10 PhD Research Fellow Positions in Information Security Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering Norway

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10 PhD Research fellowship positions in Information Security


Norway aims to strengthen the research and education in cyber and information security. Information Security is a strategic research area of the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering (IE), and NTNU announces 10 PhD positions in response to the national aim. The positions are at the Faculty of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, hosted by three departments:


  • Department of Information Security and Communication Technology (IIK), see http://www.ntnu.edu/iik;

  • Department of Computer Science (IDI), see http://www.ntnu.edu/idi;

  • Department of Engineering Cybernetics (ITK), see http://www.ntnu.edu/itk.


Each position is marked with a reference code, IDI-xx, IIK-xx, ITK-xx, which indicates the hosting department and must be used to refer to the position for which the application applies to.


Work descriptions


Each of the 10 PhD fellowships are for 3 years or for 4 years with 25% teaching assistance, in agreement with the host department. The PhD positions are described below and more detailed descriptions about the positions can be found from 1.7.2017 at https://www.ntnu.edu/web/ie/informationsecurity.


ITK-01: Navigation System Security in Unmanned Autonomous Marine Vessels


Short description: To ensure successful adaptation of autonomous marine vessels in the future, safety and security need to be taken into account from the beginning of the design. The focus of this research project is on making an unmanned autonomous marine vehicle resilient against malicious acts exploiting the vulnerabilities of the navigation system structure and operation.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in cybernetics, communications, geomatics or electronics with specialization in navigation system development. A strong background in GNSS, integrated GNSS/INS, signal processing and software engineering, as well as interest in the development and applications of navigation and wireless location technologies are highly desirable. Knowledge of cyber security/cryptography will be considered as an advantage.


For more information, contact: Associate Professor Nadezda Sokolova, +47 40335323, nadia.sokolova@itk.ntnu.no.


IDI-01: Gamification of Information Security Education and Training


Short description: The candidate will participate in the development of courses in information security taught in NTNU Gjøvik, Trondheim and Ålesund and will develop a framework for combining simulations with games as part of a cyber range, to help motivate and engage students in these courses. The games will be used in distance education and will be part of the output from the PhD work. The theoretical analysis of the use of games will be used to improve the development and application of games as part of cyber security.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in information security, computer science, game development or similar field. Applicants must have an interest in computer games, and a desire to educate in the area of cyber security. It would be beneficial for an applicant to have experience in the information security and cybersecurity industry, or have worked in education.


For more information, contact: Dr Simon McCallum +47 95432149 simon.mccallum@ntnu.no.


IDI-02: Cybersecurity, Safety, and Resilience of Smart cities


Short description: One key challenge of smart city is cybersecurity. The objectives of this project are to develop: 1) models reflecting interdependencies of hardware, software, critical infrastructure, human factors, and environmental factors in smart city applications; 2) methodologies to link security, safety, and resilience analyses; 3) elucidation of the effects of cybersecurity on safety and resilience of smart city; and 4) guidance for analysing security, safety, resilience of a single smart city application and integrations of several smart city applications.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in computer science, software engineering, information security, or equivalent. A solid knowledge of RAMS (Reliability, Availability, Maintainability, and Safety) is valued. A research-oriented master thesis or relevant working experience within one of these or related areas is expected.


For more information, contact: Associate Professor Jingyue Li, + 47 9189 7446, jingyue.li@ntnu.no, or head of the department Professor Maria Letizia Jaccheri, +47 73593469, maria.letizia.jaccheri@ntnu.no.


IIK-01: Cryptography


Short description: There is an urgent need to develop public key cryptographic systems that can resist attacks that use quantum computers. Relevant activities of this project will include: 1) Better understanding of parameter choices and security margins. 2) Improved implementation, which is mostly an engineering problem but also includes mathematical analysis. 3) Improved analysis of the impact of schemes on the wider crypto-ecosystem, which is important for the wider impacts to the society in general.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in telematics, computer science or mathematics. The PhD candidate needs to have very strong mathematical background in algebra, combinatorics, graph theory, algorithms and data structures. Knowledge of at least one programming language is also a prerequisite for successful implementation of the new theoretical concepts that will be developed in the research.


For more information, contact: Professor Danilo Gligoroski, +4773594616, danilog@ntnu.no.


IIK-02: Chatroom security


Short description: The project aim is to determine, based on behavioural information, general information about a user in a chatroom, e.g. gender and age. This can be used to protect users of a chatroom, for example by removing adults from chatrooms for children or men from chatrooms for women only.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering or other relevant discipline. The candidate must have a solid background in machine learning and signal processing, and have experience with programming.


For more information, contact: Professor Patrick Bours, +47 61135250, patrick.bours@ntnu.no.


IIK-03: Modelling and Analyzing Attack-Defence Scenarios for Cyber Ranges


Short description: The main tasks of this position are to investigate and develop a framework for specifying, modelling and analysing attack-defence scenarios. Of particular interest is the analysis of the measurements and metrics required for the different types of testbeds and how they affect awareness, assurance, scoring and learning outputs. Experiments will be performed on two case studies, one related to system assessment and the other is related to red-blue team exercise training. These case studies will be utilized and used in two different courses being taught at NTNU.

Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in information security, computer science, communication technology or similar field. A successful candidate will have strong skills in software and system security, particular in vulnerability analysis, exploitation, and countermeasures, and security metrics. It would be beneficial for an applicant to have experience in software engineering and penetration testing, or have worked in education.


For more information, contact: Dr Basel Katt +47 61135176 basel.katt@ntnu.no.


IIK-04: Security of the Cyber-enabled Ship


Short description: The overall objective of the project is to analyse the cyber security risks of the cyber-enabled remotely-operated ship and to propose effective and efficient risk management strategies. Security, safety and resilience must be examined together, as they constitute attributes of the cyber-enabled ship thought of as a system of systems, specifically cyber physical systems. Furthermore, effective cyber security risk management strategies should come as the result of a holistic approach, encompassing technology, people and processes.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in information security or computer science. The successful candidate will have knowledge of and experience with information security/cyber security risk assessment and management methodologies, good understanding of cyber-physical systems security and general understanding of system safety and resilience.


For more information, contact: Professor Sokratis Katsikas, +47 91138581, sokratis.katsikas@ntnu.no.


IIK-05: Information Security Economics


Short description: The main tasks for this position are modelling of information security, business operations and deterrents in complex ICT ecosystem. We will in particular focus on the complex interaction between various stakeholders and actors in the information security business domain. In order to model and better understand the information security ecosystem, we rely on quantitative modelling techniques such as stochastic modelling, discrete event simulations and game theory. Of particular interest is to gain increased understanding on how various security threats and measures influence business operations in the digital ecosystem.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in information security, computer science, communication technology or similar field. A successful candidate will have strong analytical skills, particular in stochastic modelling, discrete event simulations or game theory.


For more information, contact: Professor Harald Øverby, +47 73551087, haraldov@ntnu.no.


IDI-03: Blockchain analytics and transactions tracking


Short description: This project will look at the forensics implications of autonomous, distributed socio-technical systems in the context of financial and governmental institutions. We will model and simulate interactions between various stakeholders in the systems that are truly autonomous and decentralised, and investigate emerging behaviours and phenomena based on the underlying incentive models and technologies use, such that the understanding of inner-workings of those systems can be used by the law enforcement agencies in tracking and preventing criminal activities.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in computer science. The candidate should have experience with existing blockchain technologies, should understand challenges and limitations of mobile application development, as well as security and crypto primitives. General understanding of contemporary peer-to-peer systems is also required.


For more information, contact: Associate Professor Mariusz Nowostawski, +47 48342678, mariusz.nowostawski@ntnu.no.


IIK-06: Understanding Resilience of Software-Defined Industrial Control Networks


Short description: The project is to address the threats to reliability, resilience, and security that may arise from moving from a well-understood, simple network environment to a dynamic and virtualised software-defined network (SDN) for industrial control networks. The overall objective of the project is to develop models of resilience and automated means of discovering efficiency bounds for attacks against the SDN control plane, particularly for cases where attackers will know or can learn about ICN protocols entering critical operations or transactions and of resilience mechanisms such as fail-over protocols used by defenders.


Formal requirements: The position requires a Master of Science degree in computer science, mathematics, physics, or electrical engineering. Successful candidates should have in-depth knowledge and skills in at least one area of computer and communication networks, particularly software-defined networks, design and analysis of algorithms, combinatorial and graph algorithms, or control systems theory.


For more information, contact: Professor Stephen Wolthusen, +47 611 35 289, stephen.wolthusen@ntnu.no.

A­ll positions - Qualifications


We seek highly motivated and excellent candidates with a MSc or education at the equivalent level compliant with the research field of the position (see list above). In line with the regulations requiring "strong academic background", the applicant must document the necessary basic theoretical competence from their previous studies, and both the Bachelor program and the Master program have to be completed with satisfactory results ahead of the admission for a PhD study. This means an average grade equal to C (ECTS) or better from the Bachelor program, and an average grade B (ECTS) or better from the Master's program, or equivalent certified professional background. Personal suitability will be emphasised.


We will prioritize candidates based on the “Formal requirements” (as specified for each position) and the following criteria:

  • Excellent communication skills - written and oral;

  • Ability to work independently, as well as in team;

  • Creative skills.


Language requirements


Applicants who do not master a Scandinavian language must provide evidence of good English language skills, written and spoken. The following tests can be used as such documentation: TOEFL, IELTS or Cambridge Certificate in Advanced English (CAE) or Cambridge Certificate of Proficiency in English (CPE). Minimum scores are:

  • TOEFL: 600 (paper-based test), 92 (Internet-based test);

  • IELTS: 6.5, with no section lower than 5.5 (only Academic IELTS test accepted);

  • CAE/CPE: grade B or A.


Formal regulations for PhD


Appointments are made in accordance with the regulations in force regarding terms of employment for PhD candidates issued by the Ministry of Education and Research, with relevant parts of the additional guidelines for appointment as a PhD candidate at NTNU. Applicants must undertake to participate in an organized PhD programme of study during their period of employment. The person who is appointed must comply with the conditions that apply at any time to employees in the public sector. In addition, a contract will be signed regarding the period of employment.


Applicants must be qualified for admission as PhD students at NTNU. See https://www.ntnu.edu/ie/research/phd for information about PhD studies at NTNU.


Salary conditions


The PhD position is in code 1017 Research fellow, salary grade 50-62 in the Norwegian State salary scale, gross NOK 435 100 – 535 500 per year, depending on qualifications. The Post doc position is in code 1352 Research fellow, salary grade 57 – 72 in the Norwegian State salary scale, gross NOK 488 900 - 647 700 per year, depending on qualifications. A deduction of 2% is made as a statutory contribution to the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.



We can offer

  • an informal and friendly workplace with dedicated colleagues,

  • academic challenges,

  • attractive schemes for housing loan, insurance and pension in the Norwegian Public Service Pension Fund.


NTNU wants to attract outstanding and creative candidates who can contribute to our ongoing research activities. We believe that diversity is important to achieve a good, inclusive working environment. We encourage all qualified candidates to apply, regardless of the gender, disability or cultural background.


The appointment is subject to the conditions in effect at any time for employees in the public sector.


Under Section 25 of the Freedom of Information Act, information about the applicant may be made public even if the applicant has requested not to have his or her name entered on the list of applicants.


The application


The application must be sent digitally via www.jobbnorge.no with information about education and relevant experience (all in one combined PDF file).


The application should contain:

  • The reference code (IDI/IKK/ITK-xx) for the position;

  • Information about education, exams and previous relevant work/research experience (a CV);

  • Certified copies of academic diplomas and certificates;

  • Applicants from universities outside Norway are kindly requested to send a diploma supplement or a similar document, which describes in detail the study and grading system and the rights for further studies associated with the obtained degree;

  • Publications relevant to the research scope and any other work which the applicant wishes to be taken into account should clearly state the applicant’s contribution. A short summary should be attached outlining the applicant’s input to joint work;

  • A brief research proposal) addressing the topic of the research project (300 – 600 words);

  • English proficiency results (if applicable);

  • Names and contact information of at least two references.


Incomplete applications will not be taken into consideration.


NB! Candidates applying for more than one position must submit complete application for each position. Mark each application with the corresponding reference code (IDI/IKK/ITK-xx).


For further information about the application process, please contact:

Signe Johanne Talukder (signe.talukder@ntnu.no)


Detailed descriptions of the positions can be found from 1.7.2017 at https://www.ntnu.edu/web/ie/informationsecurity.


The application deadline is 15.august 2017.


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