PhD Student Position – UNSW Sydney: Economic inequality as a driver of sexual competition and gendered traits

This is a highly competitive scheme, with excellent support, open to students from any country. Interested students must express interest by 21 July (20 July in the Western hemisphere due to time differences). To learn more and to express interest visit:

Up to 2 students will be asked to submit full applications in August.

There is also a lot more about the scheme at

This is an exceptional opportunity for students interested in how evolved traits interact with economic circumstances to shape behaviour in contemporary societies. Students may be trained in evolutionary biology, psychology, anthropology, economics or other disciplines.

This position is supported by the generous Scientia PhD Scholarship Scheme at UNSW Sydney, Australia. In addition to a stipend of $40K p.a. There is a $10k p.a. Travel allowance, and other opportunities for career development.

The supervisory team is:
Professor Rob Brooks – evolutionary biology
A/Prof Pauline Grosjean – economics
Dr Khandis Blake – evolutionary social psychology

We propose to test the exciting new idea that economic inequality among households also shapes mating competition, giving rise to many of the stark sex differences in dress, spending patterns, and mental and physical health that pervade societies. While wealthy Western countries have progressed steadily toward gender-equitable opportunities over the last century, differences between women and men in aggression, interests and the incidence of diseases like anxiety and depression have, paradoxically, increased. It is clear that ossified old ways of understanding gendered traits as either biologically essential or socially constructed have little to offer in terms of further understanding. Our approach transcends old territorial boundaries, and promises a newer, better and more general way to understand gendered behaviours, including those implicated in harm to mental health, safety, and happiness. The work will involve both experimental psychological research and analysis of economic data.

The project will be designed in collaboration between student and supervisors. There may be opportunities for field work in Australia or the Pacific.