Permanent employment
Doctorate/PhD (EQF 8)
Apply before:
Hours p/wk:


The Faculty of Science and the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS) are looking for a

Post-doctoral researcher, Secure AI Systems

Vacancy number: 22-303


Project description
Deep Learning approaches based on Convolutional Neural Network (CNN) models are extensively utilized and very successful in a wide range of application areas. For CNN model inference, we nowadays witness a shift from the Cloud to the Edge. Unfortunately, deploying and inferring large, compute- and memory-intensive CNNs on edge devices is challenging because these devices typically have limited power budgets and compute/memory resources. Furthermore, performing CNN computations at the edge leads to a much larger attack surface compared to the cloud scenario. An important issue to be investigated in the aforementioned context is how vulnerable CNNs at the edge are to malicious attacks causing permanent/temporary failure or leakage of secret information. In addition, research needs to be performed on how the identified vulnerabilities can be mitigated, considering the limited resources of the edge devices, thereby trading off security vs. energy efficiency and performance.

The research will be conducted, under the supervision of Todor Stefanov and Nele Mentens and will be integrated into existing research efforts at LIACS in the context of two projects funded by the European Commission in the Horizon Europe framework: NimbleAI and NeuroSoC.


Key responsibilities
Your role in the project is to perform the aforementioned vulnerability analysis as well as to propose specific mitigation techniques at the hardware and/or software level.

During your research, you are expected to collaborate with the PhD candidates that will work on the NimbleAI, NeuroSoC, and other projects at Leiden University. You will participate in project consortium meetings and write research articles on your research results.


Selection Criteria

  • A PhD degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, or Computer Science;
  • Expertise in embedded systems and security as well as in Deep Learning on resource-constrained devices;
  • Excitement about working in a team with fellow researchers and PhD students;
  • Excellent communication and coordination skills;
  • Creative thinking and high motivation;
  • Excellent proficiency in the English language.

Research at our faculty
The Faculty of Science is a world-class faculty where staff and students work together in a dynamic international environment. It is a faculty where personal and academic development are top priorities. Our people are committed to expand fundamental knowledge by curiosity and to look beyond the borders of their own discipline; their aim is to benefit science, and to make a contribution to addressing the major societal challenges of the future. The research carried out at the Faculty of Science is very diverse, ranging from mathematics, information science, astronomy, physics, chemistry and bio-pharmaceutical sciences to biology and environmental sciences. The research activities are organised in eight institutes. These institutes offer eight bachelor’s and twelve master’s programmes. The faculty has grown strongly in recent years and now has more than 2.300 staff and almost 5,000 students. We are located at the heart of Leiden’s Bio Science Park, one of Europe’s biggest science parks, where university and business life come together. For more information, see https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science and https://workingat.leiden.edu/

You will be part of the Leiden Institute of Advanced Computer Science (LIACS). LIACS offers courses at the Bachelor and Master of Science level in Artificial Intelligence, Computer Science, ICT in Business, Media Technology, and Bioinformatics. According to an independent research visitation, LIACS is one of the foremost computer science departments of the Netherlands. We strive for excellence in a caring institute, where excellence, fun, and diversity go hand in hand. We offer a clear and inviting career path to young and talented scientists with the ambition to grow. For more information about LIACS, see https://liacs.leidenuniv.nl


Terms and conditions  
We offer a full-time, 2-year PostDoc position, with a salary range from € 2960,-  to € 4670,- gross per month (pay scale 10 in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities). 

Leiden University offers an attractive benefits package with additional holiday (8%) and end-of-year bonuses (8.3%), training and career development and sabbatical leave. Our individual choices model gives you some freedom to assemble your own set of terms and conditions. Candidates from outside the Netherlands may be eligible for a substantial tax break. 


Fostering an inclusive community is a central element of the values and vision of Leiden University. Leiden University is committed to becoming an inclusive community which enables all students and staff to feel valued and respected and to develop their full potential. Diversity in experiences and perspectives enriches our teaching and strengthens our research. High quality teaching and research is inclusive.


Enquiries can be made to Dr. Todor Stefanov or Prof. Nele Mentens (t.p.stefanov@liacs.leidenuniv.nl or n.mentens@liacs.leidenuniv.nl). If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Alice Bisschop (jobs@liacs.leidenuniv.nl).


To apply for this vacancy, please send an email to jobs@liacs.leidenuniv.nl. Please ensure that you upload the following additional documents quoting the vacancy number:

  • Curriculum Vitae,
  • Letter of Motivation,
  • The names of two references who can be contacted for shortlisted candidates.


Only applications received before October 31, 2022, can be considered.