Data scientist for Embodied Cognitive Science Unit (Froese Unit)

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology Graduate University (OIST; see www.oist.jp) is a dynamic new graduate university of science and technology in Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. The university is located on 85 hectares of protected forestland overlooking beautiful shoreline and coral reefs. The campus is striking architecturally, and the facilities are outstanding (OIST campus video tour). There are no academic departments, which facilitates multidisciplinary research. Outstanding resources and equipment are provided and managed to encourage easy access and collaboration. English is the official language of the University, and the university research community is fully international, with more than 50 countries represented. OIST is rapidly gaining recognition in the worldwide academic community as a model for excellence in education and research.

Position:

Postdoctoral scholar; note that applications for this role as Staff scientist or Unit technician are also welcome.

Position summary:

Our understanding of the human mind is undergoing a major shift: social interactions, the body, and technological coupling are increasingly revealed to play a constitutive role in even high-level human capacities. Understanding the mechanisms and role of real-time social interaction is particularly crucial for an embodied and empirically grounded theory of social cognition. Little is known about the extent of the underlying interpersonal neural couplings, the processes that enable them, the information flows with and their relationship to sensorimotor couplings, the structure of such neural- and sensorimotor-coupled social systems, or the precise roles that these components have for human capacities and their disorders.

We seek a highly motivated researcher or technician with thorough experience in psychological statistics and data science, ideally with strong theoretical and programming skills for analyzing EEG hyperscanning datasets, or theoretical and practical expertise in nonlinear analysis of large sets of time series (200+ signals), to join the Embodied Cognitive Science Unit (Froese Unit) at OIST <https://groups.oist.jp/ecsu/>, a highly interdisciplinary unit spanning philosophical, computational, and experimental approaches to cognitive science.

The successful applicant will work on a long-term project investigating the emergence and role of neural coupling and synchronization during minimal sensorimotor interactions such as those emerging in the Perceptual Crossing Paradigm with the aim of applying it to the early diagnosis of mental disorders.

The role involves the development of hyperscanning experiments, including the practical setup and running of experiments, and especially analysis of resulting datasets. The project is developed by a small integrated team, and we seek for applicants capable of working well in this environment, using their specific skills to enrich and contribute to the group's dynamics.

We welcome applications for this position as postdoctoral researchers, staff scientists, or unit technicians; the position is for up to 3 years. Circumstances allowing, on-site interview visits may be possible. Applications for this position are open until the position is filled.

Unit summary:

In this unit we pursue the implications of embodied cognitive science from the mind’s most basic expressions in adaptive behavior to its most complex manifestations in abstract thinking. Our interdisciplinary research is framed by a general interest in better understanding the major transitions from minimal cognition to human cognition, and our guiding insight is that changes in environmental mediation, especially sociocultural and technological mediation, have the potential to transform and potentiate the mind.

We employ a diversity of methods that are drawn from the intersection of computer science, complex systems theory: agent-based modeling, artificial neural networks, evolutionary robotics, time series analysis, virtual reality, sensory substitution interfaces, and human-computer interaction.

Location 

1919‐1 Tancha, Onna‐son, Okinawa, Japan 904-0495

Responsibilities 

1. Developing and implementing relevant methods for statistical analysis and/or nonlinear analysis of EEG and physiological time series
2. Guiding team discussions concerning the choice or novel development of analysis methods
3. More broadly, planning and executing experimental research independently and in collaboration with the team
4. Supervising junior members of the unit on relevant topics

Qualifications 

Required:

1. For postdocs and staff scientists: A PhD in Psychological Statistics, Applied mathematics, Signal processing, Information theory, or related topics
2. Data science and computing experience, excellent knowledge in a programming language (preferably Python or Julia), and clean programming practices (version control, code testing, data management)
3. The ability and will to work with a team; this could involve e.g. explaining and sharing analysis methods or collaborating on developing novel analysis techniques

Preferred:

1. Experience with state-of-the-art Hyperscanning analysis methods
2. Theoretical expertise in nonlinear time-series analysis
3. Fluency in Linux/Unix

Report to 

Professor Tom Froese, Embodied Cognitive Science Unit

Starting Date 

April 1, 2021, or as early as possible thereafter

Term & Working Hours 

Working hours: 9:00-17:30 (Discretionary)

Term: Full-time, fixed-term appointment for 1 year, renewable for another two years upon mutual agreement.

Compensation & Benefits 

Compensation:

Compensation in accordance with the OIST Employee Compensation Regulations

Benefits:
Relocation, housing and commuting allowances
Annual paid leave and summer holidays
Health insurance (Private School Mutual Aid http://www.shigakukyosai.jp/ )
Welfare pension insurance (kousei-nenkin)
Worker's accident compensation insurance (roudousha-saigai-hoshou-hoken)

How To Apply 

Apply by emailing your Submission Documents to:

sebastien.lerique[at]oist.jp (Please replace [at] with @ before using this email address)

 

Submission Documents 

Applicants should send a CV, a cover letter and a brief statement of research interests combined in a single PDF file to sebastien.lerique@oist.jp and arrange for at least two recommendation letters to be sent.

*Inquiries about the position can also be sent to the same address.

Application Due Date 

Until the position is filled (Applications will be screened upon arrival)

Declaration 

  • OIST Graduate University is an equal opportunity, affirmative action educator and employer and is committed to increasing the diversity of its faculty, students and staff. The University strongly encourages applications from underrepresented groups.
  • Information provided by applicants or references will be kept confidential, documents will not be returned. All applicants will be notified regarding the status of their applications.
  • Please view OIST policy for rules on external professional activities
  • Further details about the University can be viewed on the OIST website www.oist.jp.