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Job ID: 101752

Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researcher in Neuroimaging of Empathy in Engineering and Design
Aalto University

  • Dec. 22, 2017
  • Graduate Student or Postdoctoral Researcher in Neuroimaging of Empathy in Engineering and Design
  • Design Factory
  • Aalto University
  • Jan. 31, 2018
  • availabe immediately
  • Graduate Student
  • Psychiatry/Psychology/Behavioral Science
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Aalto University is a community of bold thinkers where science and art meet technology and business. We are committed to identifying and solving grand societal challenges and building an innovative future. Aalto University has six schools with nearly 11 000 students and nearly 400 professors. Our campuses are located in Espoo and Helsinki, Finland.

Aalto University invites applications for a position at Aalto Design Factory for a project that is a joint project between the Design Factory (School of Engineering) and the Department of Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering (School of Science). The project is part of the Aalto-wide Experience Platform. The position is a one-year position ending in Dec 2018 but with options to continue.

Job description

The job is part of a project on deepening our understanding of empathy. Empathy is regarded as the first step in design thinking, but we do not have empirical evidence if empathy is even relevant, if design thinking increases designer-user empathy, and if empathy helps in creating a better user experience. To investigate this, we need to be able to measure empathy. We will combine knowledge on empathy from psychology, neuroscience, design thinking and empathic design. We will run experiments to pilot neuroimaging as a means to measure empathy in preparation for two grants on the development of empathy and transfer of empathy from one team member to another.

The job involves novel cross-disciplinary research combining fields of psychology, neuroscience, design thinking and empathic design. The work involves understanding empathy and its constructs in cognitive neurosciences as well as in design, piloting neuroimaging methods for measuring the identified constructs in the context of empathic design. The task also include co-writing a research article with the team and participating in developing a funding proposal. A curious cross-disciplinary motivation is essential for this job.


  • We favor applicants who have completed a Master’s degree in science, engineering psychology or other relevant field. Postdoctoral applicants must hold a doctoral degree in a related field. We also encourage Master’s level students with strong motivation, starting to make their thesis, to apply.
  • Knowledge in either design methodologies or experimental research, or cognitive psychology or neuroscience. No one is expected to be an expert in all these areas, but once hired, a candidate is expected to develop knowledge in the other areas as well.
  • Passion for multidisciplinary research
  • Fluent English, both written and spoken


Aalto University follows the salary system of Finnish universities. Applicants may also provide a salary request. In addition to the salary, the contract includes occupational health care benefits. Finland also has a comprehensive social security system.

For more information

For further details, please contact Prof. Katja Hölttä-Otto (Design Factory) or Prof. Mikko Sams (Neuroscience and Biomedical Engineering).

How to apply

The applications for the position are to be submitted through the link "apply for this job" below no later than on 31 January 2018.

Required application documents (pdf files):
1.Curriculum vitae, including contact information for possible references
2.A 2-4 page research proposal on the topic of empathy in the applicant’s own field. The proposal should have a short motivation and background section, research questions and potential results or impact that might be possible from the proposed research. 5 outside references are enough for this proposal.
3.Copy of Master/Diploma degree certificate and if applicable: Copy of DSc/PhD degree certificate
4.Transcript of records for MSc and DSc/PhD studies, including translations to English (if not originally provided in English, Finnish or Swedish)

Aalto University reserves the right for justified reasons to leave the position open, to extend the application period and to consider candidates who have not submitted applications during the application period.

In Espoo, 21 December 2017

Living up to our values
As a community of high ethics we want to assure the highest international standard in research, education and teaching. We expect all our community members to respect Aalto values and follow the ethical principles of fair play and integrity in all our activities and the behaviour that we expect from each other. The Aalto University Code of Conduct is applicable to all Aalto community members and it clarifies the values that guide us.

Please reference in your cover letter when
applying for or inquiring about this job announcement.

Contact Information

  • Professor Katja Hölttä-Otto
    Aalto Design Factory
    Aalto University School Engineering
    Betonimiehenkuja 5 C


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