Research Fellow on XSCAPE - A new Methodology for the Study of Material Minds REF 6023

School/department:   Engineering and Informatics/Informatics
Hours: full time or part time hours considered up to a maximum of 1.0 FTE
Requests for flexible working options will be considered (subject to business need).
Contract: fixed term until 30/9/2023, with a possibility of renewal
Reference: 6023
Salary: starting at £33,797 to £40,322 per annum, pro rata if part time.
Placed on: 26 May 2021
Closing date: 14 July 2021. Applications must be received by midnight of the closing date.
Expected Interview date: 4 August 2021
Expected start date: 1 October 2021 or as soon as possible thereafter

Job description

The position is to support a research project entitled “XSCAPE. A new Methodology for the Study of Material Minds” which is funded by the European Research Council (Horizon 2020 Synergy Grants). This is a multi-national, multi-centre project whose University of Sussex wing of the project is led by Professor Andy Clark.

The overall project investigates the various ways the material structures of our settlements, buildings, roads, and artefacts (from pottery to smartphones) actively change patterns of thought and attention, thereby shaping the modern mind. At Sussex, bridging Informatics and Philosophy, we will use the emerging computational neuroscience paradigm known as predictive processing as a principled means of linking perception, attention, and actions (including eye-movements) with cognitive change and learning. This will deliver insights into the fundamental principles that may be guiding materiality-driven cognitive change.

The primary activities for the PDRF are to design, implement and analyse a series of single and multi-agent simulation studies as part of this project. The simulations will use the ‘active inference’ paradigm as a platform to examine (at multiple scales of space and time) the complex interactions between learning, attention, and the material environment. Some illustrative pilot studies using the paradigm can be found at:

The successful candidate will be responsible for contributing to the exploration of the core themes of the project through designing and running the simulation studies, authoring and co-authoring research articles, organising project workshops and research seminars, and taking an active part in the overall project.

There may also be opportunities to carry out a small amount of project-related teaching.
You will be based at Sussex and work under the supervision of Professor Andy Clark. You will collaborate closely members of the XSCAPE project team, both locally and in Spain and Germany where the other parts of the project are based.

This position requires someone with a PhD in Computer Science, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, or Cognitive Science . You should have programming skills in a language suitable for single and multi-agent simulation studies, such as Python or MATLAB, experience of designing and running simulation studies, and of analysing the results of such studies.

In addition, you should have some experience of giving talks, and publishing research articles within one or more of these areas. Familiarity with one or more of the relevant philosophical, psychological, or neuroscientific literatures (on active inference, predictive processing, and the complex interactions between action, environment and attention) is not required but would be an advantage.

For informal enquiries please contact Prof. Andy Clark:

The University is committed to equality and valuing diversity, and applications are particularly welcomed from women and black and minority ethnic candidates, who are under-represented in academic posts in Science, Technology, Engineering, Medicine and Mathematics (STEMM) at Sussex.

Please note that this position may be subject to ATAS clearance if you require visa sponsorship.

Download job description and person specification Re 6023 [PDF 158.84KB]

How to apply

Download our academic application form [DOC 199.50KB] and Personal details and equal opportunities form [DOC 110.00KB] and fill in all sections.

Email your completed application, and personal details and equal opportunities form, to  

You should attach your application form and all documents to the email in PDF format (we are unable to accept applications as or .pages) and use the format job reference number / job title / your name in the subject line.

You can also send your application by post to Human Resources Division, Sussex House, University of Sussex, Falmer, Brighton, BN1 9RH.

You might also be interested in: