PhD-position in combined Operations Research and Cryptography

PhD-position in combined Operations Research and Cryptography

Published Deadline Location
11 Jul 11 Aug Maastricht

Job description

The Department of Quantitative Economics at Maastricht University School of Business and Economics is looking to fill a PhD position.

In multiple domains, there can be a welfare gain when parties work together. These cooperations lead to centralized optimization problems, where the total system is optimized. Such an optimization algorithm produces a solution and provides it to the various parties in the system. However, as said, this combined solving gives a welfare benefit; this solution is overall better compared to the situation when all parties would have optimized their own situation. This gain should be divided fairly amongst the parties. There are multiple techniques to do that, based on e.g. the Shapley value or the Gini Welfare function. To use the Shapley value, the original, computational expensive, secure optimization problem must be solved multiple times, adding much (time) complexity to the procedure.

However, in many cases the various parties do not want to share information, not even the information needed to come to this central optimal solution. Secure multi-party computation (MPC) is a subfield of cryptography with the goal of creating methods for parties to jointly compute a function over their inputs while keeping those inputs private. This technique can not only be used in optimization, but also in the process of dividing the welfare gain. Note that making a method secure will, in most cases, create additional complexity to the calculations.
This leads to the main goal of this project: create novel, secure, fair, and efficient welfare distribution mechanisms for secure (integer) optimization problems.

The project will be based on two real world use cases:
  • Multi-fleet management: complex optimization with competing logistic suppliers;
  • Distributed smart grid: privacy-preserving distribution of sustainable energy.

Candidates need to hold a master's degree (or be close to completion) in operations research, mathematics, computer science, or similar. Strong mathematical skills are required. Good proficiency in English (both oral and written) is required. For TNO, it is required for the candidate to pass a security screening (

We offer 4-year positions, start date to be discussed. We have a large and culturally diverse PhD community in our department, and welcome enthusiastic, talented new PhD students. PhD positions are paid for, with minimal teaching obligations of at most 25%.

What we offer
As PhD-position in combined Operations Research and Cryptography at School of Business and Economics, you will be employed by the most international university in the Netherlands, located in the beautiful city of Maastricht. In addition, we offer you:
  • Good employment conditions. The position is graded in scale P according to UFO profile PhD, with corresponding salary based on experience ranging from €2770,00 and €3539,00 gross per month (based on a full-time employment of 38 hours per week). In addition to the monthly salary, an 8.0% holiday allowance and an 8.3% year-end bonus apply.
  • An employment contract for a period of 18 months with a scope of 1,0 FTE. Upon a positive evaluation, an extension of 2,5 years will follow.
  • At Maastricht University, the well-being of our employees is of utmost importance, we offer flexible working hours and the possibility to work partly from home if the nature of your position allows it. You will receive a monthly commuting and internet allowance for this. If you work full-time, you will be entitled to 29 vacation days and 4 additional public holidays per year, namely carnival Monday, carnival Tuesday, Good Friday, and Liberation Day. If you choose to accumulate compensation hours, an additional 12 days will be added. Furthermore, you can personalize your employment conditions through a collective labor agreement (CAO) choice model.
  • As Maastricht University, we offer various other excellent secondary employment conditions. These include a good pension scheme with the ABP and the opportunity for UM employees to participate in company fitness and make use of the extensive sports facilities that we also offer to our students.
  • Last but certainly not least, we provide the space and facilities for your personal and professional development. We facilitate this by offering a wide range of training programs and supporting various well-established initiatives such as 'acknowledge and appreciate'.

The terms of employment at Maastricht University are largely set out in the collective labor agreement of Dutch Universities. In addition, local provisions specific to UM apply. For more information, click here.

Maastricht University
Why work at Maastricht University?
At Maastricht University (UM), everything revolves around the future. The future of our students, as we work to equip them with a solid, broad-based foundation for the rest of their lives. And the future of society, as we seek solutions through our research to issues from all around the world. Our six faculties combined provide a comprehensive package of study programmes and research.

In our teaching, we use the Problem-Based Learning (PBL) method. Students work in small groups, looking for solutions to problems themselves. By discussing issues and working together to draw conclusions, formulate answers and present them to their peers, students develop essential skills for their future careers.

With over 22,300 students and more than 5,000 employees from all over the world, UM is home to a vibrant and inspiring international community.

Are you drawn to an international setting focused on education, science and scholarship? Are you keen to contribute however your skills and qualities allow? Our door is open to you! As a young European university, we value your talent and look forward to creating the future together.

Click here for more information about UM.

The School of Business and Economics
The School of Business and Economics (SBE) is one of Maastricht University’s six faculties. Our mission is to contribute to a better world by addressing societal problems, by co-creating knowledge and developing team players and leaders for the future.

By joining SBE, you will be part of the 1% of business schools worldwide to be Triple Crown accredited (EQUIS, AACSB and AMBA). You will join an inspiring and international environment, where learning and development is priority.

Are you interested in this exciting position but still have questions? Feel free to contact Frank Phillipson at for more information.

Or are you already convinced and ready to become our new PhD-position in combined Operations Research and Cryptography? Apply now, no later than August 11, for this position.

The vacancy is open for internal and external candidates. In case of equal qualifications, internal candidates will be prioritized.

Maastricht University is committed to promoting and nurturing a diverse and inclusive community. We believe that diversity in our staff and student population contributes to the quality of research and education at UM, and strive to enable this through inclusive policies and innovative projects led by teams of staff and students. We encourage you to apply for this position.


Maastricht University (UM)


  • PhD
  • Economics
  • max. 38 hours per week
  • €2770—€3539 per month
  • University graduate
  • 1023


Maastricht University (UM)

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Tongersestraat 53, 6211LM, Maastricht

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Application procedure

Application procedure

Make sure to apply no later than 11 Aug 2024 23:59 (Europe/Amsterdam).