Publié le 11 février 2022 Mis à jour le 28 février 2022

Postdoctoral offer :"Human behavior in situation of
catastrophic risk: study in virtual reality" (VIRTUALCATA)


We are hiring a full-time postdoctoral researcher (duration: 24 months) in social, behavioral and cognitive sciences at the University of Clermont Auvergne and LAPSCO CNRS (Clermont-Ferrand, France) to study human behavior in situation of catastrophic risk using virtual reality.

The position

We are hiring a full-time postdoctoral researcher (duration: 24 months; starting date: June 2022) to take a leading role in our project ‘Human behavior in situation of catastrophic risk: study in virtual reality’ (VIRTUALCATA) for which we received funding from the IDEX/I-SITE CAP 20-25 initiative. This project will be coordinated by Dr. Alice Normand (University Clermont Auvergne & LAPSCO CNRS). (

The contract

The postdoctoral researcher will benefit from a 12-month renewable contract (maximum duration: 24 months) starting from 1st June 2022. The funding also includes a €5,000 research allowance. The gross annual salary is € 30,700-32,800 depending on experience and includes a benefits package (health insurance plus retirement and unemployment benefits).

The project

The “VIRTUALCATA” project aims to document how humans behave in catastrophic situations and to investigate the underlying psychological processes by using virtual reality. The main objective is the creation of an immersive virtual environment simulating an emergency situation (i.e., the evacuation of the population) as encountered during the occurrence of natural disasters (i.e., floodings, fires, volcanic eruptions, etc.). This environment will then be used in experimental paradigms to observe, measure and analyze human behavior (including cognitive and attentional processes) in disaster situations, and to
improve evacuation procedures. The role of individuals’ social background (including cultural norms and beliefs) as well as the level of exposure to emergency situations will also be investigated.

Your role

The task of the postdoctoral researcher will be to supervise the technical 3D development of the virtual environment in association with interns in engineering and computer studies as well as to conduct experimental studies using VR both in the lab and in the field (e.g., in France, in areas frequently impacted by natural disasters or abroad depending on opportunities). The postdoc will be expected to publish the research findings in international generalist peer-reviewed journals in psychological and behavioral sciences as well as interdisciplinary journals of disaster science. The postdoc will also attend major conferences. The results will also be disseminated to researchers and local authorities in regions of the world that are frequently exposed to natural disasters.

The ideal candidate

The ideal candidate holds a PhD in psychology with a strong background in social and cognitive psychology, excellent written and spoken communication skills (in English), a strong interest in human behavior in urgent, threatening, and pressured situations as well as in virtual reality. The ideal candidate is also expected to be very well-trained in designing and conducting behavioral experiments and to be very familiar with statistical package to analyze data (ideally, R). Finally, the ideal candidate is also enthusiastic about technical development of 3D virtual environment.

Our lab

The Laboratoire de Psychologie Sociale et Cognitive (LAPSCO UCA-CNRS 6024) hosts 74 people (supporting staff, doctoral and postdoctoral students), including 40 permanent staff
members. The LAPSCO benefits from a national and international reputation in conducting research at the interface of social psychology, cognitive psychology and neurosciences. The
successful applicant will be based in and have access to all research facilities of the LAPSCO research center, including its new research platform Behavior, Cognition, Brain to be opened in 2022 (450 m2, EEG, Virtual Reality, Robotics, behavioral analysis), its technical support, and funding schemes (e.g., laptop computer, yearly research and travel funds). Additional funds can be solicited.


Clermont-Ferrand is a medium-size French city located in an exceptional natural environment, the Regional Natural Park of Auvergne Volcanoes
( and with an excellent quality of life.

How to apply?

The call is open until March 30, 2022. Applicants must submit their application by email to alice.normand [at] The application should include: (i) a cover letter explaining why you are a suitable candidate and which aspects of the project you are the most interested in; (ii) a CV; (iii) the name of two referees. We will acknowledge the receipt of your application.

Equal opportunities

Applications from under-represented groups’ members are very welcome. Applications will be judged on merit only.

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