Research Associate

Updated: about 2 months ago
Location: Cardiff, WALES


Research Associate

We are seeking to recruit a bright and motivated Postdoctoral Researcher for an exciting new project studying how curiosity and motivation in video games affect learning and memory. The project is funded via a Cross-Disciplinary Award from the Wellcome Institutional Strategic Support Fund (ISSF) at Cardiff University.
The successful candidate will conduct research involving video games to study how curiosity, motivation and exploration affect learning and memory. You will develop new experimental approaches using video games, collect and analyse the behavioural data using advanced quantitative and qualitative analyses. Experience in human-machine interaction or similar research along with experience in working within interdisciplinary teams would be essential.

The post will be for 12 months and the successful candidate will work closely with an interdisciplinary team with expertise in psychology, neuroscience, computer science, development, education & technology, and human factors at Cardiff and Swansea University (PI: Dr Matthias Gruber; CO-Is: Dr Sean Walton (Swansea); Dr Sarah Gerson; Dr Carina Girvan; Dr Phil Morgan). The successful candidate will work at the newly built Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC) being part of the School of Psychology. CUBRIC offers an inspiring and friendly research environment with ample opportunity for interdisciplinary exchange. The post will also be aligned and provide opportunity to collaborate with members of the Human Factors Excellence (HuFEx) Research Group at the School of Psychology of the new interdisciplinary Cardiff University research centre in Artificial Intelligence, Robotics, and Human Machine Systems (IROHMS).
For informal enquiries, please contact Dr Matthias Gruber, or Dr Sean Walton,

This post is full-time, available from the 1 August 2020, fixed-term for 1 year / or until 30 June 2021 (depending on start date). 

Salary £33,797 - £40,322 (Grade 6).  It is not expected to appoint above £33,797 per annum, salary point 30.

Date advert posted: Thursday, 30 April 2020

Closing Date: Sunday, 31 May 2020

Please be aware that Cardiff University reserves the right to close this vacancy early should sufficient applications be received.

Cardiff University is committed to supporting and promoting equality and diversity and to creating an inclusive working environment. We believe this can be achieved through attracting, developing, and retaining a diverse range of staff from many different backgrounds who have the ambition to create a University which seeks to fulfil our social, cultural and economic obligation to Cardiff, Wales, and the world.  In supporting our employees to achieve a balance between their work and their personal lives, we will also consider proposals for flexible working or job share arrangements.

Job Description

Main Function

You will conduct research involving video games to study how curiosity, motivation and exploration affect learning and memory. The key responsibilities will be assisting with the design of the experiments using video games, data collection, quantitative and qualitative analyses, and writing-up the findings for publication in a peer-reviewed journal.

Main Duties and Responsibilities 


  • To undertake research, e.g., by planning, designing, setting up, conducting behavioural experiments, analysing and interpreting the data.
  • Actively participate within the research group, communicating and presenting research at national or international meetings, through publications and other recognised avenues as appropriate, ensuring information is communicated to internal and external partners
  • To contribute to research publications and presentations
  • To analyse and communicate complex ideas, concepts and data using appropriate methods and packages
  • ​To resolve issues and support senior colleagues in devising procedures required to ensure accurate and timely reporting
  • To generate research output and contribute to the development of independent and original ideas as appropriate
  • To provide support and guidance to junior members of staff within the research team
  • To review and synthesise existing research literature within the field
  • To prepare research ethics and research governance applications as appropriate
  • To build and create networks both internally and externally to the university, to influence decisions, explore future research requirements, and share research ideas for the benefit of research projects
  • To undergo personal and professional development that is appropriate to and which will enhance performance.
  • Any other duties not included above, but consistent with the role.

Person Specification

Essential Criteria

Qualifications and Education

  • PhD in relevant subject area (e.g., Human-Computer Interaction, Psychology, Applied Psychology, Human Factors, Social Sciences) along with strong quantitative or qualitative background and/or significant relevant industrial experience with appropriate undergraduate and/or post-graduate qualifications in the relevant subject area (e.g., Human-Computer Interaction, Psychology, Applied Psychology, Human Factors, Social Sciences).
  • Knowledge, Skills and Experience
  • Experience in human-computer interaction research
  • Experience in interdisciplinary research – especially in areas such as psychology and human-computer interaction
  • Experience and interest in video games (no prior research experience with video-games required)
  • Strong quantitative analyses skills (e.g. in Human-Computer Interaction)
  • Strong qualitative analyses skills (e.g. in Human-Computer Interaction)
  • Experience in coding and analyses of videos or similar complex, naturalistic material
  • Extensive experience in running behavioural experiments
  • Communication and Team Working
  • Proven ability to be successful in publishing high-impact peer-reviewed research articles. 
  •  Proven ability to present and discuss research findings at national and international conferences
  • Desirable Criteria
  • Good programming skills
  • Practical experience and theoretical knowledge on the research of motivation and learning & memory
  • Strong interest and experience in using videos or video games to investigate curiosity, motivation, exploration, and/or learning & memory.
  • Proven ability to demonstrate creativity in designing new experiments using video games or other complex, naturalistic material.
  • Proven ability to work without close supervision
  • Proven ability to be successful in competitive research funding
  • Evidence of ability to participate in and develop both internal and external networks and utilise them to enhance the research activities of the School.

  • Additional Information

    Evidencing Criteria 

    It is School of Psychology’s policy to use the person specification as a key tool for short-listing. Candidates should evidence that they meet ALL of the essential criteria as well as, where relevant, the desirable. As part of the application process you will be asked to provide this evidence via a supporting statement. Please ensure when submitting this document/attaching it to your application profile you name it with the vacancy reference number.
    If candidates do not provide written evidence of meeting all the essential criteria then their application will not be progressed.

    General Information

    The School of Psychology with over 50 academic staff, over 600 undergraduates and 150 postgraduate students is one of the largest and most successful in the UK ( ).  We are recognised internationally for sustained excellence in research, impact and research-led teaching. Many individuals in the School are leading figures in their research areas. In the last Research Excellence Framework we entered as a unit of over 80 staff with our colleagues in Psychological medicine. We were placed 2nd in our topic area across the UK. We have state of the art laboratories and experimental expertise across the range of psychology. In particular, CUBRIC opened in Spring 2016, housing a unique combination of facilities and expertise that will further its world-leading research in Neuroimaging, Cognitive Neuroscience and Biological Psychiatry. CUBRIC is currently one of the largest and best equipped imaging centres in Europe housing 3T MRI, 7T MRI, and Connectome MRI scanners, MEG, EEG, Sleep Labs, and Behavioural Testing Labs (please see, ).
    Cardiff is the youngest capital city in Europe and the fastest growing in the UK. It plays host to many national and international sporting events at the Millennium Stadium ( ). Culturally, the city is thriving, with the Wales Millennium Centre ( ) in Cardiff Bay. Cardiff is in very close proximity to the beautiful Welsh countryside ( ) and stunning beaches ( ), has a two hour rail link to London and a one hour air link to Paris and Amsterdam ( ).

    Job Category

    Academic - Research

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