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Master (EQF 7)
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Project description

The PhD research will be conducted in the PROACT project, under the supervision of Prof. Nele Mentens. The PROACT project (“Physical Attack Resistance of Cryptographic Algorithms and Circuits”) is funded by the Dutch Research Council (NWO), in collaboration with Radboud University, TU Delft, Fontys University of Applied Sciences, and Riscure.
PROACT is a 5-year project that will fund 2 post-doctoral researchers and 4 PhD students. The project will concentrate on the design automation and physical security simulation of lightweight cryptographic circuits.


Key responsibilities
Your role in the PROACT project is the digital hardware design of lightweight cryptographic circuits. The goal is to apply design automation techniques in order to develop efficient and physically secure cryptographic ASICs. The other researchers in the PROACT project will work on the design of novel cryptographic algorithms, and the development of a physical security simulator.

During the project, you are expected to write the research articles that together will form the basis of a thesis to attain a PhD degree (dr.) at Leiden University. You will participate in the education and supervision program of the Leiden Graduate School of Science.


Selection criteria

•    A MSc or equivalent degree in Electrical Engineering, Computer Engineering, Computer Science or a similar field;
•    Expertise through your field of study in particular in digital hardware design using VHDL or Verilog (ASIC or FPGA design);
•    Excitement about working in a team with the other partners in the PROACT project;
•    Excellent communication 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. 


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. 

Terms and conditions  
We offer a  full-time 1 year term position for initially one year. After a positive evaluation of the progress of the thesis, personal capabilities and compatibility the appointment will be extended by a further three years. Salary range from € 2,443,-  to €3,122,-  gross per month (pay scale P 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. 

All our PhD students are embedded in the Leiden University Graduate School of Science https://www.universiteitleiden.nl/en/science/graduate-school-of-science. Our graduate school offers several PhD training courses at three levels: professional courses, skills training and personal effectiveness. In addition, advanced courses to deepen scientific knowledge are offered by the research school.


Leiden University is strongly committed to diversity within its community and especially welcomes applications from members of underrepresented groups.


Enquiries can be made to Prof. Nele Mentens (n.mentens@liacs.leidenuniv.nl). If you have any questions about the procedure, please contact Alice Bisschop (a.bisschop@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 pdf documents quoting the vacancy number:
•    Curriculum Vitae,
•    Letter of Motivation,
•    MSc diploma with transcripts (courses + grades).


Only applications received before February 28th, 2021, can be considered.