PhD position in design of secure systems

PhD position in design of secure systems

Published Deadline Location
24 Mar 30 Apr Amsterdam

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Job description

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.


University of Amsterdam (UvA)


  • 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.

Conditions of employment

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 €2,325 to €2,972 (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.


University of Amsterdam

With over 5,000 employees, 30,000 students and a budget of more than 600 million euros, the University of Amsterdam (UvA) is an intellectual hub within the Netherlands. Teaching and research at the UvA are conducted within seven faculties: Humanities, Social and Behavioural Sciences, Economics and Business, Law, Science, Medicine and Dentistry. Housed on four city campuses in or near the heart of Amsterdam, where disciplines come together and interact, the faculties have close links with thousands of researchers and hundreds of institutions at home and abroad.  

The UvA’s students and employees are independent thinkers, competent rebels who dare to question dogmas and aren’t satisfied with easy answers and standard solutions. To work at the UvA is to work in an independent, creative, innovative and international climate characterised by an open atmosphere and a genuine engagement with the city of Amsterdam and society.


Faculty of Science – Informatics Institute

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.


  • PhD
  • Natural sciences
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2325—€2972 per month
  • University graduate
  • 20-206


University of Amsterdam (UvA)

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Science Park 904, 1098 XH, Amsterdam

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