Doctoral researcher / Postdoctoral research fellow privacy in the Metaverse

The Assistant Professorship of Information Systems (Gamification) headed by Prof. Dr. Benedikt Morschheuser at Friedrich-Alexander-University Erlangen-Nürnberg (FAU) invites applications for a position as a PhD student / postdoctoral researcher (TV-L E13) on privacy in the Metaverse.

Das Aufgabengebiet umfasst

We are looking for a postdoctoral researcher or doctoral researcher to carry out research in the area of privacy in the 'metaverse'. The position focuses on investigating privacy-relevant design aspects of 3D worlds, metaverse platforms and services, and on developing design knowledge to support privacy-friendly user interfaces. The opportunity to pursue a PhD in research is available and supported.

The research is part of a consortium project that aims to enable citizens to engage in an informed discourse about the opportunities and risks of using metaverse platforms on their privacy, self-determination, and data protection. It also aims to develop knowledge, design principles, and metrics for developers and companies to design privacy-protective metaverse content, and to explore and test methods for incorporating user perspectives in the development and design of virtual three-dimensional (3D) experiences.

The need for action in this area is massive, as there are already millions of users on platforms such as Roblox, Fortnite Creative, or Minecraft who create virtual 3D worlds, and more and more companies are deciding to develop and provide digital content on such platforms. So far, however, there are only insufficient guidelines for content creators, developers and companies on data protection and the protection of personal rights.

In this context, our gamification research group at the Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg wants to investigate existing metaverse platforms and their content regarding their privacy aspects. In particular, we aim to explore privacy-friendly and -unfriendly design patterns, categorize them and collect expert opinions on these design patterns. Furthermore, we aim to develop paragons of privacy-friendly user interfaces and evaluate such interfaces in online studies and field experiments in order to derive design practices and recommendations.

Working area:

  • Design, implementation and analysis of research on privacy in the metaverse (e.g., literature reviews, expert interviews, experiments, field studies).
  • Design, technical implementation and evaluation of novel privacy-friendly user interfaces (e.g., for the purpose of giving informed consent, protecting users against virtual harassment, or securing a user's privacy when using personal avatars).
  • Support in the development and testing of metrics for evaluating virtual content on metaverse platforms in terms of their impact on user privacy (e.g., dark patterns, deceptive design).
  • Collaboration with other researchers in the field of privacy and consumer research as well as companies that provide content on metaverse platforms or that develop or operate such platforms.
  • Publication of research results at international conferences and in prestigious journals.
  • Science communication, in particular with a focus on developers and citizens.
  • Supervision of students in seminars related to the subject areas.


Notwendige Qualifikationen:

Required qualifications:

  • Very good university degree in Information Systems, Game Design, Computer Science, Industrial Engineering, Media Psychology, Psychology in IT, Human-Computer Interaction, or a related discipline.
  • Experience in planning and conducting empirical studies based on interviews, surveys and/or experiments.
  • High level of responsibility, determination, creativity, perseverance, and pioneering spirit.
  • Very good proficiency in written and spoken English.
  • Ability to work in a team and good communication skills.

Wünschenswerte Qualifikationen:

Preferred qualifications:

  • Knowledge of designing and programming virtual worlds in environments such as Unity3D, Roblox, Unreal, or Minecraft is beneficial.
  • Experience in conducting empirical research and academic article writing is advantageous.
  • Understanding and experience in design-driven methodologies (e.g., research through design, participatory design, co-design, design science) is a plus.
  • Ability to communicate complex ideas, concepts and information in an easy-to-understand manner.
  • Enthusiasm for VR, virtual worlds, games and/or gamification.

Ergänzende Beschreibung

Befristetes Forschungsvorhaben

About us:

Our research group focuses on the increasing penetration of digital games in business, society, and culture, as well as on trends in the games industry, such as AR, VR, Metaverse, or eSports. A particular emphasis is set on the development of innovative gameful solutions, as well as the empirical investigation of the impact of specific game design elements on motivation, user experience, and behavior. Our research is interdisciplinary and takes place at the intersection of psychology, design, computer science, economics, and data science. Our office is located at the FAU premises in downtown Nuremberg. Here we offer a start-up-like working atmosphere in a friendly team with flat hierarchies, direct communication, and a high degree of freedom for all team members. With us, you will receive comprehensive support for your intended doctoral dissertation and assistance in building a network in industry and academia. Likewise, we offer flexibility in the choice of work location.The position is available from July 2023 and currently has a term of three years.

Employment is in accordance with the provisions of the German Tarifvertrag für den öffentlichen Dienst der Länder (TV-L). The position is limited to the duration of the project, with an option for extension. We aim to increase the proportion of women at FAU and therefore strongly encourage applications from qualified female candidates.

We kindly ask you to send us your application, including a cover letter, curriculum vitae, copies of certificates as well as one of your most recent scientific papers (e.g., master's thesis, seminar paper), and, if applicable, a list of previous publications by email to Prof. Dr. Benedikt Morschheuser.

If you have any questions about the position or your application, please do not hesitate to contact us.


Für alle Stellenausschreibungen gilt: Die Friedrich-Alexander-Universität fördert die berufliche Gleichstellung der Frauen. Frauen werden deshalb ausdrücklich aufgefordert, sich zu bewerben.

Schwerbehinderte im Sinne des Schwerbehindertengesetzes werden bei gleicher fachlicher Qualifikation und persönlicher Eignung bevorzugt berücksichtigt, wenn die ausgeschriebene Stelle sich für Schwerbehinderte eignet. Details dazu finden Sie in der jeweiligen Ausschreibung unter dem Punkt "Bemerkungen".

Bei Wunsch der Bewerberin, des Bewerbers, kann die Gleichstellungsbeauftragte zum Bewerbungsgespräch hinzugezogen werden, ohne dass der Bewerberin, dem Bewerber dadurch Nachteile entstehen.

Ausgeschriebene Stellen sind grundsätzlich teilzeitfähig, es sei denn, im Ausschreibungstext erfolgt ein anderweitiger Hinweis.

Veröffentlichungsdatum: 17.05.2023