Doctorate/PhD (EQF 8), Master (EQF 7)
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Develop a highly accurate intrusion detection system in a cyber-physical environment to detect cyber attacks on smart grids and increase the power grid cyber security, as part of a European Innovative Training Network

Job Description

InnoCyPES, a European Innovative Training Networks (ITN), funded under H2020 Marie Skłodowska-Curie Actions (MSCA), is recruiting talented, enthusiastic, and ambitious candidates to perform excellent research and achieve breakthroughs in the field of cyber-physical energy systems. InnoCyPES targets the bottlenecks of digital transformation of the current energy system, where the ESRs are expected to study and improve various facets of digitalized and interconnected energy systems. 15 Early-Stage Researchers (ESRs) will enroll in PhD programmes in the InnoCyPES network, consisting of 7 academic and 4 industrial beneficiaries, together with 10 partner organizations.

Within the InnoCyPES network, Delft University of Technology is hiring a doctoral candidate on the subject “Cyber-physical smart grid intrusion detection.” This vacancy is only suitable for early-stage researchers that have not lived in the Netherlands for more than 12 months during the previous 3 years (see requirements).

Keeping a smart grid stable, robust, and secure, requires secure data flows. Although the complexity of cyber-physical systems can be challenging to manage, their cross-domain nature provides advantages for devising advanced intrusion detection schemes. An intrusion can be detected and classified, based on physical- and on cyber-patterns. Most physical phenomena cannot be easily bluffed, and modern data acquisition systems can be upgraded with contextual Intrusion Detection Systems (IDS). The project is to extend on state-of-the-art to develop highly accurate integrated Cyber-Physical Smart Grid (CPSG) IDS. Both analytical and numerical methods will be used to develop and validate the CPSG IDS. A co-simulation setup, that includes Modbus, IEC 61850 and IEEE C37.118 will help to simulate various types of cyber attacks on CPSG and to validate the implemented detection algorithm.

The Project Objectives Are To

  • Define threat models and cyber-physical attack scenarios based on state-of-the-art research;
  • Setup the CPSG co-simulation environment, define test cases, and specify the requirements of the CPSG intrusion detection system;
  • Classify patterns, cluster attack signatures, and design the CPSG intrusion detection system;
  • Implementat the CPSG intrusion detection system and test cases;
  • Validate the CPSG intrusion detection system against the test cases and conduct a sensitivity study against model/system parameters.

The Position Includes Three Scheduled Secondments

  • EDF, France (4 months)
  • CSIRO, Australia (3 months)
  • University of New South Wales, Australia (3 months)

This is a four-year doctoral appointment. You will be jointly supervised by Dr. Alex Stefanov (assistant professor, daily supervisor) and Prof. Peter Palensky (head of group), with industrial co-supervision from CSIRO. You will be a member of the section Intelligent Electrical Power Grids in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science at TU Delft, The Netherlands. You will join a larger team of researchers and students working on cyber security and resilience of power grids.

All InnoCyPES ESRs will benefit from extensive training in technical and transferrable skills, and from interdisciplinary, international and intersectoral secondment experience. You will be expected to assist in teaching activities (student supervision, labs) related to your subject area. The anticipated start date is between 1 July 2023 and 1 September 2023.


As a condition of the grant, applicants must satisfy the following conditions:

  • Early-stage researchers: Applicants must be early-stage researchers, which means at the date of start, be in the first four years (full-time equivalent research experience) of their research careers and have not been awarded a doctoral degree.
  • Mobility Rule: researchers must not have resided or carried out their main activity (work, studies, etc.) in the country of the host institute for more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date. Compulsory national service, short stays such as holidays, and time spent as part of a procedure for obtaining refugee status under the Geneva Convention are not taken into account. For international European interest organisations, international organisations, the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) or an 'entity created under Union law', recruited researchers must not have spent more than 12 months in the 3 years immediately before the recruitment date at the same appointing organisation.

Essential Job Requirements

  • Demonstrable interest in interdisciplinary and intersectoral research, and specifically the interface between power systems, information and communication technologies, and cyber security.
  • Completed a Master's and Bachelor’s degree in a highly quantitative and analytical discipline (applied mathematics, computer science, and/or electrical engineering with an emphasis on electrical power systems).
  • Excellent academic record (grades of B or higher).
  • Excellent analytical and writing skills.
  • Very good command of English. The minimum requirement of a TOEFL overall band score of 100 (with scores of at least 21 for all sections) or IELTS overall band score of 7.0 (with scores of at least 6.5 for all sections: writing, reading, listening, speaking) applies to all candidates wanting to pursue a PhD at TU Delft.
  • Strong knowledge of power systems and/or mathematics including differential algebraic equations, discrete systems, and probability theory and statistics.
  • Ability to read and critically analyse power systems / computer science / mathematics papers.
  • Demonstrable experience with computer modelling and simulation.
  • You enjoy performing research. You are independent, self-motivated, and eager to learn.
  • You enjoy programming and hold your code to a high standard.


  • Knowledge of operation and control of electrical power systems.
  • Experience with Python and machine learning libraries.
  • Experience with collaborative software development (e.g. open source).

Doing a PhD at TU Delft requires English proficiency at a certain level to ensure that the candidate is able to communicate and interact well, participate in English-taught Doctoral Education courses, and write scientific articles and a final thesis. For more details please check the Graduate Schools Admission Requirements.

Conditions of employment

Doctoral candidates will be offered a 4-year period of employment in principle, but in the form of 2 employment contracts. An initial 1,5 year contract with an official go/no go progress assessment within 15 months. Followed by an additional contract for the remaining 2,5 years assuming everything goes well and performance requirements are met.

Salary and benefits are in accordance with the Collective Labour Agreement for Dutch Universities, increasing from € 2541 per month in the first year to € 3247 in the fourth year. As a PhD candidate you will be enrolled in the TU Delft Graduate School. The TU Delft Graduate School provides an inspiring research environment with an excellent team of supervisors, academic staff and a mentor. The Doctoral Education Programme is aimed at developing your transferable, discipline-related and research skills.

The TU Delft offers a customisable compensation package, discounts on health insurance and sport memberships, and a monthly work costs contribution. Flexible work schedules can be arranged.

For international applicants, TU Delft has the Coming to Delft Service. This service provides information for new international employees to help you prepare the relocation and to settle in the Netherlands. The Coming to Delft Service offers a Dual Career Programme for partners and they organise events to expand your (social) network.

TU Delft (Delft University of Technology)

Delft University of Technology is built on strong foundations. As creators of the world-famous Dutch waterworks and pioneers in biotech, TU Delft is a top international university combining science, engineering and design. It delivers world class results in education, research and innovation to address challenges in the areas of energy, climate, mobility, health and digital society. For generations, our engineers have proven to be entrepreneurial problem-solvers, both in business and in a social context.

At TU Delft we embrace diversity as one of our core values and we actively engage to be a university where you feel at home and can flourish. We value different perspectives and qualities. We believe this makes our work more innovative, the TU Delft community more vibrant and the world more just. Together, we imagine, invent and create solutions using technology to have a positive impact on a global scale. That is why we invite you to apply. Your application will receive fair consideration.

Challenge. Change. Impact!

Faculty Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science

The Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science (EEMCS) brings together three scientific disciplines. Combined, they reinforce each other and are the driving force behind the technology we all use in our daily lives. Technology such as the electricity grid, which our faculty is helping to make completely sustainable and future-proof. At the same time, we are developing the chips and sensors of the future, whilst also setting the foundations for the software technologies to run on this new generation of equipment – which of course includes AI. Meanwhile we are pushing the limits of applied mathematics, for example mapping out disease processes using single cell data, and using mathematics to simulate gigantic ash plumes after a volcanic eruption. In other words: there is plenty of room at the faculty for ground-breaking research. We educate innovative engineers and have excellent labs and facilities that underline our strong international position. In total, more than 1000 employees and 4,000 students work and study in this innovative environment.

Click here to go to the website of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering, Mathematics and Computer Science.

About The Department

The research in the Department of Electrical Sustainable Energy is inspired by the technical, scientific and societal challenges originating from the transition towards a more sustainable society and focuses on three areas:

  • DC Systems, Energy Conversion and Storage (DCE&S)
  • Photovoltaic Materials and Devices (PVMD)
  • Intelligent Electrical Power Grids (IEPG)
  • High Voltage Technologies (HVT)

The Electrical Sustainable Energy Department provides expertise in each of these areas throughout the entire energy system chain. The department owns a large ESP laboratory assembling High Voltage testing, DC Grids testing environment and large RTDS that is actively used for real time simulation of future electrical power systems, AC and DC protection and wide area monitoring and protection.

The Intelligent Electrical Power Grid (IEPG) group, headed by Professor Peter Palensky, works on the future of our power system. The goal is to generate, transmit and use electrical energy in a highly reliable, efficient, stable, clean, affordable, and safe way. IEPG integrates new power technologies and smart controls, which interact with other systems and allow for more distributed and variable generation.

Additional information

For more information about this vacancy, please contact Alex Stefanov, assistant professor, email: A.I.Stefanov@tudelft.nl, tel: +31(0)15-27 81528.

For information about the selection procedure, please contact Carla Jager, Secretary, IEPG group, email: c.p.jager@tudelft.nl.

Application procedure

Are you interested in this vacancy? Please apply before May 21, 2023, via the application button.

Please submit: (1) Application letter addressed to Dr. Alex Stefanov that explains your personal motivation in pursuing a PhD and fit to the job requirements, (2) curriculum vitae (CV) with a list of (academic and/or industry) references that we can contact, and (3) qualification evidence including MSc and BSc degrees and transcripts.

  • A pre-employment screening can be part of the selection procedure.
  • You can apply online. We will not process applications sent by email and/or post.
  • Please do not contact us for unsolicited services.