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Post-Doctoral Associate in the Division of Science, Social Artificial Intelligence and Robotics

New York University Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Job Details


The Social Machines and Robotics (SMART) Lab at New York University Abu Dhabi focuses on the development of socially intelligent machines (computer applications, robots, Virtual Agents) that are capable of interacting and communicating in a natural way with humans, expressing through their figure a high degree of social intelligence, with a focus on applications in education and healthcare.

The SMART lab seeks to recruit a motivated and passionate postdoctoral associate to work under the supervision of Dr. Hanan Salam on the topics: 1) Computational models for human social behavior perception, 2) Social behavior generation for machines, 3) Application of Artificial Social Intelligence for healthcare or education. The researcher will work on the development of new approaches in areas:

  • Personalized models for human social behavior perception by machines;
  • Multimodal machine learning approaches for social and affective computing tasks;
  • Bias detection and mitigation in social and affective computing tasks;
  • Social machines and robots as tools for the diagnosis and therapy of individuals affected by neurodevelopmental disorders (e.g. ADHD, Autism, Depression, Bipolar disorder, etc.).

Key Responsibilities:


  • Support the supervisor in developing and implementing the SMART lab research agenda;
  • Conduct high-quality and innovative research in the areas of focus of the lab;
  • Propose novel high-impact ideas based on gaps and limitations of the state-of-the-art (SOTA);
  • Design and implement experiments to compare proposed work with SOTA baselines;
  • Publish research findings in high-impact journals and conferences;
  • Communicate and present research findings at international academic conferences;
  • Create, maintain, and document high-quality research code for reproducibility;
  • Assist the supervisor in the preparation of grant applications;
  • Co-supervise PhD students and undergraduate research assistants (as appropriate);
  • Collaborate with researchers internationally and locally on topics within the focus area of the lab.

Training & professional development*

  • Attend trainings and workshops for career development;
  • Actively participate in events and committees at NYU Abu Dhabi, such as the Postdoctoral Council Steering Committee;
  • Gain experience in applying for local research grants (subject to eligibility);
  • Transition to independence to pursue a career of choosing following the appointment.

The researcher will create a personalized training and development plan with the supervisor.

Minimum Qualifications

  • Currently has or is in the process of completing a PhD, MD/PhD, DPhil or equivalent terminal degree from a recognized institution (no more than 5 years since completing the doctoral degree);
  • Relevant research experience in at least one of the following: Social Robotics, human-robot interaction, human-computer interaction, Machine Learning, Affective Computing, Social Signal Processing, Computer Vision and speech processing, multimodal signals processing and fusion;
  • Proficient programming experience in Python and libraries (e.g., Pytorch, TensorFlow) with several years of practice;
  • First-author peer-reviewed published papers (or under review);
  • Excellent communication skills in English (oral and written communication)
  • Willingness and capacity to work in a multidisciplinary environment consisting of PhD-level scientists, graduate students and undergraduate students
  • Self-motivated with an ability to work independently and in a team to get the work done
  • Willingness to learn and confront new challenges.

Preferred Qualifications

  • Outstanding robotic programming skills and being familiar with frameworks such as ROS and/or YARP.
  •  Prior experience with social robotics, development of experimental setups, and experimental testing;
  • Deep knowledge of Deep Learning techniques and experience in  conducting experiments for training and evaluating deep neural networks.

Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis and candidates will be considered until the position is filled. For consideration, applicants need to submit in PDF format:

  • Cover letter;
  • Curriculum Vitae with full publication list;
  • Research statement highlighting past and current research experience (1 page);
  • Research project (1 page) explaining how the candidate sees their research fit in the research axes of the lab. Note, Dr. Hanan does not supervise research outside of the scope of the lab research axes;
  • At least two letters of reference.

The appointment will be for two years, with the option to renew further depending on performance (in total not to exceed 5 years).

If you have any questions, please email Prof. Hanan Salam at        

The terms of employment are very competitive and the position provides salary higher than internationally competitive rates for Post-Doctoral positions, in addition to substantial benefits (generous housing, transportation and travel allowances, educational subsidies for children), together with full health insurance and retirement contributions. The UAE does not levy income tax.


NYU Abu Dhabi is a degree-granting research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science undergraduate program in the Arts, Sciences, Social Sciences, Humanities, and Engineering. NYU Abu Dhabi, NYU New York, and NYU Shanghai, form the backbone of NYU s global network university, an interconnected network of portal campuses and academic centers across six continents that enable seamless international mobility of students and faculty in their pursuit of academic and scholarly activity. This global university represents a transformative shift in higher education, one in which the intellectual and creative endeavors of academia are shaped and examined through an international and multicultural perspective. As a major intellectual hub at the crossroads of the Arab world, NYUAD serves as a center for scholarly thought, advanced research, knowledge creation, and sharing, through its academic, research, and creative activities.

UAE Nationals are encouraged to apply.


This position is not located in the United States. You must be willing to relocate to Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.

Application Process

This institution is using Interfolio's Faculty Search to conduct this search. Applicants to this position receive a free Dossier account and can send all application materials, including confidential letters of recommendation, free of charge.

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

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NYU is an equal opportunity employer committed to equity, diversity, and social inclusion.


NYU's agreement with the Emirate of Abu Dhabi to create NYU Abu Dhabi is the outcome of a shared understanding of the essential roles and challenges of higher education in the 21st century: a common belief in the value of a liberal arts education, concurrence on the benefits a research university brings to the society that sustains it, a conviction that interaction with new ideas and people who are different is valuable and necessary, and a commitment to educating students who are true citizens of the world. As the first comprehensive liberal arts and science campus in the Middle East to be operated abroad by a major American research university, NYU Abu Dhabi has been built on the following principles:

  • NYU Abu Dhabi is a research university with a fully integrated liberal arts and science college. It draws students from around the world, and prepares them for the challenges and opportunities of our interconnected world.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi equips students for leadership in all arenas of human endeavor. It fosters curiosity, creativity, and critical reflection. At NYUAD, students extend themselves and the frontiers of knowledge.
  • The residential life of students is central to the University's academic mission. Learning takes place across the campus, not only in classrooms, but also in residential houses, through participation in clubs and sports, during informal campus gatherings, and being engaged with the wider community.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi stimulates advanced research. The NYUAD Institute is a major research center. Research is integral to the undergraduate experience at NYU Abu Dhabi, and it will also drive the University's graduate programs.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York form the backbone of a fully connected global network university. As one of the two major hubs in the global network, NYUAD creates a unique capacity for faculty and students to access the assets of the entire university system.
  • NYU Abu Dhabi advances the city of Abu Dhabi as a magnetic center of ideas and human talent.


NYU Abu Dhabi consists of a highly selective liberal arts and sciences college and a world center for advanced research and scholarship — integrated with each other and connected through technology to NYU New York.

Together, NYU Abu Dhabi and NYU New York form the backbone of a unique global network university that equips students for leadership in all arenas of human endeavor by fostering curiosity, creativity, and critical reflection.

NYU Abu Dhabi is a central component of Abu Dhabi's vision of becoming a leading world idea capital. For its first four years, the University is located in the heart of downtown Abu Dhabi. In 2014, it will move to its permanent home on Saadiyat Island, where it will be joined by neighbors including the Guggenheim, the Louvre, the Zayed National Museum, and a world-class performing arts center.

In working for NYU Abu Dhabi, you will help to build the world's first truly global university and research institute. The University's faculty and staff come from around the world, and the first class of students, who arrived in the fall of 2010, is one of the most geographically diverse student bodies on the planet. To date, NYU Abu Dhabi's staff alone is comprised of individuals from more than 30 different countries. For NYU Abu Dhabi, creating a culture of inclusion contributes not only to our success, but also to the richness of the talented staff that we can attract. When you join us as an employee, we look forward to learning more about your culture and seeing things from your unique viewpoint.

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