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PhD Studentship in Verification of security and privacy in modern communication protocols

Project Description

The student will join a team of researchers at Surrey University’s Centre for Cyber Security (SCCS), supervised by Dr Ioana Boureanu, in collaboration with Prof. Steve Schneider. Their research interests include verification and provable security applicable to different secure systems, ranging from established cryptographic protocols to emerging ones, like those in the sphere of 5G. Particular efforts will be put towards developing new, formal threat-models for such emerging ICT.

This project focuses on the theory and practice of formal verification of systems’ security and privacy through model checking and theorem proving.

Previous experience in formal methods and/or security is not essential, but evidence of previous work in one of these fields is desirable.

If you have interests in any of these topics, but not in all, we encourage you to contact us for an informal discussion.

• Bachelor degree in Computer Science (UK equivalent 2:1 classification or above)
• Interest in verification techniques (e.g. formal methods/analysis) and/or in security and privacy
• Programming experience (any language)
• Analytical skills: knowledge of foundations of computer science (e.g., discrete mathematics); ability to think independently
• Strong verbal and written communication skills, both in plain English (see, and scientific language for publication in relevant journals and presentation at conferences.

• Master’s degree (UK equivalent of Merit classification or above)
• Experience in Boolean and/or first order logic
• Experience in formal verification (model checking, theorem proving or SMT solving)
• Experience of implementation and/or experimentation with verification tools
• Knowledge of cryptography and/or information security
• Proficiency in C++ and/or Java
• Experience with a functional programming language (e.g., Haskell, Ocaml)


Formal applications can be made through our programme page

Please submit your CV (preferably no longer than 2 pages), 2 letters of recommendation or the contact information of 2 referees, copies of degree certificates and transcripts from all university-level courses taken.

Please also upload a cover letter, explaining your interests, computer-science and research experience (including examples of previous project work).

Contact for enquiries: Dr Ioana Boureanu:

Closing Date: Position will remain open until a suitable candidate is identified.

Interview Date: TBC. Interviews will be conducted either in person at the University of Surrey (Guildford, UK) or via Skype.

Please note that we can only guarantee to contact the shortlisted candidates.

Funding Notes

Duration of studentship: 3 years
Stipend: £16,000 p.a, subject to nationality and residence status (see below)
Eligibility: Fees are covered for UK/EU students
Additional fees for international applicants are not covered, but top up funding may be obtained by applying for ORS studentships (Overseas Research Student Awards Scheme) which are competitive. Please state on your application if you wish to apply for ORS.

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