PhD Position in Design of Secure Systems

University of Amsterdam Informatics Institute


PhD Position in Design of Secure Systems

Publication date 4 August 2020

Closing date 15 September 2020

Level of education Master's degree

Hours 38 hours per week

Salary indication €2,395 to €3,061 gross per month

Vacancy number 20-471

Are you exceptionally interested in security? Are you willing to take the challenge of securing the next generation of IoT devices? Do you like to work in a team of young researchers? We are seeking a PhD candidate who is interested in interdisciplinary research in design of secure systems.

The pervasive diffusion of IoT devices in our everyday lives poses new challenges to system designers. While low power, low energy, and sufficiently good performance continue to be important design parameters, security has become the most relevant extra-functional requirement that these systems should provide. However, security functionalities are, quite often, added manually almost at the end of the whole system design flow. This approach is sub-optimal, since security problems can be addressed in a satisfactory way only with an holistic approach supported by appropriated design tools.

This PhD position will address the challenges related with the automatic generation of side channel resistant hardware and software for IoT devices, and related with the methodologies needed to verify the correct application of the considered countermeasures. Experiments on real devices (FPGAs and embedded processors) are expected to be carried out to verify the robustness of the proposed designs.

The PhD position will be within the Complex Cyber Infrastructure (CCI) group. Complexity of man-made systems on all scales is the research field of the group. Cyber Infrastructure is rapidly evolving from relatively simple fixed components to programmable and virtualized objects with many degrees of freedom, owned, operated and governed by different entities in multiple administrative connected domains on the Internet. Harnessing this complexity in a transparent trust-able way for safe and secure data processing is a major research topic that nowadays defines the focus of the group. The Complex Cyber Infrastructure group that hosts this research line is chaired by Professor Cees de Laat.

What are you going to do?

You are expected to:

  • carry out original research in the field of design for security;
  • have a strong analytical and technical skills;
  • have an interdisciplinary mindset and an open and proactive personality in interacting with researchers from different disciplines;
  • be active in the fundamental and/or applied research of our group of Security by Design, publishing in high level international journals and presenting at leading conferences;
  • take part in ongoing educational activities, such as assisting in a course and guiding student thesis projects, at the BSc or MSc level;
  • be open to collaborations with other institutes and/or companies by contributing expertise to (joint) research projects.

What do we require?

  • An MSc degree in Computer Science, Computer Engineering or Electronics (or related disciplines);
  • a strong scientific interest in security and design tools (hardware and software) for embedded IoT devices;
  • the willingness to work in a highly international research team;
  • fluency in oral and written English and good presentation skills;
  • prior experience in hardware design (FPGA or ASIC), security, or embedded systems programming.

Our offer

A temporary contract for 38 hours per week, preferably starting as soon as possible for the duration of four years which should lead to a dissertation (PhD thesis). The initial contract will be for a period of 18 months and after a satisfactory evaluation the contract will be extended for 30 months. You will get a customized training and supervision plan, that will be evaluated every year.

The salary will be €2,395 to €3,061 (scale P) gross per month, based on full-time employment (38 hours a week). These amounts are exclusive 8% holiday allowance and 8,3% end-of-year bonus. A favorable tax agreement, the ‘30% ruling’, may apply to non-Dutch applicants. The Collective Labour Agreement of Dutch Universities is applicable.

Are you curious about our extensive package of secondary employment benefits like our excellent opportunities for study and development? Then find out more about working at the Faculty of Science.

About the Faculty of Science

The Faculty of Science has a student body of around 6,500, as well as 1,600 members of staff working in education, research or support services. Researchers and students at the Faculty of Science are fascinated by every aspect of how the world works, be it elementary particles, the birth of the universe or the functioning of the brain.

The mission of the Informatics Institute is to perform curiosity-driven and use-inspired fundamental research in Computer Science. The main research themes are Artificial Intelligence, Computational Science and Systems and Network Engineering. Our research involves complex information systems at large, with a focus on collaborative, data driven, computational and intelligent systems, all with a strong interactive component.


Do you have questions about this vacancy? Please contact:

  • Dr Francesco Regazzoni, Assistant professor 

Job application

The UvA is an equal-opportunity employer. We prioritise diversity and are committed to creating an inclusive environment for everyone. We value a spirit of enquiry and perseverance, provide the space to keep asking questions, and promote a culture of curiosity and creativity.

The Informatics Institute strives for a better gender balance in its staff. We therefore strongly encourage women to apply for this position.

Do you recognize yourself in the job profile? Then we look forward to receiving your CV, your cover letter and the name of three references. Application review will start on right away and will stay open until filled. You may apply online by using the button below.

Applications should include:

  • a motivation letter and CV, including a list of publications;
  • name and contact information of three references.

Potential candidates will be invited for a phone interview. #LI-DNP

No agencies please

Apply now

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