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Postdoctoral Researcher in Applied Cryptography (2-year fixed term contract, available immediately)

100%, Zurich, temporary

The Applied Cryptography Group forms part of the Institute of Information Security in the Department of Computer Science. The institute carries out research ranging from mathematical foundations of cryptography to building solutions to pressing problems in securing networks, cyber-​physical systems, and applications. As security is highly interdisciplinary, work is collaborative, with strong links to industrial partners and other faculty areas. The security institute has a track record of impact through publications at top venues, open source software releases, products, and spin-​off companies.

The Applied Cryptography Group was founded in April 2019 under the leadership of Prof. Kenny Paterson. It currently has 4 postdoctoral researchers and 3 doctoral students, expected to grow to 5 postdoctoral researchers and 6 doctoral students by the end of 2020. The group works broadly across Applied Cryptography, with recent research contributions in post-quantum cryptography, the design and analysis of secure channel protocols, attacks and defences for encrypted databases, and cryptographic API design.

Project background

The project involves joint research with a commercial partner, Crypto Quantique, who are based in London UK. Crypto Quantique are in the process of developing a novel Key Provisioning Architecture (KPA) for the generation, distribution, and certification of cryptographic keys used by lnternet of Things (IoT) devices and the cloud. This architecture involves a number of different entities and cryptographic protocols running between them. 

At its heart, the architecture makes use of a Quantum-Driven Physical Unclonable Function (QD-PUF) technology, which generates cryptographic key material based on the intrinsic quantum fingerprint of a silicon device. 

Our main role in the project is to lead an investigation of how to transition Crypto Quantique’s KPA to use post-quantum cryptographic algorithms in the KPA protocols. We will also assist Crypto Quantique in conducting formal security analysis of the constituent protocols currently used in the KPA, and in developing and analysing new cryptographic protocols where necessary. A key objective is to understand the inherent trust assumptions between the different participants in IoT systems (ranging from device manufacturers to end users), and how they can be minimised. A key challenge is to deal with the computation and bandwidth constraints that are typical in IoT systems.

Job description

The successful candidate will be expected to interact closely with counterpart researchers and developers at Crypto Quantique. This will involve planning and running regular research meetings, preparation and presentation of research reports, and international travel to attend research meetings. 

The successful candidate will conduct research into post-quantum cryptographic algorithms and how they can be deployed in IoT settings, with a view to applying the knowledge gained to inform the use of suitable post-quantum cryptographic algorithms in the Crypto Quantique KPA. 

The successful candidate will conduct research into authentication and authorisation protocols for IoT systems that are inspired by and can be applied in the Crypto Quantique KPA.

Your profile

We are looking for candidates who have completed or are close to completing a Ph.D., and who have a strong research background in one or more of the following research areas:

  • Post-quantum cryptography and its use in specific application domains.
  • Design and formal analysis of cryptographic protocols for authentication, authorisation and key distribution.
  • Applied cryptography for the Internet of Things.

The ideal candidate will combine a scientific background in cryptography with some experience of software development. They will be able to demonstrate this through a track record of high-quality scientific publications as well as being able to highlight specific software development projects to which they have contributed. 

Candidates will need to have excellent written and verbal communication skills. They will be able to demonstrate the ability to take responsibility for their work direction and to work independently. Candidates will be able and willing to travel internationally to participate in project meetings and scientific dissemination of project results.

ETH Zurich

ETH Zurich is one of the world’s leading universities specialising in science and technology. We are renowned for our excellent education, cutting-edge fundamental research and direct transfer of new knowledge into society. Over 30,000 people from more than 120 countries find our university to be a place that promotes independent thinking and an environment that inspires excellence. Located in the heart of Europe, yet forging connections all over the world, we work together to develop solutions for the global challenges of today and tomorrow.
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We look forward to receiving your online application by 31 August 2020 with the following documents:

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • List of scientific publications
  • Pointers to relevant software development projects, if applicable
  • Contact details for 3 referees

Please note that we exclusively accept applications submitted through our online application portal. Applications via email or postal services will not be considered.

Further information about the institute can be found on our website Further information about the Applied Cryptography Group can be found at

Questions regarding the position should be directed to Prof. Kenny Paterson at (no application documents).

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