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Postdoctoral Scholar – Human Behavior Modeling from Game Data

Position overview

Position title: Postdoctoral Scholar – Human Behavior Modeling from Game Data
Salary range: Commensurate with qualifications and experience. Minimum annual salary rates are made based on the individual’s Experience Level, which is determined by the number of months of postdoctoral service at any institution. See current salary scale for Postdoctoral Titles at,
Percent time: Full-time (100%)
Anticipated start: As openings occur.
Position duration: Postdoctoral Scholar appointments are full-time; the initial appointment is for a minimum of one year, with the possibility of reappointment. Reappointment will be contingent upon positive performance review and availability of funding. The total duration of an individual’s postdoctoral service may not exceed five years, including postdoctoral service at any institution. Under limited circumstances, an exception to this limit may be considered, not to exceed a sixth year.

Application Window

Open August 3rd, 2021 through Wednesday, Aug 3, 2022 at 11:59pm (Pacific Time)

Position description

The Department of Computational Media at the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) invites applications for a the Postdoctoral Scholar– Human Behavior Modeling from Game Data. The selected candidate will work under the direction of Dr. Seif El-Nasr. This position is part of a funded grant from James S. MacDonnell Foundation entitled: “A Methodology for Studying the Dynamics of Resilience of First Year College Students.” The grant aims to investigate the use of Alternate Reality Games as a platform to measure resilience and its change over time as different students engage in team and group activities. The successful candidate will be able to (1) manage the design of an Alternate Reality Game, (2) instrument the game to collect data on human behavior including contextual details, and (3) use various modeling techniques to model sequential data to measure and understand resilience as it manifests in group interaction and game interaction, thus include chat data and behavioral data. The candidate will need to use several NLP techniques to help abstract and model the data from chat and integrate it with behavioral data as well as reconstruct virtual contextual data of the game to understand how a person’s resilience as they make decisions in the game environment changed over time and what factors influenced that change.

Applicants with expertise in cognitive modeling, machine learning, and natural language understanding and in particular: player modeling, human behavior modeling, game data science, modeling of human cognition from game data are strongly encouraged to apply.

All documents and materials must be submitted as PDFs and should be forwarded to Dr. Seif El-Nasr at


  • Letter of application that briefly summarizes your qualifications and interest in the position (required).
  • Curriculum vitae (required).
  • At least four (4) sample publications and code projects, with a minimum of three (3) sample publications, to show relevant experience (required).
  • Statement of contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion: Statement addressing your understanding of the barriers facing traditionally underrepresented groups and your past and/or future contributions to diversity, equity, and inclusion through teaching and professional or public service. Candidates are urged to review guidelines on statements (see before preparing their application (optional).


Basic qualifications (required at time of application)

See Additional Qualifications.

Additional qualifications (required at time of start)

Ph.D. (or equivalent foreign degree) in Computer Science or related field. Degree must be in hand at the time of appointment.

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Campus Information

The University of California is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, national origin, disability, age, or protected veteran status. UC Santa Cruz is committed to excellence through diversity and strives to establish a climate that welcomes, celebrates, and promotes respect for the contributions of all students and employees. Inquiries regarding the University’s equal employment opportunity policies may be directed to the Office for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion at the University of California, Santa Cruz, CA 95064 or by phone at (831) 459-2686.

Under Federal law, the University of California may employ only individuals who are legally able to work in the United States as established by providing documents as specified in the Immigration Reform and Control Act of 1986. Certain UCSC positions funded by federal contracts or sub-contracts require the selected candidate to pass an E-Verify check (see The university sponsors employment-based visas for nonresidents who are offered academic appointments at UC Santa Cruz (see

UCSC is a smoke & tobacco-free campus.

If you need accommodation due to a disability, please contact Disability Management Services at (831) 459-4602.

UCSC is committed to addressing the spousal and partner employment needs of our candidates and employees. As part of this commitment, our institution is a member of the Northern California Higher Education Recruitment Consortium (NorCal HERC). Visit the NorCal HERC website at to search for open positions within a commutable distance of our institution.

The University of California offers a competitive benefits package and a number of programs to support employee work/life balance. For information about employee benefits please visit

As a condition of employment, you will be required to comply with the University of California SARS-CoV-2 (COVID-19) Vaccination Program Policy.All Covered Individuals under the policy must provide proof of Full Vaccination or, if applicable, submit a request for Exception (based on Medical Exemption, Disability, and/or Religious Objection) or Deferral (based on pregnancy) no later than the applicable deadline. New University of California employees should refer to Appendix F, Section II.C. of the policy for applicable deadlines. (Capitalized terms in this paragraph are defined in the policy.) Federal, state, or local public health directives may impose additional requirements. Additional information and resources for compliance are located on the campus COVID-19 Vaccines webpage.


Job location

Santa Cruz, California