5 KLI Writing-up Fellowships on

“Cognition and Knowledge:
Between Evolution and Sustainability”


The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) in Klosterneuburg (Austria) announces 5 Writing-Up Fellowships for late-stage PhD students working on topics related to “Cognition and Knowledge: Between Evolution and Sustainability.


The Konrad Lorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI) is an independent center of advanced studies in the life and sustainability sciences. The mission of the KLI is to enable scientific reasoning dedicated to understanding and sustaining life in its biological, cognitive, social, and cultural diversity. At the KLI, we are committed to contribute to addressing pressing social-environmental challenges of our time through inter- and transdisciplinary research. We especially support theoretical and conceptual research as well as philosophical and historical work in the life and sustainability sciences. In line with this mission, we recognize equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) as fundamental values of our institute. We believe that only if research institutions engage with the broadest spectrum of views, opinions and experiences will we be able to contribute to addressing the pressing societal and environmental challenges of our world.

Cognition and Knowledge: Between Evolution and Sustainability.

With this call, the KLI aims to support an interdisciplinary cohort of 5 late-stage PhD students whose work use novel interdisciplinary approaches in the study of cognition and knowledge, especially in relation to evolution and to their connection to sustainability.    

Cognition and knowledge have played an essential role in the evolution of life on earth. In recent years, new approaches integrating evolutionary, developmental, and ecological considerations have helped to explain (1) how and why cognition has evolved in different taxa—from microbes to humans—enabling organisms to deal with complex environments. Furthermore, situated, embodied, extended, distributed, and enactive approaches have opened new research avenues to understand (2) how cognition and knowledge contribute to shaping human-environment interactions in different cultures and in our technological societies. All these new interdisciplinary approaches to cognition and knowledge can help to navigate complex sustainability problems—from climate change to loss of biodiversity—which arguably are a consequence of dysfunctional relationships between human societies and the complex biosphere. Interdisciplinary approaches are also important to understand (3) how evolved diversity of cognitive styles and types of knowledge—from neurodiversity to bio-cultural diversity—can be valued, reflected, and fostered, also in academia.

As A Home to Theory that Matters, the KLI will support 5 KLI Writing-Up Fellowship projects that engage with theoretical, philosophical, methodological, and conceptual work in relation to cognition and knowledge in the life and sustainability sciences. Though not exclusively, we look forward to receiving applications especially in the following research areas:

  1. Evolution of cognition and knowledge in multiple taxa   

How can integrated approaches—that combine, among others, evolutionary, developmental, and ecological considerations—contribute to explaining the evolution of cognition and knowledge by helping to:

  • facilitate comparative investigations in humans, non-human primates, and non-primate species as well as in other taxa (from microbes to plants)?
  • formulate theoretical frameworks to explain and evaluate new data (e.g., from neuroscience, developmental biology, and ecology)?
  • integrate insights from multiple disciplines (e.g., anthropology, archaeology, economics, evolutionary biology, neuroscience, philosophy, cognitive science, and psychology)?
  • explain co-evolutionary dynamics such as techno-social co-evolution and/or gene–culture co-evolution in human societies?
  • elucidate the role of individual and/or social learning in social and cultural evolution?
  • contextualize the history of scientific knowledge as part of broader histories of cognition and knowledge?
  1. Cognition and knowledge for more sustainable human-environment interactions

How can approaches to cognition and knowledge—that are situated, embodied, distributed, extended, ecologically-sensitive, and complexity-based—help to deal with sustainability problems when attempting to:

  • explain cognitive and behavioral patterns and processes (e.g., biases) that underpin unsustainable social norms, practices, and behaviors (e.g., overconsumption) or foster more sustainable individual and collective practices and pro-social behaviors?
  • investigate the so-called value-action gap or knowledge-action gap in our modern technological societies as well as develop concepts how to overcome this gap?
  • capture the interconnections between individual and collective cognition and knowledge in different cultures and societies within the complex biosphere?
  • support collaborative processes that include multiple actors and involve individual and social learning (e.g., knowledge co-production, transdisciplinary research) to generating knowledge, action, and change towards sustainability?
  1. Cognition and knowledge in science  

How can we value, appreciate, mobilize, and capitalize on the evolved diversity of human knowledge and cognitive styles in academia through the study of:

  • cognitive styles and types of knowledge of minorities in research environments (e.g., neurodiversity)?
  • cognition and knowledge in cultures and populations that differ from those that have traditionally informed academic research (e.g., traditional ecological knowledge, indigenous knowledge, knowledge from practice)?

Who is encouraged to apply?

The 5 KLI Writing-Up fellowships aim to support doctoral students in the final stage of their PhD research. Writing-Up fellowships are individual fellowships for researchers in residence and are awarded to work independently on the applicant’s research project supervised by their advisor of their home university. The 5 fellowships are especially well-suited for two categories of PhD students:

  • Those who have completed empirical research and wish to use the Writing-Up fellowship to elaborate on the (conceptual, epistemological, and methodological) underpinnings and implications of their work.
  • Those whose research deals with the historical, philosophical, and conceptual foundations of research in the disciplines mentioned above in relation to diversity.

Both categories of PhD students should be interested in and eager to extend their research perspective by drawing on novel concepts of evolutionary theorizing, philosophy of science, and cognition research based on long-standing work done at the KLI.

Details of the fellowships:

  • Duration: KLI Writing-Up fellowships are awarded for a period of maximum 6 months. The minimum fellowship duration is three months.
  • Starting date: Fellowships must start within the calendar year of 2022. Ideally, a start date in September/October 2022 is encouraged.
  • Eligibility criteria:
    • Applicants must be enrolled in a PhD program.
    • Applicants are in the final stages of their PhD work (as certified by their advisor).

Benefits of working at the KLI:

  • Being part of the KLI Resident Fellowship Program: Students awarded a KLI Writing-Up fellowship will be part of the KLI Resident Fellowship Program and will enjoy all benefits connected to this position.
    • While working on their own project, the Writing-Up fellows will participate in the regular activities of the KLI (e.g., KLI Colloquia, KLI Lab).
    • The Writing-Up fellows will also be able to participate in workshops and professional development activities at the KLI.
    • The successful applicants will work in a highly interdisciplinary environment and will be connected to a wide network of scholars and institutions inside and outside Vienna.
  • Relocation Allowance: The KLI will cover transportation costs for the move to Vienna or Klosterneuburg. The KLI will provide accommodation in the vicinity of the institute for the first two weeks of the fellowship.
  • Travel Budget: KLI Writing-up Fellowship provides a travel budget to attend scientific events related to the project.
  • Use of KLI facilities and library: Each fellow will have a workspace in the beautiful and stimulating facilities of the KLI.

Application and selection procedure


Step 1

Aspiring applicants fill in the Contact Form. Please specify “Cognition and Knowledge: Between Evolution and Sustainability Writing-Up Fellowship” in the motivation section of the form.


Deadline: February 28, 2022



Step 2

The KLI selection committee will notify the aspiring applicant. The successful ones will be invited to submit a full application.


Between February 28 and the first week of April, 2022

Step 3

Applicants will submit their full application to the following email address:

Deadline: May 1, 2022




Step 4

The selection committee will select successful applications and invites candidates for an interview.


Between May 1, 2022 and mid-May 2022

Step 5

The interview will take place at the KLI by using video conference technologies.


By the end of May 2022 to mid-June 2022



Step 6



The KLI Board of Directors will make a final decision on the application.


By early July 2022

Expected start of fellowship

Step 7

Cohort 2022 of Writing-Up Fellows will start their fellowship at the KLI

September/October 2022


Important: Forms and detailed procedures for the full application will be provided only to applicants after Step 1.



A full application will comprise:

  • Summary of the PhD project
  • Description of the part of the PhD project to be pursued at the KLI during the Writing-Up Fellowship
  • Motivation statement
  • Reference letter from the applicant’s PhD advisor/supervisor
  • CV including publication list

The applications will be selected using the following criteria:

  • Theoretical relevance of the project
  • Interdisciplinary aspects of the project
  • Societal relevance of the project
  • Feasibility of work-plan
  • Fit with the KLI mission and vision



Call for Applications


Sixth European Advanced School in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences (EASPLS)


“Dealing with Complexity in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences”



Institute for Philosophy in Biology & Medicine & ImmunoConcEpT lab,

University of Bordeaux & CNRS, Bordeaux, France


September 5-9, 2022

Directors: Thomas Pradeu & Maël Lemoine (Bordeaux); Marcel Weber (University of Geneva)


The European Advanced School in the Philosophy of the Life Sciences (EASPLS) consortium will hold its sixth biennial summer school on “Dealing with Complexity in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences” at the University of Bordeaux in France. Young scholars (PhD students and early post-doctoral researchers) in the history, philosophy and social studies of the biological, biomedical, and environmental sciences are invited to apply.

The exact amount of the registration fee will be determined later but should be around €350. The summer school will cover lunches and the opening dinner. Participants will take care of their own accommodation and travel expenses (to be confirmed soon).


This School will be an ISHPSSB Off-Year Workshop, so graduate students can get financial support for their participation.



Applicants should send to the following email address: a single pdf file (labelled: LastName-Firstname-easpls2022.pdf) containing:

  • Letter of motivation (max 500 words)
  • Title andAbstract (max 500 words) for a poster
  • Short Curriculum Vitae (max 3 pages)

The deadline for applications is February 25, 2022. Applicants will be notified of decisions by late April 2022.

What is the EASPLS?
The European Advanced School for the Philosophy of the Life Sciences is a biennial event that aims at fostering research, facilitating collaborations, and provide professional training for students in the field of the philosophy, history, and social studies of the life sciences, broadly conceived. EASPLS is organized by a consortium of the following European top-level institutions in the area of philosophy, history and social studies of the life sciences:

  • Centre for Philosophy of Science, Departmentof Philosophy, University of Geneva, Switzerland
  • Department of Neurosciences and Rehabilitation, University of Ferrara, Italy
  • Egenis,the Centre for the Study of Life Sciences; University of Exeter, UK
  • IASResearch Centre for Life, Mind and Society; University of the Basque Country, San Sebastian, Spain
  • Institute of Philosophy; Leibniz University Hannover, Germany
  • Institutefor the History and Philosophy of Science and Technology (IHPST); University of Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, France
  • Institute for Philosophy in Biology & Medicine (PhilInBioMed) & ImmunoConcEpT lab, University of Bordeaux & CNRS, France
  • KonradLorenz Institute for Evolution and Cognition Research (KLI), Klosterneuburg, Austria


EASPLS is characterized by its unique format. The summer school includes different forms of participation and aims to foster structured interactions among participants and between participants and senior researchers. The schedule mixes:

·       Inputs and discussions led by senior researchers in the consortium on the topic “Dealing with Complexity in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences” (Readings may be circulated in advance).

·       Inputs and discussions from two guest researchers in the philosophy of the life and medical sciences: Sara Green and Federica Russo.

·       Group work addressing questions related to the topic “Dealing with Complexity in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences”.

·       Roundtable discussions and activities tailored to professional development (e.g., publishing in the field, preparing for an interview, etc.)

·       The selected participants will bring a poster that will stay in the rooms of the Summer school for the whole duration of the event. Participants will present their posters in the form of short 3 minute-presentations for the rest of the people at the summer school.


Host Institution  

EASPLS 2022 will be held in Bordeaux, France (Bordeaux has an international airport; it takes 2h by train to go from Paris to Bordeaux). It is organized by PhilInBioMed, both an interdisciplinary institute located at the University of Bordeaux, France, and a national and international network of interdisciplinary institutes. PhilInBioMed aims at promoting philosophy in the biological and medical sciences, a co-production of knowledge by the direct interactions of philosophers, biologists, and medical doctors.


In Bordeaux, the Conceptual Biology and Medicine Team (PIs: T. Pradeu & M. Lemoine) is part of ImmunoConcept, an immunology lab with a team of philosophers embedded, who are bringing their conceptual expertise into scientific projects in various topics (from immunology to cancer and neuroscience).


The University of Bordeaux is a thriving European University situated in a fast developing city.


Topic of EASPLS 2022: “Dealing with Complexity in the Biological and Biomedical Sciences”

Complexity, from genomes to ecosystems, is a fundamental characteristic of living systems. In dealing with complexity, the life and medical sciences have developed over the centuries a wide range of epistemological and methodological approaches as well as social and institutional configurations to organize and perform scientific work.  The goal of this summer school is to bring together senior and junior researchers in the philosophy of life sciences to jointly reflect on and discuss:

  • Epistemological and methodological issues in relation to complexity. We will look into the many practices developed in the biological, biomedical, and environmental sciences, in order to deal with the complexity of life. For instance, we will address the many roles that experiments, data, theories, models as well as heuristics, explanations or visualizations have played in the development of the life and medical sciences.
  • Ontological and metaphysical issues in relation to complexity. We will discuss issues related with complex causation in living systems, mechanistic constitution, process thinking as well as modularity and robustness as ways to understand the main characteristics of living systems in the biological, biomedical, and environmental sciences.
  • Institutional, societal, and political dimensions of scientific work dealing with complexity. We will discuss social-organizational issues that emerge in relation to scientists’ various approaches to deal with complexity in the biological, biomedical, and environmental sciences. For instance, we will talk about the emergence of inter and transdisciplinary research centers and consortia; the different -omics; different configurations of sharing research materials and results; real-world laboratories at the science-society interface or big-data labs from medicine to sustainability science.
  • The role thathistorians and philosophers of the life sciences can play in critically contributing to support scientific attempts to deal with complexity in the biological, biomedical, and environmental sciences.


Using examples from past and current science, during the summer school, we will analyze and reflect together on experimental, conceptual, and theoretical practices and strategies that scientists from different disciplines in the life and medical sciences have created when dealing with complex living systems. The organizers aim to assemble a community of scholars addressing these issues from a wide variety of perspectives and whose research focuses on wide diversity of topics in the life sciences broadly conceived. The following areas of work serve to illustrate the sorts of issues that are in focus for the summer school, but it should be emphasized that EASPLS 2022 welcomes inputs and ideas that are not limited to the issues mentioned below.


Historical and current examples of dealing with complexity in disciplines and field such as:

  • Evolutionary biology and systematics, e.g. phylogenetic inference, evolutionary developmental biology.
    • Developmental biology, e.g., whole-organism lineage tracing
    • Genetics and genomics, e.g., genome-wide association studies, integrative data-clustering
    • Biological domains dealing with complex distributed systems, such as Neuroscience and Immunology
    • Clinical research, e.g., randomized controlled trials, real-world evidence
    • Cancer research, e.g., tumor typing.
    • Public Health, e.g. decision-making, policy-making
    • Personalized medicine e.g. diagnostic tool, interventions, and drug development
    • Molecular and systems biology, e.g., gene regulatory networks
    • Synthetic biology and genome editing  
    • Conservation sciences, e.g. systematic conservation planning and biodiversity
    • Climate change research, e.g., simulations, forecasting, scenarios, visioning
    • Sustainability science, e.g. transdisciplinary projects, real-world experimentation


Senior Researchers and Guest Lecturers

Instructors at EASPLS 2022 will come from all the Institutes of the Consortium:

  • Giovanni Boniolo
  • Guido Caniglia
  • John Dupré
  • Philippe Huneman
  • Maël Lemoine (co-director)
  • Sabina Leonelli
  • Thomas Pradeu (co-director)
  • Thomas Reydon
  • Isabella Sarto-Jackson
  • Jon Umerez
  • Marcel Weber (co-director)


In addition to instructors from the consortium, we are delighted to announce that Sara Green (University of Copenhagen, Denmark) and Federica Russo (University of Amsterdam, Netherlands) will be joining the summer school as Invited Guest Lecturers.