & project infrastructure. Builds on multi-lab study on socio-ecological correlates of neophobia (response to novelty) in 10 corvid (crow family) species (publication 31). Also see publication 32 on increasing animal cognition research in zoos.
1 December 2021 - 31 May 2022 (50% FTE)
Lecturer in Biology (Animal Behaviour), Anglia Ruskin University, UK
Teaching: Acting Module Lead on Practical Skills in Animal Behaviour and contributing to other modules within the Animal Behaviour Undergraduate Course, including designing and giving lectures, running practical sessions and supervising field-trips, as well as marking reports and exams.
Animal Cognition/ Behaviour Research: continuing work on 3 manuscripts in progress (2 lead & 1 co-author from previous roles).
22 November 2021 - 31 March 2023 (20% FTE)
Research Associate, University of Cambridge, UK
Cognition and Covid-19 Project: Leverhulme Trust funded position with Dr Lucy Cheke, focussing on research into the effects of Covid-19 on cognition in adults and children.
Lab Management: Assisting in running the lab and Long Covid Project
1 August 2021 - 31 Dec 2021
Visiting Researcher* and Temporary Lecturer, University of Cambridge, UK
Animal Cognition/ Behaviour & Child Development research: 2 publications (publications 28, 31), including on on cross-cultural cognitive development in young children. * Full affiliation rights
Teaching: Continuing to teach Undergraduate courses (in-person & remotely).
4 October - 31 December 2021 (27% FTE)
Independent Researcher, Rethink Priorities, USA
Animal Welfare research as part of Moral Weight and Animal Sentience Project: review and theoretical work on capacity for welfare in 10 farmed animal species (e.g. pain, sentience, cognition), including feature operationalization to determine proxies for quantitative interspecies welfare comparisons. Remote position on contractor basis.
1 August 2019 - 31 July 2021 (50% FTE: maternity leave August 2019-July 2020)
Postdoctoral Research Associate/ Lab Manager in Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK
European Research Council (ERC) funded position with Prof Nicola Clayton.
Animal Cognition/ Behaviour & Child Development research with birds & children: 5 publications (publications 24-27, 30)
Formed new research collaborations, inc Dr Nishant Kumar (Wildlife institute of India) - co-applicant on grant recently secured
Lab Management and Administration: Responsible for co-managing the lab (currently 8 PhD students, 3 Postdocs, 1 MPhil student, as well as several collaborators in other labs), including COVID-19 related administration, grant and lab finances administration, training birds and students.
Teaching: Designing and delivering Undergraduate online lecture course, including live seminar style discussion sessions and exam marking.
Supervision: Supervising PhD and Undergraduate research projects.
1 March 2015 - 31 July 2019 (100% FTE then 70% FTE from Jan 2018: maternity leave Oct 2016-Sept 2017)
Postdoctoral Research Associate in Psychology, University of Cambridge, UK
ERC funded research position with Prof Nicola Clayton investigating cognition comparatively in corvids and humans: 10 publications (publications 6, 9, 14-17, 19-22)
Designed and conducted research studies in line with the ERC proposal on causal reasoning, including highlighting the impact of prior reward-stimulus associations on corvid, though not child, performance.
Enhanced level of project research output by leading studies on new research lines. These novel comparative studies included: investigating how self-control underpins cognitive performance, social learning of tool-use behaviours, and flexibility in planning and decision-making.
Teaching: Prepared for and delivered lectures on Undergraduate Animal Cognition courses and supervised related practical sessions.
Supervision, lab management and administration: Significantly contributed to performance of lab and productive outcomes through: supervision/co-supervision of PhD and BSc-level students & Junior Researchers/ Assistants, ERC grant administration, HR matters e.g. leading six staff recruitment appointments, taking on lab management responsibilities for corvid lab including administration, staff training and liaison role, ensuring compliance with animal regulations such as obtaining Home Office Personal License, and providing stability of lab research by leading hand-rearing & training of 16 Eurasian jays for new research group.
Presented research at conferences, meetings, through media outlets, and public engagement at various schools and nurseries in South of England.
Continued to maintain academic connections and promote professional collaborations, including with Auckland and Vienna Universities.
March 2012-February 2016
PhD in Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna, Austria
Vienna Science & Technology Fund (3-year) funded position with Prof Thomas Bugnyar & Dr Christine Schwab: thesis on the role of identity, social context and development on corvid behaviour; 6 publications
(publications 10-13, 18, 23). Awarded 1st Class for PhD Viva.
Leading own research, including literature review, research design, obtaining ethical approval, data collection (wild & captive birds), bird training, ringing wild crows, hand-rearing 22 common ravens & carrion crows and bird care, video coding, data analysis using R and SPSS, and manuscript preparation. Presented this research at conferences.
Collaborating with colleagues, both in & outside University, for additional wild crow studies, including co-supervision of five MSc and BSc-level students.
Teaching practical courses for Undergraduates.
Research Assistant in Psychology, Auckland University, New Zealand
With Prof Russell Gray & Dr Alexander Taylor: cognition experiments with New Caledonian crows in New Caledonia (publications 2, 4, 5, 8).
June 2004-August 2011 (part-time 2004-2008 during Undergraduate degree)
Avian Research Coordinator, Qualified Animal Keeper, Animal Trainer
The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland (RZSS), Edinburgh Zoo, UK
Qualified Animal Keeper in rearing, care, management, training (publication 3) & study of animals, primarily birds; completed distance-learning Animal Management degree; conducted cognitive research in collaboration with St. Andrews, Vienna & Strasbourg Universities.
As RZSS Avian Research Coordinator, with Dr Amanda Seed and Prof Richard Byrne (St Andrews University), facilitated creation of an Avian Cognition Centre within Edinburgh Zoo, including securing support & funding (July 2009-August 2011). RZSS Research Group Representative for Avian Behavioural Research (2011).
Created wild crow field study site in Edinburgh Zoo (March-August 2011); obtained restricted C permit from British Trust of Ornithology for ringing crows.
Co-supervision of four BSc and MSc-level students (2011; 2014-2015). Assisted Dr Valerie Dufour (CNRS) & Prof Bugnyar (Vienna University) in delayed gratification study in corvids (publication 1) (2008-2010).
Conservation trip to Budongo Conservation Field Station (publication, RATEL magazine) in Uganda (2007); community education trip to Zambia (2006).
September 2009-August 2010
MSc in Psychology, University of St Andrews, UK
With Prof Andrew Whiten (St Andrews University) & Prof Bugnyar (Vienna University): thesis on social influences on behaviour in wild carrion crows (publication 7). Created wild crow field site in Vienna Zoo.
September 2004-June 2008
MA (Hons) in Psychology, University of Glasgow, UK
With Dr Steve Draper (Glasgow University), Prof Bugnyar (Vienna University) & Dr Dufour (CNRS): thesis on raven object permanence understanding. Awarded 1st Class for thesis.
Supervision/ co-supervision and Mentoring
University of Cambridge 2015-date: 3 PhD (2 in progress, 1 complete), 1 MSc (complete) & 3 Undergraduate students (complete); 6 Research Assistants (complete); Co-support of lab research as Lab Manager (complete); Animal Behaviour Collective Mentor (ongoing)
University of Vienna 2014: 1 MSc & 4 Undergraduate students (complete)
Royal Zoological Society of Scotland 2011: 4 Undergraduate students (complete)
Teaching (lectures, practicals, exams)
Anglia Ruskin University
2021-2022: Acting Module Leader in Undergraduate Practical Skills in Animal Behaviour, including lectures, practicals and reporting marking, School of Life Sciences
University of Cambridge
2020-2021 and 2021-2022: Undergraduate Comparative Cognition Lecture Series, including lectures, live discussion sessions and exams (online in 2020 due to COVID-19 pandemic), Psychology Department (2 academic years)
2021: Undergraduate Methodology and Experimental Design Course - assisting with exam questions, Psychology Department
2019 and 2016: Undergraduate Evolution and Behaviour Practical Course, Zoology Department (2019 as supervisor; 2016 as demonstrator) (2 academic years)
2019: Undergraduate Animal Cognition Lecture Series and exams,
University of Vienna
2014: Undergraduate Practicals, Cognitive Biology Department