Earlier this week, the Swedish Research Council announced the recievers of their International Career Grants, and Mathias turned out to be one of the twentyfour lucky researchers!
His project "The social intelligence hypothesis and the episodic memory system – the role of memories in the social skills of cognitively complex animals" got funding for four years (starting 2015), which includes full-time employment for Mathias, one PhD-student and part-time employment for a research assistant.
The Career grant aims at developing young researchers both as scientists and leaders, in close collaboration with a foreign University - in this case Thomas Bugnyar's group at the Department of Cognitive Biology, University of Vienna.
The overarching purpose of the project is to investigate the role of memory systems, in particular episodic memory, in complex social life, and thereby provide new insights into the evolution of complex cognition.
The focus will be on ravens as the University of Vienna and Lund University have the only research facilities for studying raven cognition. This enables the project to test effects of different parameters – such as sex, rank, age and population – in a statistically robust way, which is usually very difficult in raven cognition studies - and up to 20-40 raven subjects can be involved in each of the different studies! Chimpanzees will also be added to one of the set ups, as such comparisons are important in understanding the potential parallel evolution of the cognitive skills.