Open Positions


Ph.D. students and Postdocs

We are searching for motivated and skilled Ph.D. students and post-doctoral researchers. These are currently our areas of interest:

  • Developing, extending, and integrating hardware primitives for secure and trusted computing (e.g., TALUS, simTPM), where we are looking especially into RISC-V, Intel TDX, ARM CCA, and TPM
  • Intersection between mobile system security and usable security (e.g., Android rationales, Android system analysis)
  • Compartmentalization of software and implementation of secure architecture principles, in particular with object capabilities (DroidCap) or new sandboxing solutions (A11y sandboxes)
  • Intersection between authentication and system security and usability (e.g., FIDO2/WebAuthn or UX of 2FA)

The positions are not project-bound and allow a high degree of freedom in choosing the research projects! Thus, we also welcome new angles and directions, and, in fact, expect new researchers to bring in their own ideas.

If you would like to know more, please send your questions to Sven Bugiel.

How to apply

General Requirements

  • A BSc/MSc degree/PhD in Computer Science, Information/Cyber Security, Electrical Engineering, Mathematics, Psychology, or equivalent
  • English proficiency (knowledge of German is not required)
  • Good programming skills
  • Depending on your topic of interest: Background in (mobile) system security, hardware security, basic data science, and/or human-centered research
  • Very important: passion and creativity in your research topic

Your technical background does not fit 100%? You just finished your BSc?

You can advance your security knowledge in any of the many (security) lectures offered by CISPA faculty. Further, we are working together with CISPA’s outstanding Empirical Research Support team that helps in designing, conducting, and evaluating human-centered and data-centered research projects.

Students earlier in their career, e.g., those finishing their BSc, can leverage the special training program for undergrad students in cooperation with Saarland University and the soft-skill courses offered by CISPA (e.g., scientific writing and presentations).

Requirements for Postdocs

We demand that postdoc applicants have substantial background in one of the above (or a related) areas. As a rough guideline, only apply if you have published a paper at the top-tier venues in your field (e.g., S&P, USENIX, CCS, and NDSS for security).

Where do you send your application?

All applications should be made through the general CISPA application system.

Important: In your cover letter, please indicate clearly that you are applying for a position in the group of Dr. Sven Bugiel. If we had been in contact before your application, it also helps to send me a heads-up email to speed up the process and make sure your application reaches me.

What is the deadline for applications?

There is no specific deadline, but if you want to have a chance of getting the position, earlier is better.

More information

What can you do to prepare?

Decide which of the topic areas listed above appeals most to you and read the linked papers. When applying, indicate what appeals to you and how this interacts with your own research interests or how you think you can improve our past results.

Of course, if you have questions, just contact Sven Bugiel!

What is life like to be as a Ph.D. or postdocc at CISPA?

All positions are fully funded, i.e., you receive a salary.

My colleague Andreas Zeller wrote a great piece on what it is like to be a Ph.D. student in Germany, including what a German Ph.D./postdoc salary gives you in Saarbruecken (CISPA’s location) and the benefits of being employed as Ph.D. student.

CISPA is a world leading research institute in Computer Security [1, 2] with many great researchers that provides an excellent research and networking environment.

And in the Trusted Systems Group?

Choosing the right advisor is very important! The best way to ask about me would be to ask my former and current Ph.D. students.

But, what I can say: Our focus is practical high-impact research, aiming to present our results at the leading conferences in our field and/or transfer our results to the right industrial players. Thus, we expect passion, diligence, and endurance in your work on your Ph.D./postdoc. In turn, I try to offer a strong, close supervision to help you successfully finish your Ph.D. and support in building your network. Both Ph.D. students and postdocs enjoy a high degree of freedom in choosing their research projects and are not bound by project-funding-based restrictions.

When do the contracts start?

The starting date is not fixed, we just need to mutually agree.

What is the contract duration?

Ph.D. positions are intended to be four years, with a formal checkpoint after roughly one year. The maximum duration for the contract is six years.

Postdoc contracts are at least two years, with optional extension.