PhD student, on the subject of Security, Computer Systems

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam has a vacancy in the “Computer Security” research groups for a highly talented PhD student, on the subject of Security, Computer Systems.

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) in Amsterdam has a vacancy in the “Computer Security” research groups for a highly talented

PhD student,

on the subject of Security, Computer Systems.

Job description

Cloud computing infrastructure is arguably one of the critical infrastructures crucial for our modern society, like power grids and water supply. With the increasing amount of computation moved to clouds, users demand more performance from cloud computing infrastructure. Field programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are getting integrated with cloud computing infrastructure to provide flexible and programmable hardware acceleration for user-defined computation tasks. Optimized hardware accelerators can typically boost certain complex computations (e.g., deep neural networks, post-quantum cryptography, fully homomorphic encryption) hundreds or thousands of times.

However, introducing user-defined/controlled computation hardware in the cloud computing infrastructure also facilitates malicious users. Attackers can program FPGAs to be attacking equipment attached to cloud computing infrastructure and launch physical attacks on cloud servers remotely. This enables a lot of attacks on cloud servers, which were impossible without physical access to the servers. This research project aims to tackle the security issues that arose in this emerging computational paradigm shift and build secure architectures supporting the integration of cloud servers and FPGAs. The secure architecture development will rely on cryptographic methods and hardware isolation principles. 

The Ph.D. will focus on discovering new security threats introduced by cloud FPGAs and developing new secure architectures to safeguard cloud infrastructures and their users. A secure deployment strategy of cloud FPGAs will be developed; it should cover all known security threats and new security threats discovered during the project. The overall research project will be conducted on both local experimental setups and online real-world FPGA-integrated cloud environments.


PhD candidates are required to have a master degree in computer science, mathematics, electrical engineering, or comparable areas. Candidates that are expected to finish their M.Sc. thesis in the near future can also apply. Candidates should have a clear interest in fundamental research, should be creative and solid in their research, should have (potential) interest in computer security and computer engineering, and should be able to cooperate with experts from different disciplines.

It is essential that you have good academic writing and presentation skills. Candidates are expected to have an excellent command of English.

Terms and conditions

The terms of employment are in accordance with the Dutch Collective Labour Agreement for Research Centres ("CAO-onderzoeksinstellingen"). The initial labour agreement will be for a period of 18 months. After a positive evaluation, the agreement will be extended by 30 months. The gross monthly salary, for a PhD student on a full time basis, is € 2,539 during the first year and increases to €3,253 over the four year period. Employees are also entitled to a holiday allowance of 8% of the gross annual salary and a year-end bonus of 8.33%. CWI offers attractive working conditions, including flexible scheduling and help with housing for expat employees.

Please visit our websites for more information about our terms of employment: and​​​​​

Information and application

The application deadline is 31 August 2022. All applications should include a motivation letter, a detailed CV, and a list of grades and courses.

To apply please click the ‘apply’ button which will open an application form at the bottom of the webpage.

For more information about the vacancies, please contact

Prof.dr. Marten van Dijk
Tel. +31 (0)20 592 4066
Dr. Chenglu Jin
Tel. +31 (0)20 592 4169

For more information about CWI, please visit or watch our video about working at CWI.

Diversity code

CWI encourages a diverse workforce: we endeavour to develop talent and creativity by bringing people from different backgrounds and cultures together. We recruit and select based on capabilities and talent. We strongly encourage everyone with the appropriate qualifications to apply for the vacancy, regardless of age, gender, origin, sexual orientation or physical abilities.

About CWI

Centrum Wiskunde & Informatica (CWI) is the Dutch national research institute for mathematics and computer science and is an institute of the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research (NWO). The mission of CWI is to conduct pioneering research in mathematics and computer science, generating new knowledge in these fields and conveying it to trade, industry, and society at large. CWI is an internationally oriented institute, with 160 scientists from approximately 30 countries. The facilities are first-rate and include excellent IT support, career planning, training, and courses. CWI is located at Amsterdam Science Park which is home to one of the largest concentrations of beta science in Europe. A melting pot of innovation. Companies looking to collaborate can work together with brilliant students, scientists and fellow entrepreneurs. Collectively they develop revolutionary solutions for today’s issues and tomorrow’s challenges.

About Research group

For more information about the “Computer Security” research group, please visit: