Doctoral Position in Human-Centered Security & Privacy Research

100%, Zurich, fixed-term

The Security, Privacy and Society Group is a newly founded, interdisciplinary research group in the Department of Humanities, Social and Political Sciences (D-GESS) at ETH Zürich. We perform research at the intersection of humans and technology, especially focusing on human-computer interaction and the human aspects of IT security and privacy. The group aims to develop human-centred security and privacy solutions that consider humans as active contributors to security. Exemplary research areas comprise usable authentication and communication, designing privacy-friendly smart home applications, or addressing security challenges in smart cities.

Project background

We are interested in designing, implementing and evaluating human-centred security solutions and addressing human factors in upcoming IT security-related challenges. To do so, we conduct qualitative as well as quantitative empirical user studies, design interfaces and implement technical security solutions.

Job description

As a member of the group, you will contribute to the group's research activities and gradually build your research profile according to your interests and talents. You will work towards a doctoral degree and participate in the group's teaching activities.

Your profile

We welcome highly motivated and curious applicants with a completed Master's degree in disciplines related to human-technology interaction. Relevant disciplines include but are not limited to Computer Science, IT Security, Psychology, Sociology, Engineering, or Design.

  • You should have previous experience in the area of human-computer interaction and ideally with usable security and privacy topics.
  • You should be fluent in English (written and spoken), speaking German is an added value.
  • Besides, you should be open to interdisciplinary teamwork, have strong analytical and critical thinking skills and take initiative, e.g. in coming up with new research ideas.
  • In addition, programming skills or experience with web/interface design are an added value.

Do you have:

  • experience in designing and conducting empirical user studies (qualitative and/or quantitative)?
  • experience with analyzing statistical data with programs such as Excel, SPSS, or R?
  • a basic understanding of security and privacy-related concepts such as authentication, encryption, or malware detection?

Your workplace

Your workplace




We offer

We offer full-time doctoral positions initially for 18 months but with the option to extend the contract for the full duration of your doctoral studies. The Security, Privacy and Society group offers a dynamic and interdisciplinary research environment within which you can shape your research profile and extend your skill set through insights into related disciplines. Together, we tackle up-to-date security and privacy challenges impacting humans and society.

ETH Zurich is a family-friendly employer with excellent working conditions and competitive salaries. You can look forward to an exciting working environment, cultural diversity and attractive offers and benefits.

Working, teaching and research at ETH Zurich

We value diversity

In line with our values, ETH Zurich encourages an inclusive culture. We promote equality of opportunity, value diversity and nurture a working and learning environment in which the rights and dignity of all our staff and students are respected. Visit our Equal Opportunities and Diversity website to find out how we ensure a fair and open environment that allows everyone to grow and flourish.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Cover letter including a short research statement. The research statement (1 page) should describe a research question in the area of usable security and privacy that you deem new and relevant as well as an explanation of how you would address the posed question. The focus should be on the human aspects.
  • CV
  • Copies of degree certificates and associated grades
  • Contact details of two referees

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

Review of applications will be on an ongoing basis and continue until all positions are filled. The starting date is anticipated in early 2023 or as mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Questions regarding the position should be directed to verena.zimmermann@gess.ethz.ch (no applications). Further information about the group can be found on our website.

About ETH Zürich

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.

Curious? So are we.

We look forward to receiving your online application with the following documents:

  • Cover letter including a short research statement. The research statement (1 page) should describe a research question in the area of usable security and privacy that you deem new and relevant as well as an explanation of how you would address the posed question. The focus should be on the human aspects.
  • CV
  • Copies of degree certificates and associated grades
  • Contact details of two referees

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

Review of applications will be on an ongoing basis and continue until all positions are filled. The starting date is anticipated in early 2023 or as mutually agreed upon by both parties.

Questions regarding the position should be directed to verena.zimmermann@gess.ethz.ch (no applications). Further information about the group can be found on our website.

About ETH Zürich

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.