Postdoctoral Research Assistant

Egham, United Kingdom
£39,520 to £45,289 per annum - including London Allowance
10 May 2023
End of advertisement period
04 Jun 2023
Contract Type
Fixed Term
Full Time

Department of Computer Science

Location: Egham
Salary: £39,520 to £45,289 per annum - including London Allowance Post Type: Full Time
Closing Date:  23.59 hours BST on Sunday 04 June 2023
Reference: 0523-217

Full-Time, Fixed-Term (36 Months)

The Department of Computer Science seeks to employ a postdoctoral researcher in the Leverhulme funded project entitled “Social Mechanisms and Allocations” as part of an interdisciplinary research effort at Royal Holloway, University of London, to understand how social norms develop and sustain themselves. 

The successful applicant will be working in the area of agent-based modelling and multi-agent systems learning, under the direction of Professor Kostas Stathis (project co-investigator) in close collaboration with Professor David Levine (the Leverhulme fellow and the project’s principal investigator based in the Department of Economics) and Professor Ryan McKay (the other project co-investigator based in the Department of Psychology).

The post is full-time, fixed term position, tenable in Sep 2023, and will be available until the end of August 2026 subject to satisfactory review. The successful candidate will be working in an interdisciplinary team of economists, psychologists, and computer scientists, and will be a member of the Centre of Intelligent Systems in Computer Science located in the state-of-the-art premises of the School of Engineering, Physical and Mathematical Sciences in Egham.

Project Description. The project aims to link work in game theory to the operation of social norms in a heterogenous agents’ framework. The project will explain and illustrate how a willingness of individuals to bear small costs for the sake of society can be leveraged into system-wide institutional changes.  The results will address both large questions that have defined the modern era – how can individuals be convinced to obey social rules that are not normally in their self-interest to follow? – and smaller puzzles of how institutions can better function. Levine’s earlier work on dynamic games has laid out the rules in economics for when self-interested agents will sacrifice current benefits for longer-term gains, provides the theoretical bridge to the present project.  The work in Computer Science will contribute towards the AI and Machine Learning effort to build human-like agents for game theoretic simulations and experiments where agents and humans will be equal participants.

Research areas. We expect the successful candidate to work in one or more of the following four areas: adaptive agent-based models (e.g., with a learning capability); endowing agent-based models with human-like behaviours (e.g., based on dialogue and explanations); norm emergence in agent-based models (e.g. discovering social norms); and the validation of mixed human-agent experiments (e.g., using techniques from game theoretic simulations). Candidates will be expected to have a PhD (or be close to completion) in a related area and should indicate their special area(s) of interest from the four topics above in a cover letter, as well as programming experience in an AI language or platform. The primary selection criteria will be relevant research experience and publication track record. 

For an informal discussion about the post, please contact Professor Kostas Stathis on

The post is based in Egham, Surrey, where the College is situated, is a beautiful, leafy campus near to Windsor Great Park and within commuting distance from London. Meetings with the team will take place at Royal Holloway. It is expected that the successful candidate will work at least part of the time on campus. There might be the possibility to use facilities in Central London based on project requirements.

For queries on the application process the Human Resources Department can be contacted by email at:

Please quote the reference: 0523-217

Closing Date: 23:59, 04 June 2023

Interview Date: To be confirmed

We particularly welcome female applicants as they are under-represented at this level in the Department of Computer Science within Royal Holloway, University of London.

Further details: Job Description & Person Specification    

This position is not eligible for hybrid working.

Royal Holloway is committed to equality, diversity and inclusion (EDI), and encourages applications from all people regardless of age, disability, gender, marital status, parental status, race, religion or belief, sexual orientation, or trans status or history. More information on our structures and initiatives around EDI, including information on staff diversity networks, can be found on our Equality and Diversity Intranet page.