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PhD studentship in Privacy Systems and Networks


School of Informatics

About the Project

One fully funded PhD position to work with Dr Tariq Elahi in the School of Informatics at the University of Edinburgh, in the area of in Privacy Systems and Networks.

Mass surveillance, censorship, and mass data gathering and profiling augmented by AI, are a growing threat to our privacy. Privacy Enhancing Technologies (PETs), such as Tor, have been developed as defences against these threats. However, they are not widely adopted due to limitations in their security and performance. We need to improve these technologies to become more versatile, powerful, and scalable, so that they can be used more widely and defend against powerful adversaries.

Students interested in one or more of the following areas are invited to apply and/or get in touch with Dr Elahi via email ():

• Anonymous Communication & Censorship Resistance
o Tor, Mixnets, and ML-assisted Traffic Analysis & Obfuscation
• Data-Driven Privacy Systems Engineering
o Privacy-preserving modelling, Private Data Analysis, and ML for Feedback Control and Optimisation
• Embedding Privacy into the Infrastructure
o Tor and Mixnets at the Network Layer, Anonymity for Blockchains, and Privacy in IoT

Strong candidates will have one or more of the following:

• Undergraduate foundations of statistics, information theory, and/or computer networks
• Practical skills/aptitude in data analysis and/or programming (e.g. R, C/++, Python)
• Practical experience with Network Simulators and their implementation
• Fluency in Control Theory and Queuing Theory
• Embedded systems programming
• A good Bachelors degree (2.1 or above or international equivalent) or Masters degree in a relevant subject (physics, mathematics, engineering, computer science, or related subject)
• Proficiency in English (both oral and written)

Application Information
Applicants should apply via the University’s admissions portal (EUCLID) and apply for the following programme: PhD Informatics: LFCS: Foundations of Computer Science, Databases, Software and Systems Modelling - 3 Years (https://edin.ac/3fvnn0w) with a start date of 13 January 2021.

Applicants should state “Dr Tariq Elahi” is the proposed supervisor section of the application form and title their PhD research proposal “PhD in Privacy Systems and Networks” (Dr Tariq Elahi) in their Research Proposal document.

Applications are now open and complete applications received by 15 July 2020 will receive full consideration; after that date applications will be considered until the position is filled. The anticipated start date is 13 January 2020 but earlier or later start dates can be considered under certain conditions.

Applicants must submit:
• All degree transcripts and certificates (and certified translations if applicable)
• Evidence of English Language capability (where applicable).
• A short research proposal (max 2 pages)
• A full CV and cover letter describing your background, suitability for the PhD, and research interests (max 2 pages).
• Two references (note that it the applicant’s responsibility to ensure reference letters are received before the deadline).

Only complete applications will progress forward to the academic selection stage.

Environment
The School of Informatics is one of the largest in Europe and currently the top Informatics institute in the UK for research power, with 40% of its research outputs considered world-leading (top grade), and almost 50% considered top grade for societal impact. The University of Edinburgh is constantly ranked among the world’s top universities and is a highly international environment with several centres of excellence.

Funding Notes

The studentship starting in 2020/21 covers the 3 year programme costs as follows:

• Full time PhD tuition fees for a student of any nationality (£4,327 per annum for Home/EU students, £23,500 per annum for international students).
• A tax free stipend of GBP £15,285 per year for 3.5 years.
• Additional programme costs of £1000 per year.

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