PhD positions in system security and formal methods

Saarbrücken, Germany

What we are looking for

CISPA seeks applications from outstanding students regardless of their national origin or citizenship. Admission to the Computer Science graduate program is highly competitive. A successful Bachelor’s degree or a Master’s degree from a top-tier, research-oriented institution of higher education is required. Applicants should have an outstanding academic record (at or near the top of their class), proficiency in spoken and written English, and strong letters of recommendation from their academic advisors.

What we offer

CISPA maintains an open, international and diverse work environment. Every PhD student is a member of a research group lead by his or her supervisor. Admitted students are as a rule paid employees of CISPA with a full time contract.  The working language is English.

Project Description: 

Modern computing devices involve a wealth of features like hardware caches and speculative execution that, while invisible to system-software executing on the platform, can affect their behavior in many aspects. Designing a system-software that can securely interact with the underlying hardware and fully exploit its capabilities is a challenging task within the computer security. This is the goal we set ourselves in this project. Our approach is to combine system-level solutions with rigorous analysis techniques to identify vulnerabilities and develop countermeasures and prototypes with provable security guarantees.


Applicants must hold or be about to receive a master degree in Computer Science (or equivalent, exceptions can be made for outstanding Bachelor students). A strong background in computer science in general, and some previous exposure to formal methods and system software security is essential for these positions. Pluses are previous experience with the use or development of verification tools, as well as familiarity with internal structure of modern operating systems and processing hardware.

The application should contain the following:

  1. CV including relevant professional experience and knowledge.
  2. Brief explanation of why you want to conduct research, about your academic interests and how they relate to your previous studies and future goals; max 2 pages long.
  3. Copies of diplomas and grades from your previous university studies. Translations to English or German if the original documents are not issued in one of these languages.
  4. Representative publications or technical reports: Document no more than 10 pages each. For longer documents (eg dissertations), attach a summary (abstract) and a web link to the full text.
  5. One recommendation letter
  6. Contact information for two reference persons. We reserve the right to contact references only for selected candidates.


The CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security provides a unique work environment that offers the advantages of a university department and a research laboratory alike. As the latest member of the Helmholtz Association, the largest research organization in Germany, CISPA has embarked on a mission: to rethink the digitalized world of the future from the ground up and make it safer through innovative cutting-edge research. In the medium term, the center will grow to more than 800 employees with not less than 60 Faculty and research group leaders. Faculty receive extremely competitive institutional funding, enjoy academic freedom, and build and lead their team of young researchers, and are granted the opportunity to teach graduate and undergraduate courses.

CISPA is located in Saarbrücken, in the tri-border area of Germany, France, and Luxembourg. We maintain an international and diverse work environment and seek applications from outstanding researchers worldwide. The working language is English. A command of German is not required for a successful career at CISPA.

In case of any questions please contact:

Hamed Nemati: