Faculty at CISPA Helmholtz Center for Information Security

Open Positions

Last update: September 26, 2023

I have several open positions. I’m looking for talented post-docs, PhD students, master/bachelor theses, and interns. I am interested in the design of end-to-end privacy-friendly systems that solve real-world problems. My research covers three broad areas:

If you are enthusiastic about working in any of these areas, please follow the instructions below.

Open PhD and Postdoc Positions

Applications for PhD and Postdoc positions should go through CISPA’s central application system. I evaluate applications on a continuous basis, but applying earlier is obviously better.

If you choose to apply, please mention that you are interested in joining my group in your cover letter. In addition, please send me a short email telling me that you applied.

CISPA’s PhD (and Postdoc) positions are funded full-time. Instead of me trying to convince you why doing a PhD at CISPA is great, I happily refer you to this great post by Andreas Zeller.

Theses and Projects

I also have several ideas for Master’s and Bachelor’s theses as well as for research internships. Please reach out to me via email if this interests you. Please include your CV, which position you are applying for, and a short motivation. I promise I will read all emails, but I might not reply to you due to a high volume of emails.


Can you show me some examples of your work?

Yes! Together with a broad team of great researchers, I worked on the design and analysis of privacy-friendly contact tracing systems. I designed the cryptographic protocols that formed the bases for all later contact-tracing apps. I also designed the CrowdNotifier protocol that enables privacy-friendly check-in for contact tracing.

I’ve also had the great pleasure to work with the [International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ)[https://www.icij.org/] and researchers at EPFL to help design and deploy a privacy-friendly document search system for investigative journalists.

If you want to know more, please see my publications page.

What are the requirements for a PhD Position?

What should I write in my cover letter?

I receive a lot of applications. I read all of them to select the best candidates to interview for a position in my group. Writing a great cover letter is your best chance to stand out. This is your chance to explain concisely why you think you’ll be a good fit for my group. Obviously, everyone will choose to emphasize different things, but a few points that you probably want to highlight in your letter are:

  1. Which group are you applying to (e.g., mine, hopefully ;)), and which research direction would interest you most. For example, if you are interested in designing cryptographic tools for privacy, say so! If you are interested in working on deep space exploration, maybe you should not apply to my group.

  2. Motivate why you are interested in working in my group and privacy. Privacy and technology touch on a lot of societal issues. Being able to relate to these will realy help you in your path to becoming a (better) privacy researcher. And any motivation that you are willing to share, will help me determine your fit for my research group.

  3. What makes you a good fit for the direction you’d like to explore. Have you maybe taken courses in your undergraduate program that follow these lines. Written papers in these topics? Did you take online courses to make up for gaps in your knowledge? Or do you have work experience that gave you valuable insights that you think are useful in your academic carreer? Explaining these to me in your cover letter let’s you emphasize what you think is important, and saves me from having to figure this out from your CV or transcript.

I realize writing a good cover letter takes time and effort. But I really do appreciate well written and thought out cover letters, and the application that write these are much more likely to be invited for an interview than those who send only a generic cover letter.

What are you like as an advisor?

Excellent question! Choosing a advisor is very important. You should really ask my former students ;). I’d be happy to put you in touch once we’ve had our first meeting.