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Marie-Sklodowska Curie PROTrEIN-ITN Early Stage Researcher (PhD student) position: Development of a gamified application for public understanding of complex scientific concepts and biological data (TAU, Tampere, Finland)

Gene Regulation, Stem Cells and Cancer

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Prof Juho Hamari , Dr Sergi Beltran No more applications being accepted

About the Project

PROTrEIN ( is a European Innovative Training Network composed of 11 beneficiaries, and 6 partner organizations, from the academic and non-academic sectors (including two SMEs and two large companies).

The network’s mission is to train a new generation of computational proteomics researchers by providing them an inter-sectoral and interdisciplinary set of skills to tackle the main challenges in the field and improve their future employability.


Subproject 15: (Host: Tampere University, Tampere, Finland)

Title:   Development of a gamified application for public understanding of complex scientific concepts and biological data

Objectives: Identify effective gamified methodologies through the design, implementation, and empirical research of the effects of an application, with motivational affordances and/or VR technologies in the context of public engagement and understanding of biological data, genomics, bioinformation statistics, and modeling.

Methodology: Tentatively, the research is composed out of 1) state-of-the-art investigation, based on which the 2) gamified application would be created for research and practice. The created prototype is then 3) empirically investigated (laboratory and/or field experiments) in terms of its pedagogical dimensions, engagement, gameful experience, and learning outcomes related to the ITN themes. Each phase of the research plan is expected to conclude with the write-up and publishing of research paper(s) in relevant academic journals and/or conferences.

Useful dimensions of candidate’s background:


Educational sciences (especially public understanding of science)

Applied psychology (as relevant to education and motivation)

Computer science / Human-computer interaction

Skills and methods:

Experience with scientific programming environment (e.g. Unity, C#, javascript, python, R)

Technical skills related to data analytics (examples: data visualization, SciVis, InfoVis and flexibly manipulating large datasets)

Aptitude for quantitative empirical research (field/lab experiment, surveys and related applicable data analysis)

Aptitude for psychophysiological and psychometric measurement

Advantageous qualities:

Impeccable academic article writing/preparation productivity

Enthusiasm to collaborate locally and in the European-wide ITN network

Drive for rigorous and impactful research

Drive for a career in research

Expected Results: We expect i) engage a wide audience in the topic of genomics, bioinformatics statistics, and modeling, ii) disseminate biomedical data and state of the art of science about bioinformatics statistics and visualization, iii) evaluate the impact of different gamification strategies on a wide audience in the context of bioinformatics statistics., and iv) provide guidelines about the design of a motivational framework for genomics, bioinformatics statistics education and public understanding.

Planned Secondments: 

Host: CRG (Spain), Duration: 1 Month; When: Year 1; Goal: Medical omics data management and analysis.

Host: DOMESTIC DATA STREAMERS (Spain), Duration: 1 Month; When: Year 3; Goal: Get expertise in data visualisation technologies and User Interface Design.

Enrolment in doctoral programs: Ph.D. in Information Technology and Communication Sciences from Tampere University.

Application Procedure: 

An application is solely possible via the PROTrEIN application form:

Applications must be in English. Applicants may indicate 3 ESR Projects which they would like to work on, ranking them in order to preference. Uploading reference letters is not mandatory, but applicants should be aware that referees will be automatically contacted after submission and receive a questionnaire. Candidates must provide all information before the deadline. Candidates should ensure that referees answer the questionnaire.

Application deadline: 28 February 2021


About Tampere University:

Tampere University is one of the most multidisciplinary universities in Finland and it is located at one of the prime academic hubs in the Nordic countries, offering a dynamic living environment. Almost all internationally recognised fields of study are represented at Tampere university.

Founded in January 2019 by the merger of the University of Tampere and Tampere University of Technology, which joined forces to create a new foundation-based university and a unique environment for multidisciplinary, inspirational, and high-impact research and education. At the new University, technology and social sciences have uniquely come together. Our research groups and projects conduct multidisciplinary research across institutional boundaries. Tampere University is a global community and an active collaboration partner, an international forerunner in research, and an attractive study destination.

The University’s renewed strategy for 2030 titled Human Potential Unlimited sets strategic goals for the internationalisation of the University and highlights working together with the University’s partners to build a sustainable world and to develop solutions to tackle climate change, preserve the natural environment and improve the well-being and sustainability of societies.

Funding Notes

The position is fully funded for 36 months by the European Commission under the H2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network Programme.
Marie Curie ITNs provide a highly competitive salary to the ESR, including a competitive monthly living and mobility allowance and (if eligible) a monthly family allowance.
The eligibility criteria dictated by the European Commission under the H2020 Marie Curie Innovative Training Network Programme must be fulfilled.


1. Legaki, N.-Z., Xi, N., Hamari, J., Karpouzis, K., & Assimakopoulos, V. (2020). The effect of challenge-based gamification on learning: An experiment in the context of statistics education. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 144, 102496.
2. Morschheuser, B., Hamari, J., & Maedche, A. (2019). Cooperation or competition – When do people contribute more? A field experiment on gamification of crowdsourcing. International Journal of Human-Computer Studies, 127, 7–24.
3. Hamari, J., Shernoff, D. J., Rowe, E., Coller, B., Asbell-Clarke, J., & Edwards, T. (2016). Challenging games help students learn: An empirical study on engagement, flow and immersion in game-based learning. Computers in Human Behavior, 54, 170–179.

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