Call for Applications: Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies

Call for Applications: Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies

See also:

Background, enquiries

The Centre of Excellence in Game Culture Studies (CoE GameCult) is starting in January 2018 in the Academy of Finland’s Centres of Excellence (CoE) program. The CoE will hire initially 6-8 researchers.

CoEs are the flagships of Finnish research, operating at the very cutting edge of science in their fields, seeking out new avenues for research, developing creative research environments and training new talented researchers. The CoE GameCult is joint centre established by the universities of Tampere, Jyväskylä and Turku, which have over 30 game researchers within their researcher communities. Bringing together three leading research teams, the CoE GameCult aims to integrate the multidisciplinary research carried out in game culture studies, and to develop original theoretical and empirical approaches that are crucial for understanding, anticipating and influencing the direction and impact games have on contemporary and future developments in culture and society.

Two overarching research questions will be examined in CoE GameCult are:

A) What are the key processes and characteristics of meaning making that are significant for understanding changing game cultures?
B) How is cultural agency being reshaped, redistributed and renegotiated in games and play, and in their associated societal contexts?

The interconnected dimensions of game cultures are addressed through four themes that organise the work carried out in the CoE:

– Theme 1: Meaning and Form of Games (coord. JYU, prof. Raine Koskimaa)
– Theme 2: Creation and Production of Games (coord. UTA, Olli Sotamaa)
– Theme 3: Players and Player Communities (coord. UTA, prof. Frans Mäyrä)
– Theme 4: Societal Framing of Games (coord. UTU, prof. Jaakko Suominen)

There is more information available of the research environments, research teams and the three universities from these web pages:

– UTA, Faculty of Communication Sciences:; Game Research Lab:
– UTU, Faculty of Humanities:; in Pori: digital culture:; see also: Gamification Group:
– JYU, Department of Music, Art and Cultural Studies:

Enquiries that concern the CoE GameCult can be directed to the CoE director, professor Frans Mäyrä (, queries about positions in the University of Tampere team: Olli Sotamaa (, queries about University of Jyväskylä positions: Raine Koskimaa (, and University of Turku Pori Unit positions: Jaakko Suominen ( and Pori Gamification Group position: Juho Hamari (

Tasks, work descriptions, applying

CoE GameCult will start its operation in the beginning of year 2018, and (subject to a successful mid-term evaluation) will continue up to the end of eight year period, the end of year 2025. There will be multiple positions that are opened for applications in the CoE.

  • In the University of Tampere Game Research Lab team: up to six postdoctoral or senior researcher positions
  • In the University of Turku, Pori unit: up to two postdoctoral researchers (one in Digital Culture, one in Gamification research groups)
  • In the University of Jyväskylä: one postdoctoral and one senior researcher position

Filling of researcher positions will be based on consideration of the overall skills profiles of CoE research teams, and the number and length of researcher contracts of employment will be subject for negotiation, typically initially planned for one to four years contracts.

The successful applicants will have both strong research profiles in game, player or game culture studies, well formulated individual research agendas, as well as evidence of capabilities for interdisciplinary collaboration and teamwork.

The more specific skill profiles that CoE is particularly looking for are experts in:

– game hermeneutics, and game analysis methods
– game aesthetics, and player experience studies
– game history, and the evolution of game genres and various game cultural forms
– cultural industries and political economy of game production
– game development practices and game design research
– ludic work, focusing on the changing relations between play and work
– gaming communities and various player subcultures and diverse player groups
– player motivations and social play, or play in society
– games as sites of identity politics and resistance
– the institutionalization of (digital) game cultures, and public discourses on gaming
– gamification in culture and society

Particular emphasis will be put on multidisciplinary skill profiles, and for candidates who show evidence or promise for bridge building between two or more, currently disconnected research fields related to games, play, game players, design and development of games and research of those societal and cultural contexts. Applicants are asked to specify in their application, which one, or which ones, of the above skill profiles they most closely identify with.

Additionally, in each team one researcher will be appointed into the role of coordinating researcher, whose tasks will include research as well as research coordination work, including planning, tracking and collaboration organisation, related to CoE joint publications, meetings, seminars, conferences and other CoE activities. The coordinating researcher of UTA team will also act as the main scientific coordinator of CoE GameCult, closely collaborating with the CoE Steering Group, and the coordinators of other teams. Applicants who are specifically interested in the coordination task, should indicate that and provide documentation of previous research coordination experience

The following documents should accompany your application:

  1. A CV (excluding publications, max 4 pages, recommended format:
  2. A list of publications compiled preferably according to the Academy of Finland guidelines ( Please indicate (by e.g. bold text) most important publications (max. 10).
  3. A letter of application (max 2 pages) in which you set out the reasons why you are applying for the post and why you are particularly suited to it.
  4. A research plan (max 3 pages), outlining your proposed research within the CoE research themes.
  5. The names, positions and contact details of two referees who can support your application.

The CoE will hire initially 6-8 researchers, to the levels of postdoctoral or senior research fellow, typically to periods ranging from one to four years (up to negotiation). The researchers will apply for one of the teams at three participating universities, while closely collaborating in practice, across institutional and disciplinary boundaries. There are more detailed job descriptions on each partner university’s own website, and application should be submitted to the respective recruitment system. It is possible to submit application to more than one of the partner universities.

Best regards, – Frans Mäyrä & the CoE Team Leaders

PS. These are all postdoctoral or senior research positions, but if your orientation and qualifications very strongly match with the CoE GameCult focus areas, and you are very close to the finishing line in your PhD, you can also submit an application; in this case, please explain in your application letter also the timetable when your PhD degree will be completed.

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