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Game theory and fundamental social and biological interactions

   New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems, Data and Networks

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  Assoc Prof M Frean, Prof S Marsland  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

Applications are invited for a fully funded PhD scholarship to examine fundamental social and biological interactions using game theory. Applications will be considered as they arrive.

Do you want to know why fundamental aspects of social and biological interactions are the way they are? Such as why sexual reproduction nearly always requires two different sexes. And why money is pretty much ubiquitous in human societies.

We do! We see the world through the lens of evolutionary game theory with stochastic interacting agents. They all want to get the best for themselves, and somehow self-organise to find equilibria where nobody is too unhappy.

Constructing and analysing these games requires maths, computer science, and some knowledge of the system we are evolving, which might be the evolution of oogamy, or more generally cooperation within groups. Or something else that’s equally exciting… That’s where you might come in.


This scholarship is open to anyone who can be in New Zealand (it is possible to start before arriving in NZ, by arrangement) and meets the requirements to enrol in a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington.

You will have a background in quantitative subjects, and a lively interest in the world around you.


You will be based at Victoria University of Wellington, in Aotearoa New Zealand’s capital. You will be jointly supervised by Associate Professor Marcus Frean, Professor Stephen Marsland and Dr Chrissie Painting.

You will be part of Te Pūnaha Matatini, the Aotearoa New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence for Complex Systems. Te Pūnaha Matatini brings together different disciplines, ways of thinking, methods, and people to define and solve society’s thorny interconnected problems.

Te Pūnaha Matatini has an active group of postgraduate students, spanning various Universities and disciplines throughout New Zealand.

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